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Lavender WASD cluster with arrows made by Filco

WASD refers to the keys W, A, S and D used in an inverted-T configuration as cursor keys, predominantly in computer games such as first-person shooters (FPS).

Compared to using the arrow keys, the WASD keys can be more convenient when gaming using a mouse with the right hand. It also gives easier access to modifier keys (pinky) and the space bar (thumb).


Although there are older games that used it, the use of WASD became popular mainly with the pro gamer Dennis "Thresh" Fong back in the late '90s when playing Quake (1996). The first FPS game to offer the WASD setup as default is believed to have been Half Life (1998).

These days, there is a category of one-handed keyboards for gaming ("gaming key pads") that have only keys from the left hand side of the keyboard, centred around the WASD keys, sometimes with more options such as built-in joystick.

Other configurations

  • ESDF - like WASD but with "correct" finger placement for typing
  • IJKL - like WASD but using the right hand, for left-handed users
  • IJKM - a diamond form of IJKL, popular with Apple II games
  • HJKL - used in the text editor vi

The specific term is also nationality dependent; for example, in the French AZERTY layout, the same keys are labelled ZQSD.

See also

  • WASD Keyboards — a manufacturer of mechanical keyboards that took its name from the WASD keys

External links