What is a Light up Keyboard?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 August 2019
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A light up keyboard is a keyboard which can be illuminated during use. These keyboards are designed for use by people who work in dark environments to increase accuracy and to make it easier to use the keyboard. Computer gamers are especially fond of light up keyboards, some of which are specifically optimized for gaming, and these keyboards are also used by people on board ships and aircraft, and biologists who want to record data in dark environments without turning a light on and disturbing their subjects.

Many light up keyboards are simply backlit, with an array of lights which illuminate the area behind the keys, causing the outlines around the keys to light up. The characters on the keys may be transparent so that they also glow when the keyboard is illuminated. Red is a common choice of backlighting, since it is easy on the eyes in the dark, but blue, purple, green, white, and other colors can be used, with some keyboards having several color options for users to choose from.

It is also possible to purchase a light up keyboard with illumination which changes, depending on the use. For example, a keyboard might have a touchpad which lights up when the user touches it, alerting the user to the fact that the touchpad is active. Illumination might also be triggered when various shift and function keys are held down, with highlighting around the keys which can be activated for various purposes.


Some light up keyboards have some additional functionality features. Some are designed in the form of pads which can be rolled or folded up for mobility, with the lighting illuminating the keyboard for contrast and better visibility once the light up keyboard is laid out and turned on. Users can also program specific lighting sequences or features on some keyboards. Power saving modes which turn the lighting off or reduce it may be activated in the keyboard's management program in some cases.

Users who wish to purchase a light up keyboard should be prepared to pay a little bit extra, as light up keyboards are more complex than regular keyboards. It is possible to purchase both wired and cordless light up keyboards, with cordless versions usually having specialized batteries to prolong the life of the keyboard. When purchasing a light up keyboard, it can also be a good idea to think about how the keyboard is to be used, and to look for features which might be advantageous, such as programmable color schemes, a touchpad, or a gaming pad which includes programmable hot keys which can be utilized in various computer games.


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