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What Are WKL Keyboards (Windkeyless Keyboards Explained)

It’s no news that custom keyboard layouts are sacking popularity these days for their compact design and removal of unnecessary stuffed keys.

Removing the unused keys helps increase typing efficiency, save space, and makes the keyboard more compact and aesthetically pleasing.

WKL is a familiar name among keyboard enthusiasts, which also comes without some specific keys on them.

Generally, WKL or Winkeyless keyboards represent keyboards that lack Windows key and application keys. In a WKL layout, these omitted keys have no alternative key available to fill the space.

See some of the Best WKL Keyboards

Switching from one operating system to another may cost you some effort, and if you are an avid user of windows keys, a WKL keyboard can be an odd subject.

So, allow me to penetrate the greater detail about the WKL keyboard and its uses for professionals.

What Does WKL Mean on a Keyboard?

WKL expands Winkeyless, is a keyboard layout with no Windows and application keys.

You can find the windows key between the Left Ctrl and the Left Alt keys, whereas the application key resides in the middle of the Right Alt and Right Ctrl keys in the standard keyboard layout.

When these two keys are omitted on the keyboard with no other key to replace them, the places of the keys remain empty.

It is shocking to know that creating WKL keyboards idea is older than the concept of Windows for a Computer system.

When gaming entertainment boomed, the evolution of building keyboards witnessed dramatic changes, especially mechanical keyboards.

The first WKL keyboard was created along with the first computer. It was the pre-era of computer manufacturing giants such as IBM and COMPAQ.

Switch-based keyboards were engineered in the 1970s, which provided an unparalleled performance level compared to earlier keyboards.

Since the WKL layout only represents the bottom row of the keyboard, it is also called the “bottom row layout.”

WKL, also known as Win Key Less keyboard, accepts a standard QWERTY order without window keys.

It is more prevalent in Asia than in the US, so it is also called the Chinese or Korean Keyboard layout.

Individual key positions are spaced farther apart on the WKL keyboard than on a QWERTY or Dvorak keyboard.

Thus, hitting the right key with the placed fingers makes it easy.

Besides, the keyboard provides faster access to frequently used letters and symbols.

What Are The Uses Of WKL Keyboards?

It seems like an unconvincing idea to remove Windows and the application keys as they are pretty helpful when working with Keyboard Shortcuts (Like Win + F1 to open Windows Help and support, or Win+M to minimize all windows).

However, sometimes these keys are useless, and people prefer to find alternatives to traditional keyboards.

So, let’s learn how removing windows and application keys is beneficial!

Useful for Different Operating Systems

Though window PC users can not tolerate the idea of removing functional keys, there is nothing to affect Mac OS operators.

So, besides the windows system, these functional keys remain unnecessary. If there are no functional keys, you can still enjoy shortcuts as WKL keyboards are programable.

You can still access conventional functions such as CTRL and ALT keys without difficulty.

If you’re a Mac user, you find the 3 modifiers (Ctrl, Opt/Alt, Command) frequently used. So, you may not need these functional keys anymore.

Helpful in Avoiding  Input Errors

When playing games or typing text, hitting the Windows key accidentally can create a nuisance. So, removing the mischievous keys can be a good way of avoiding input errors.

Professionals like gamers, transcribers, and coders can find the WKL keyboards with a clean layout to navigate.

As these keyboards have a simple layout, you need to memorize fewer keys, and your momentum increases automatically.

This makes it easier for you to enter long passwords or text messages.

It is designed in a way that your hands never feel cramped. You can quickly move your hands around without worrying about accidentally hitting keys.

This way, you can not get distracted and perform your work efficiently without losing productivity.

Easy to Use

WKL Keyboards is designed with a simple and intuitive layout containing fewer keys.

They contain the Standard key sizes, which can be compatible with most desktop computers.

With that said, they feature a programmable backlit that allows users to set the keys in various colors and styles.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are placed behind the keys, which helps to uplift an illuminating effect.

Users can experience their typing boosted by 15% each time they work on WKL keyboards compared to other regular keyboards.

WKL keyboards contain various key sizes and shapes compared to the QWERTY layouts.

Thus, it helps people with different-sized hands to find their preferred keys.

Boosts the Aesthetic Look

Though aesthetics are entirely subjective, it is the primary reason people buy WKL keyboards. When removing the functional keys, the keyboard looks clearer, allowing a symmetrical design.

With the excellent design, WKL keyboards can offer a vintage profile, and the IDM M model and Bloomberg Terminal Keyboards are some great examples.

Not to boast, but WKL keyboards are more durable than other standard ones, making them a wise investment for everyone. 

Also, users need a minimalist setup to use the WKL keyboard layout. You can use the vacant space to manage other accessories when the keyboard takes up little space.

