How Do I Use an External Keyboard With a Laptop?

By Cindy Stokes

Laptops can lead to slouching, which contributes to back pain.
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The convenience of laptops comes at the cost of certain amount of functionality and ergonomics. Happily, most laptops have a number of ways to add peripherals, such as an external keyboard. Just plug a corded keyboard or a receiver for a wireless keyboard into a USB port, and Windows automatically installs the driver. It's ready for use in seconds. Make sure your wireless keyboard is either charged or has batteries installed and the switch is in the "on" position.

Adding a Bluetooth Keyboard

Go to the Windows 8 Start screen and type "Bluetooth Settings, " then select it when it appears in the search results. Make sure that Bluetooth is set to "On." Turn on your keyboard and make sure it's discoverable, frequently achieved by holding down the power button as you turn it on until lights start flashing. When your keyboard appears in the list of Bluetooth devices, select it and click "Pair." Some keyboards may have no power button but have a "Sync" button.

Wired vs. Wireless vs. Bluetooth

Wired keyboards are physically restrictive but don't need charging or battery changes. However, battery life between charges can be extended by making sure to turn off the keyboard when it's not in use. If you have only one available USB port, and also want an external mouse, get a keyboard and mouse combination that use a unifying receiver that accepts the signal from both mouse and keyboard. Bluetooth keyboards use a little more power than wireless and can tend to lose connection with the laptop, but if you have no USB port available, Bluetooth is the way to go.