Keyboard Wedge: Definition, Examples


A Keyboard Wedge is a software application or hardware device that enables an input device, usually a barcode scanner or magnetic stripe reader, to communicate directly with applications by converting its input into keyboard strokes. The term ‘wedge’ means that it is “wedged” between the keyboard and the device. This set-up allows the input device to function as if it were the keyboard itself, requiring no additional software or drivers.


The phonetics of the keyword “Keyboard Wedge” would be:Keyboard: /ˈkiː.bɔːrd/Wedge: /wɛdʒ/

Key Takeaways

<ol> <li>Keyboard Wedge is a hardware device that allows for the integration of barcode scanners and other peripherals without the need for additional software or drivers. They are often used in retail or inventory management environments to input data directly into systems as if it was being manually keyed in via a standard keyboard.</li> <li>This interface can often be configured to add characters such as a return or tab after the barcode is scanned, which simulates a manual keypress. This feature gives it flexibility and programmability in diverse implementations.</li> <li>Although Keyboard Wedge devices are a common solution for integrating barcode scanners with a computer, they have some limitations such as being limited to one device per computer. Further advancements in technology are supporting serial or USB interfaces instead, opening the door for many devices to integrate into a single computer.</li></ol>


The term “Keyboard Wedge” is significant in the realm of computer technology due to its role in data input methods. A keyboard wedge is a software application that enables devices like barcode scanners or magnetic stripe readers to directly input data into computers as though it’s being typed through a keyboard. This method is crucial because it does not require any modifications to existing software, making it a convenient and efficient approach for processing large volumes of data. It essentially acts as a “wedge” between the physical keyboard and the computer, hence the term. As the input method functions and appears just like keyboard data entry, its seamless integration promotes a simplified and more streamlined workflow.


The purpose of a Keyboard Wedge revolves around its function as a data entry tool. This device enables the integration of input data directly into applications as if it was being typed on the keyboard. Keyboard Wedges are especially prominent in the retail industry and other sectors where barcode scanning is critical to operations. The advantage of this technology is that it allows for barcode reading without any alterations or additional programming in the existing software.Keyboard Wedges can handle information derived from a variety of data entry devices such as barcode scanners, magnetic stripe readers, and RFID readers, among others. This information is converted into keyboard key values, fooling the computer system into thinking that the data-input operation was executed via a keyboard. This way, data can be efficiently entered into any application that can accept keyboard input, which aids in maintaining the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of related operations.


A Keyboard Wedge is a hardware device that translates digital signals into a format that a computer can understand. It is typically used to connect peripherals, such as barcode scanners or magnetic strip readers, to computers. Here are three real-world examples:1. Retail Stores: At retail points of sale, barcode scanners attached to computers or cash registers often use keyboard wedge interfaces. When an item’s barcode is scanned, the information is sent to the computer as if it had been typed on a keyboard, enabling the system to track sales, inventory, and other data.2. Libraries: Keyboard wedges are used in library systems where barcode scanners are integrated to check books in and out. The scanner, through the keyboard wedge, sends the barcode information of the book to the library’s computer system, making book management easier and more efficient.3. Access Control Systems: In buildings where access is controlled by magnetic cards, the card readers may use a keyboard wedge to send the card data to a computer, which then checks it against a database and decides whether to unlock the door.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Q1: What is a Keyboard Wedge?A1: A Keyboard Wedge is a hardware device that allows a connection between a computer and another device, such as a barcode scanner. It translates the data coming in from the additional device into a form that resembles keyboard data, hence why it’s called a “Keyboard Wedge.”Q2: How does a Keyboard Wedge work?A2: A Keyboard Wedge works by plugging into the terminal of the keyboard and the computer. It intercepts the signals coming from the external device, translates them into keyboard-like data, then passes the information to the computer as if it was being typed on the keyboard.Q3: What devices can be connected using a Keyboard Wedge?A3: Various devices such as barcode scanners, magnetic stripe readers, or any other device that might require data input can be connected using a Keyboard Wedge.Q4: Does the use of a Keyboard Wedge require additional software or drivers?A4: No, a Keyboard Wedge does not typically require additional software or drivers. It acts as a keyboard input, which does not need supplementary software.Q5: Can a Keyboard Wedge be used with any computer or is it limited to specific models?A5: As long as the computer has the necessary port, a Keyboard Wedge can be used. However, it’s essential to make sure that the Keyboard Wedge and the device are compatible with the computer’s operating system.Q6: What are some advantages of using a Keyboard Wedge?A6: One of the significant advantages of using a Keyboard Wedge is its ease of use, no software installation required. It allows for seamless, real-time data input directly to the system, which eliminates the need for post-processing.Q7: Are there any limitations to using a Keyboard Wedge?A7: Yes, there are limitations. The data cannot be modified or manipulated before entering into the system. Also, if a computer’s keyboard inputs are already heavily used, it could be problematic to add a Keyboard Wedge. Q8: Is the data entered through a Keyboard Wedge prone to errors?A8: Generally, errors are less likely as the data input is direct and excludes manual entry. However, any inaccuracies with the originating device reading or scanning will reflect in the entered data.

Related Tech Terms

  • Barcode Scanner
  • Data Capture
  • Input Devices
  • Hardware Interface
  • Software Wedge

Sources for More Information


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