Sign up ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Why did designers not arrange the numbers on numpads like ATM or phone keypads?

I mean, 7 8 9 - 4 5 6 - 1 2 3 - 0 vs. 1 2 3 - 4 5 6 - 7 8 9 - 0.

Does human brain work the reverse way when working with computer keyboard?

Computer keyboard numpad:


ATM keypad:


Phone keypad:


share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Nifle, bwDraco, fixer1234, DavidPostill, random Jan 31 at 17:35

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question is not about computer hardware or software, within the scope defined in the help center." – Nifle, fixer1234, random
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

There are only theories. No specific reason. See: Keyboard trivia and Why is the keypad arrangement different for a telephone and a calculator? – slhck Jan 26 '12 at 13:53
The brain doesn't work in reverse, but you do learn to use both separately and switch contexts. See also… – Ben Brocka Apr 20 '12 at 16:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The second link that slhck posted hits it right on the head. The keyboard number pad has the layout it does because that's the same way a calculator is laid-out. The idea was that accountants and others who frequently-used calculators would find it easier to use the number pad, as opposed to the numbers off of the top row.

As a developer, I always hit numbers off of the top-row of the keyboard. On the other hand, I have two friends who are CPAs and they frequently use the number pad...and they are incredibly fast when they do it.

share|improve this answer

Try labeling a calculator keypad with the letters A-Z in the same way they're arranged on a telephone keypad (taken from the old dial telephones) and typing something like 1-800-GET-SPAM. You'll find that the alphabet is reversed in 3-letter chunks. That's what the old Bell Labs test was about - speed of typing alphabetic "phone numbers" on different key layouts. If they had used a calculator format, all the companies with mnemonic phone numbers would have been up in arms.

share|improve this answer

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