"60%" is a definition coined by the keyboard community; the term is not officially defined by any manufacturers, and neither has it been agreed by any manufacturer, therefore there are many keyboards that could be loosely classed as a 60% keyboard.
60% is a convenient figure that approximates both the number of keys present compared to a full-size keyboard, and the width of the keyboard likewise; the origin of the term has yet to be determined but it appears that the count of keys is the origin of the name. Some example figures:
- A 60% keyboard with a conventional ANSI-derived layout, such as the KBC Poker, has 61 keys, compared to 104-keys for ANSI, giving 59% of the normal number of keys
- Using measurements from a Filco Majestouch, a 60% keyboard would be approximately 295 mm, 67% of the normal 440 mm width
- A Filco Minila ISO has 68 keys, which is 65% of the normal number of keys
60% keyboards typically have a thin frame, but the exact number of keys varies between designs, and the exact fraction along with.
60% keyboards omit the numeric keypad of a full-size keyboard, and the navigation cluster of a tenkeyless keyboard. The function key row is also removed; the escape key is consequently moved into the number row. This leaves the area of the keyboard from the number row down to the space bar and modifiers row, and from tab on the left to backspace and enter on the right. The arrow keys are sometimes squeezed in, as with the Filco Minila and KBT Pure Pro, but in most cases they are omitted.
Access to all the missing functionality—especially function and navigation keys—is achieved by way of one or more Fn keys.
The compact layout allows for virtually all the keys to be within the reach of the typist's fingers, removing the need to reach for specific keys on other areas of the keyboard. The small size also results in a far more portable keyboard; as such, they are also more likely to feature a detachable cable.