II. Input Devices
a. Keyboard,mouse,joystick,scanners,digital camera, bar code
reader, touch Sreeen,Speech input device (microphone)
III. Output Devices
a. Monitor , Speaker, Printers ( different types)
The computer will be of no use unless it is able to communicate with the outside
world. Input/Output devices are required for users to communicate with the computer.
In simple terms, input devices bring information INTO the computer and output
devices bring information OUT of a computer system. These input/output devices are
also known as peripherals since they surround the CPU and memory of a computer
Some commonly used Input/Output devices are listed in table below.
Input Devices Output Devices
II. Input Devices
It is a text base input device that allows the user to input alphabets, numbers and
characters. It consists of a set of keys mounted on a board.
It consists of keys for English alphabets, 0 to 9 numbers, and special characters like +
− / * ( ) etc.
There are twelve function keys labeled F1, F2, F3… F12. The functions assigned to
these keys differ from one software package to another. These keys are also user
These keys have special functions assigned to them and can be used only for those
specific purposes. Functions of some of the important keys are defined below.
It is similar to the ‘return’ key of the typewriter and is used to execute a command or
It is used to enter a space at the current cursor location.
This key is used to move the cursor one position to the left and also delete the
character in that position.
It is used to delete the character at the cursor position.
Insert key is used to toggle between insert and overwrite mode during data entry.
This key is used to type capital letters when pressed along with an alphabet key. Also
used to type the special characters located on the upper-side of a key that has two
characters defined on the same key.
Cap Lock is used to toggle between the capital lock features. When ‘on’, it locks the
alphanumeric keypad for capital letters input only.
Tab is used to move the cursor to the next tab position defined in the document. Also,
it is used to insert indentation into a document.
Control key is used in conjunction with other keys to provide additional functionality
on the keyboard.
Also like the control key, Alt key is always used in combination with other keys to
perform specific tasks.
This key is usually used to negate a command. Also used to cancel or abort executing
Numeric keypad is located on the right side of the keyboard and consists of keys
having numbers (0 to 9) and mathematical operators (+ − * /) defined on them. This
keypad is provided to support quick entry for numeric data.
Cursor Movement Keys
These are arrow keys and are used to move the cursor in the direction indicated by the
arrow (up, down, left, right).
The mouse is a small device used to point to a particular place on the screen and
select in order to perform one or more actions. It can be used to select menu
commands, size windows, start programs etc.
The most conventional kind of mouse has two buttons on top: the left one being used
Left Click : Used to select an item.
Double Click : Used to start a program or open a file.
Right Click : Usually used to display a set of commands.
Drag and Drop : It allows you to select and move an item from one location to
another. To achieve this place the cursor over an item on the screen, click the left
mouse button and while holding the button down move the cursor to where you want
to place the item, and then release it.
The joystick is a vertical stick which moves the graphic cursor in a direction the stick
is moved. It typically has a button on top that is used to select the option pointed by
the cursor. Joystick is used as an input device primarily used with video games,
training simulators and controlling robots
Figure 3: The Joystick
Scanner is an input device used for direct data entry from the source document into
the computer system. It converts the document image into digital form so that it can
be fed into the computer. Capturing information like this reduces the possibility of
errors typically experienced during large data entry.
Figure 4: The Scanner
Hand-held scanners are commonly seen in big stores to scan codes and price
information for each of the items. They are also termed the bar code readers.
(e) Bar codes
A bar code is a set of lines of different thicknesses that represent a number. Bar Code
Readers are used to input data from bar codes. Most products in shops have bar codes
on them.Bar code readers work by shining a beam of light on the lines that make up
the bar code and detecting the amount of light that is reflected back
(f) Light Pen
It is a pen shaped device used to select objects on a display screen. It is quite like the
mouse (in its functionality) but uses a light pen to move the pointer and select any
object on the screen by pointing to the object.
Users of Computer Aided Design (CAD) applications commonly use the light pens to
directly draw on screen.
(g) Touch Screen
It allows the user to operate/make selections by simply touching the display screen.
Common examples of touch screen include information kiosks, and bank ATMs.
A digital camera can store many more pictures than an ordinary camera. Pictures
taken using a digital camera are stored inside its memory and can be transferred to a
computer by connecting the camera to it. A digital camera takes pictures by
converting the light passing through the lens at the front into a digital image.
Figure 6: The Digital camera
(i) The Speech Input Device
The “Microphones - Speech Recognition” is a speech Input device. To operate it we
require using a microphone to talk to the computer. Also we need to add a sound card
to the computer. The Sound card digitizes audio input into 0/1s .A speech recognition
program can process the input and convert it into machine-recognized commands
III. Output Devices
Monitor is an output device that resembles the television screen and uses a Cathode
Ray Tube (CRT) to display information. The monitor is associated with a keyboard
for manual input of characters and displays the information as it is keyed in. It also
displays the program or application output. Like the television, monitors are also
available in different sizes.
(b) Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)
LCD was introduced in the 1970s and is now applied to display terminals also. Its
advantages like low energy consumption, smaller and lighter have paved its way for
usage in portable computers (laptops).
Printers are used to produce paper (commonly known as hardcopy) output. Based on
the technology used, they can be classified as Impact or Non-impact printers.
Impact printers use the typewriting printing mechanism wherein a hammer strikes
the paper through a ribbon in order to produce output. Dot-matrix and Character
printers fall under this category.
Non-impact printers do not touch the paper while printing. They use chemical, heat
or electrical signals to etch the symbols on paper. Inkjet, Deskjet, Laser, Thermal
printers fall under this category of printers.
When we talk about printers we refer to two basic qualities associated with printers:
resolution, and speed. Print resolution is measured in terms of number of dots per
inch (dpi). Print speed is measured in terms of number of characters printed in a unit
of time and is represented as characters-per-second (cps), lines-per-minute (lpm), or
Plotters are used to print graphical output on paper. It interprets computer commands
and makes line drawings on paper using multicolored automated pens. It is capable of
producing graphs, drawings, charts, maps etc.
Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) applications like CAD (Computer Aided
Design) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) are typical usage areas for
Figure 10: The Plotter
(e) Audio Output: Sound Cards and Speakers:
The Audio output is the ability of the computer to output sound. Two components are
needed: Sound card – Plays contents of digitized recordings, Speakers – Attached to
The Chapter has given an introduction to the Input/Output devices. It gives a detailed
listing of the various types of input devices and the output devise. The concepts are
also very clearly understood by seeing at the figures in the chapter.