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Description & Explanation of Input Devices

Updated February 21, 2017

Input devices that function as part of a computer system come in many different varieties. Some input devices have a broad range of functionality and, therefore, you will find those types of input devices on most if not all computer systems. Others have more specialised functions, such as for use with graphic or audio applications.

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With reference to computers, the term input device describes an instrument with the purpose of performing the tasks of conveying data into the computer system, as indicated at the Compukiss and Expedient websites.

Most Common

The most widely known input devices for computers include the keyboard, the mouse and certain alternatives to a mouse. Some more commonly known mouse substitutes include trackballs and joysticks.


More specialised input devices also include some mouse alternatives such as light pens, touch pads and drawing tablets. A microphone, which allows communicating audio data to the computer, also provides an example of a less commonly used input device.

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About the Author

A writer/editor since 1984, Christine Lebednik has spent much of her career in business and technical writing, and editing. Her consumer print and online articles include product descriptions for TDMonthly Online, book reviews for Catholic News Service, consumer reports for Consumer Search and works for various other publications. Lebednik received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Salem State College.

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