Ansi vs Iso Comparsion Guide 2024

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Let’s face the necessity of ANSI and ISO layouts for your mechanical keyboard.

Keyboard layouts sometimes play a vital role in your professional life; they also bring productivity and flexibility.

There are two types of layouts: ANSI and ISO. I will help you choose which one is good for you.

What is ANSI and ISO?

ANSI means American National Standards Institute and is a standardized keyboard layout certified by this organization.

ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization, which doesn’t claim any specific layout but serves as the foundation for national and industry standards.

Both ISO and ANSI keyboard layouts are used in countries like the United States and the Netherlands. 

What is an ANSI Keycaps Layout?

Enter key placement: It sits below the backslash key, unlike some other layouts where it’s wider and takes up two key positions.

Shift keys: The left Shift key is typically smaller (2.25 u) than the right one (2.75 u).

Alt keys: Both Alt keys have the same function.

Split-shift layouts: Some keyboards have a split shift, meaning there are smaller shift keys on both sides of the spacebar.

Key count: Full-size ANSI keyboards have 104 keys, including a dedicated number pad.

Prevalence: This layout is common in the US, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and many Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

Limitation: It doesn’t have a dedicated key for extra characters needed in some languages, like German ß.

What is an ISO Keycaps Layout?

Enter Key: large, horizontal key taking up two rows, located to the right of the left Shift key.

Shift Keys: The right shift is larger, allowing space for an extra key on the bottom left.

Alt Keys: The right Alt key is often replaced with an “Alt Gr” key for accessing special characters.

Number of Keys: Typically 105 keys, some layouts may lack a dedicated number pad.

Extra Key: It often has an extra key on the bottom left for language-specific characters.

Prevalence: common in most European countries and South America.

ANSI vs ISO Layout Differences

Ansi vs iso choose

1. Enter Key

Enter key ISO

The image shows that the enter key usually takes two rows on the ISO layout.

Enter key ANSI

On the other hand, the ANSI key seems winder and takes only one row on the keyboard.

2. Left Shift Key

Left shift key ansi

The ANSI left shift key is similar to a normal keyboard—the same size and outlook as the right shift key.

Left shift key iso

But talking about the shift key on ISO it’s the half of ANSI and the shape gives it a square look.

3. Backslash Key

Backslash key ansi

On ANSI, the backslash key lays just above the enter key.

Backslash key iso

On ISO layouts the backslash is compared to smaller than ANSI and located to the left of the Enter key.

4. Right ALT key

Right Alt key

On the ANSI layout, Alt are same on both sides. But on the ISO layout, it replaces the right side key with an Alt Graph key.

5. Number of keys

65% keyboard keys

Normally at  ANSI layout, a full-sized mechanical keyboard has 104 keys and 87 keys in a compact form. On the other hand, ISO has one extra key for each at 105 on full-sized and 88 on compact keyboards.

ANSI vs ISO: Which one is better?


ANSI and ISO keyboard layouts both got advantages and disadvantages depending on circumstances.

If you’re a user who uses the keyboard daily, the layout won't have that much impact on your typing or gaming. 

What do you think? Let me know in the comment below

ISO Advantages

I mentioned above that the ISO layout has the Alt graph key. In some scenarios, this helps typers access different characters. 

ISO Disadvantages

On the market, you will see that ISO layouts are arguably more costly compared to ANSI. This is the main downside and the position of the Enter and shift keys also cause

Is ANSI better for gaming?

keycaps gaming

It’s very hard to answer this question, cause no definition will confirm this specific layout of the keyboard is best for gaming. 

It depends on the user’s personal preferences.

However, it can be said that due to the large size of the ANSI layout, it could deliver some advantages to gamers. However, some gamers may like the compact size keyboard – 60%, 75%.

ANSI or ISO layout: Which one should you choose?

Ansi vs iso choose

What is my keyboard Layout?

Physical keyboard layouts comparison

  • if the enter key is a wide rectangle that takes up only one row. _ ANSI
  • If the enter key is shaped like an upside-down L and takes up two rows, _ ISO
  • If you have Japanese characters next to the space bar on your keyboard, _ JIS

Where can I find ANSI and ISO Keycap Sets?

ANSI keycaps are so popular that, you can find them anywhere. Simply searching this brand name may help you to find – Kono, Candykeys, KBD Fans


Can I Use an ANSI Keyboard Even If My Language Uses an ISO Layout?

it is possible to use the ANSI keyboard layout with other languages that require different types of symbols.

 On Windows 10, you can change layouts by pressing Alt+shift, which will take you to the key with the desired symbol.

On Mac OS X, shortcuts are available, but you must enable them. You can also change the language for your keyboard input and switch in the top navigation bar.

Should I Get an ISO or ANSI Keyboard?

Highlights the subjective: You emphasize that there’s no single “best” option, making it relevant and relatable to users with different needs.

user priorities: You mention ergonomics, language requirements, and coding preferences, helping readers understand which layout might suit them best.

layout choice: This can be helpful for people traveling or buying online.

programmable keyboards: Including this option acknowledges the growing market for customizable solutions.


At the end of the Ansi vs Iso comparison guide 2024 – I hope this guide helped you to find your layout for your mechanical keyboard. A mechanical keyboard is full of customization if you want to learn about keycaps(13 Best Keycaps).

If you have any confusion or any questions – let me know in the comment. 

Happy Typing!

Reference Website: switchandclick, kineticlabs, thegamingsetup

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3 months ago

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