Use a standard PC keyboard with your Chromebook

Use a standard PC keyboard with your ChromebookYou can use a standard PC keyboard with your Chromebook. This means that any USB keyboard will work with a Chromebook just as it would on a Windows or mac. Just like adding a wireless Chromebook mouse, you can plug in or connect any USB or Bluetooth keyboard to your Chromebook and it will work fine for most purposes. Read more about  some of the best ChromeOS Keyboards from Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. Many users like the ChromeOS keyboards and they are decently designed keyboards. Many users though will be fine with a standard PC keyboard on their Chromebase, Chromebox, or Chromebook.

ChromeOS Keyboards and Standard PC Keyboards

When using a standard PC keyboard, remember that Chrome OS uses a non-standard keyboard layout, with special keys in replacement of the function row and some switches elsewhere. The big change is having a search key instead of caps lock. While you can use any keyboard you have laying around, you should consider a Chrome OS-specific keyboard if you’re going to buy a new keyboard anyway.


How are Chromebook keyboards different?

The big difference is that there is no Caps Lock key on ChromeOS keyboards. Chrome keyboards differ in other ways too:

  • Keys are in lowercase letters (in the Roboto font)
  • Larger ‘Alt‘ and ‘Ctrl‘ keys
  • Dedicated ‘Search’ button
  • No ‘Windows‘ key
  • No separate caps lock key
  • No ‘function’ key (or F1-12 labelling)

Connecting a USB Keyboard to a Chromebook

Just like a USB mouse, Chrome OS can handle USB keyboard the instant you plug them in. No need for drivers or other software. A few different manufacturers make Chrome OS layout wired keyboards, like Dell and Asus. There are a few things to remember if you continue to use a standard PC keyboard with ChromeOS. When using a standard PC keyboard with your Chromebook Windows® start key acts as the search key on a Chromebook. F keys trigger the Chromebook hotkeys. F1 = back F2 = forward F3 = refresh F4 = full-screen, etc.


Connecting a Bluetooth Keyboard to a Chromebook

Connecting a Bluetooth keyboard to a ChromeOS computer is also very easy and is just like connecting a mouse. You’ll have to put the keyboard into a pairing mode, open up Bluetooth settings on your Chromebook and then select the keyboard from the list of available devices. You’ll be prompted to type a sequence of numbers on the keyboard, and press enter to pair. There are also a selection of wireless keyboards out there with Chrome OS keyboard layouts. Chromebook is the everyday, everybody computer, and Logitech offers a wide range of every purpose accessories. Navigating, typing, or listening, we have an accessory to help you.


  1. A very informative article. It explains everything one needs to know about, using a standard keyboard as well as the Chromebook type.

  2. Any workaround to get the 10 key number pad functions to work with Chromebook? (Num lock, page up, page down etc.)

    • Yep, you have to go into-
      Then switch your keyboard language to US Extended, or the ‘Extended’ variant of any given language.

  3. Yep, you have to go into-
    Then switch your keyboard language to US Extended, or the ‘Extended’ variant of any given language.

    • alt + search key
      or you can change the behavior of the search key to always act as a caps lock
      settings > device > keyboard
      Hit the dropdown next to where it says “Search” and select “caps lock”

  4. I have an external keyboard, for Windows, that I’m using on my Chromebook. Do you have a complete list of what the F1 to F12 keys are mapped to on a Chromebook? I know F5 is the Overview key and Ctrl+F5 is the Screenshot key. What about the others beyond F4, especially F11 and F12? Thanks

    • One of my pet peeves, for OSs which have software available to remap the entire keyboard, is the unnecessary practice of making specialized keyboard “guts” for different OSs PLUS alternative keycaps for different languages . The latter is necessary the former is not. A computer can translate hardware codes to functions orders of magnitude faster than any human can input keystrokes.

      It would be much simpler for everyone if the hardware codes were standardized for all alphanumeric keyboards to one consistent set like was used +50 years ago and manufacturers only made alternative keycaps as they do for human languages.

      F1 – F12 on a standard PC keyboard have hardware codes 112-123. The corresponding keys on a Chrome OS keyboard have exactly the same codes.

      Here is how Chrome OS translates F1 -F11 to functions:

      Original mapping: F1- back F2 – forward F3 – -refresh F4 – full window F5- overview/multi-window F6 dim screen F7 brighten screen F8 mute speaker F9 volume down F10 volume up F11 – lock or power off

      Pixelbook variation: F1- back F2 – refresh F3 – full window F4- overview/multi-window F5 – dim screen F6 brighten screen F7- play pause F8 – mute speaker F9 -volume down F10 -volume up F11 – lock or power off

      A good visual guide to the standard original Chrome OS keyboard is at Dell’s site. (A generic USB PC keyboard that lacks media functions or shows them as alternates is made into a Chrome OS one by replacing keycaps.)


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