Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

If you look at Apple's keyboards nowadays, you'll see that on the "F" and "J" keys there is a little groove line under the letter.

Why does this exist? What purpose does it serve?

enter image description here

share|improve this question
It's a limited edition, marked with my initials. Please return all hardware that have them to me. – Jan Fabry Jun 4 '11 at 14:09
@JanFabry Absolutely love it!! – daviesgeek Dec 5 '11 at 3:51
up vote 32 down vote accepted

Actually, this is a feature of all keyboards, and has been for as long as I can remember. Most keyboards use a line, but older Apple keyboards used a dot.

The goal of the ridge is to allow people who type without looking at the keyboard to easily find the right keys to put their fingers on. These keys are referred to as the home row.

Both Qwerty and Dvorak keyboards (image) have these notches where you place you index fingers on the home row, which shows that the notches correspond to a location and not a particular letter.

Bottom line: If you don't look at your keyboard, these are an important feature to let you put your hands where you need to. If you do look at your keyboard, these don't help you.

share|improve this answer
Not to mention blind users. – deceze Jun 4 '11 at 3:00
Some of the older Apple keyboards had a more pronounced curvature of those keys. Many PC keyboards have lines on the D and K instead (for the middle fingers, instead of the index). – NReilingh Jun 4 '11 at 3:26
@NReilingh Really? I've never seen a board with D and K accented. As a curiosity, I'd love to see a photo of one like that if you can find one. – Nathan Greenstein Jun 4 '11 at 3:42
You'll see the same thing on telephones. The numeral '5' will have some sort of tactile cue on it. Same goes for ATM keypads as well. – boehj Jun 4 '11 at 3:51

The bumps or nipples found on the F and J keys on the keyboard helps users correctly position their left and right hand on the keyboard without having to look at the keyboard.

share|improve this answer
How does this differ from the answer posted over 3 years ago? – grgarside Oct 29 '13 at 10:09

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.