How to Use the Numeric Keypad for Quick Arithmetic

Categories: All About Touch Typing, Ergonomics, Typing Practice, Typing Tips and Tricks |

Anyone can learn how to touch type on the numeric keypad, even “left-handed” individuals. The placement of the keys and math symbols allows you to key in formulas and do data entry quickly, and even do arithmetic. This is useful in spreadsheets and other accounting functions.

On a standard keyboard, the keypad is over on the far right side. Most laptops don’t include a separate numeric keypad, so if you need to use one often, you’ll probably benefit from buying a stand-alone keypad that you can plug into your laptop. Looking at a numeric keypad, you’ll notice that there are three rows of digits with three digits in each row, plus a bottom row where the zero key resides. Surrounding the rows of digits are keys for performing various mathematical functions including addition, division, and others.

On the numeric keypad you will also find a [Num Lock] key. Always toggle this key “on” when you want to type digits only. When the [Num Loc] key is in the “off” position, these keys are often used as arrow keys and other keys for controlling cursor movement around a document.

While the location of the non-numeric keys may differ from one numeric keypad to the next, the row location of the digits zero through nine will always be the same.

Like the letter keys, the numeric keypad has a “home row.” This is where three of the fingers on your right hand will rest. These fingers include your right-hand index finger, which should be placed on the number 4, your right-hand second finger, which should rest on the number five, and your right-hand ring finger, which should rest on the number 6 key. Your right-hand index finger also strikes the 7 and 1 keys. The right-hand second finger moves between the 2, 5, and 8 keys. Your right-hand ring finger strikes the 9 and the 3 keys as well as the 6.

The math keys on the numeric keypad surround the digits and enable you to perform mathematical functions including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. When you want to add a sequence of typed digits, you will use the key that displays the plus sign. When you want to subtract a sequence of typed digits you will use the key that displays the dash or hyphen. When you want to multiply a sequence of typed digits you will use the key with the asterisk. When you want to divide a sequence of typed digits you will use the key that displays the forward slash. The numeric keypad also includes an [Enter] key for convenience.

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