For example, gamers can use the room for their mouse and access all keys without stretching their fingers.

However, you may miss some conveniences when working on the WKL(Winkeyless) keyboard. If you are accustomed to using windows PC with the function keys, you need these keys in the initial days of transiting to a different computer system.

Also, removing the two keys cannot make the keyboard compact; the keyboard has the same size.

There are also Photo-optical keyboards that integrate a unique type of optics-based technology to detect keystrokes. 

WK vs. WKL Keyboard

WK represents the Winkey(ed) keyboard outline that includes Windows and application keys at the bottom row of function keys.

It is a full-sized regular keyboard that contains 104 keys.

Computers in the United States contain either 101 keys or 104 keys. 

Thus, the striking difference between the WKL and WK layout is measured through the bottom room of the keys.

Unlike WK, WKL lacks functional keys and uses blockers to balance the aesthetic look. Also, the full-sized WKL keyboards possess less number of keys, only 102 keys.

Specially designed for thumb usage, thumb-sized keyboards were popular in the early 2000s. During that time, PDAs were the latest trend.

Though keyboard enthusiasts rarely talk about WK, WK keyboards rule over Windows users greatly.

However, those who prefer conventional keyboards always run after WKL, TKL, and WKL TKL that remove the bottom functional keys.

WKL Vs. TKL Keyboard

TKL refers to a Tenkeyless keyboard that omits the numerical pad on the right-hand side. It removes a total of 17 keys, so it remains more compact in comparison to full-sized regular keyboards.

The keyboard comes with Windows functionality, making it perfect for users who need access to Windows features.

It is nothing wrong to say that the TKL layout is popular among gamers for its less cluttered design that still offers Windows gaming services.

TKL keyboards are perfectly alien to computers and other electronic devices. It is built for users to hit keys by using their thumbs.

The keyboard is compatible with matching different accessories that allow gamers to create an immersive space. However, adding these accessories can make the WK keyboard too busy.

Also, those who use a TKL keyboard need a separate keypad for the calculator.

Unlike TKL, the WKL keyboard has no access to window functionality and is available in two sizes; compact and full-sized. Thus, users can have a choice for their typing needs.

What are the Types of WKL Keyboards?

Just like regular keyboards, KWL keyboards also serve multiple layouts to assist users with fast typing or taping.

WKL TKL Keyboard

As the name suggests, WKL TKL Keyboard is a combination of Winkeyless and Tenkeyless layouts.

Since it lacks the  Windows key, an application key, and the Numpad keys, WKL TKL looks very compact and portable.

Combining the two layouts, a TKL WKL keyboard removes 19 keys in total and collects only 86 keys.

WKL TKL shares a similar mechanism with TKL in functions but offers a vintage feel, whereas Standard TKL has the latest design.

60% WKL Keyboard

The keyboard receives the name for its space using only 60% of the regular full-sized keyboard. It does not have Function Keys,  Numpad, Arrow Keys, and some navigation keys.

Removing such additional keys of the alphabet keys, 60% looks smaller and serves as the perfect choice for those who do not need desk space for their keyboards.

However, it is not that small as there is one more tiny keyword called 40% keyboard. Like the 60% keyword, 40% removes the number row, functional keys, arrow cluster, and additional punctuation keys.

WKL Keyboards for Sale

These are customized mechanical keyboards so you cannot find them everywhere, even some popular e-commerce platforms lack these supplies.

Here I have curated some places where you can buy WKL Keyboard, so check them out soon.

Places to BuyPrice

FAQs about the WKL Keyboard

Q1. What is another name for the WKL TKL keyboard?

The WKL TKL keyboard layout contains only 86 keys, removing the bottom row Windows key, application key, and numeric pad.

Thus, it is also called an 86% keyboard.

Q2. What is the Best WKL Keyboard?

Several WKL Keyboards are available as  DIY kits, so it is solely your choice. Many professionals like to have D60 WKL Keyboard, but it lacks switches or keycaps.

Q3. How Much Does a WKL Keyboard Cost?

Other than the regular keyboards, anything in the mechanical keyboard enthusiast space can become expensive quickly. Thus, you can expect the WKL Keyboards to cost over $400, whereas DIY Kits start at $200.


If you spend a long time playing with mechanical keyboards, you must be familiar with the level of customization in keyboards.

Thus, WKL Keyboard is a result of the customization to provide gamers, typists, and other professionals with a compact, aesthetically pleasing, and productivity-boosting layout on the desk.

WKL TKL and 60% WKL are two variations you can find in WKL keyboards.

However, if you wish to have a compact keyboard without missing the arrow keys or the Numpad, find a 65% or 75% keyboard.

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