All standard computer keyboards have numpad (numeric keypad) on the right-hand side. Why is it so?

I have recently switched to a laptop without a numpad. This lets me have the mouse in a much more ergonomic place on my desk. Mouse is an essential piece of equipment and it's used much more commonly than numpads (which are nowadays often missing on keyboards and most people don't miss them). So why not place numpad on the left-hand side, so that the main part of keyboard is centered with mouse on the right and numpad on the left?

What's more, numpad is useful mostly for entering large amounts of numbers, for example in a spreadsheet. With numpad on the left, I could simultaneously enter numbers with my left hand and navigate in the spreadsheet with mouse/cursor keys.

I've googled for keyboards with numpad on the left. They are uncommon and advertised as dedicated for left-handed people or "mouse-friendly keyboards". I'm not sure if left-handedness really matters here. For example right hand is my dominant one but I actually prefer using left hand while typing, so I could happily use the "left-handed keyboard".

That being said and assuming that most people would be as happy with left-hand side numpad as I would (bold assumption, maybe?), what are actual disadvantages of having numpad on the left? It's more ergonomic and healthier, potentially more functional.

Why are numpads on the right-hand side?

  • 1
    "...right hand is my dominant one but I actually prefer using left hand while typing" - you may be a little more ambidextrous than the average right-handed person.
    – adelphus
    May 12, 2016 at 0:27
  • FYI: There are keyboards, such as the wireless Microsoft Ergonomic Sculpt that come with a separate numpad.
    – Stonetip
    May 12, 2016 at 2:40

2 Answers 2


Numpads are on the right-hand side to make basic calculations faster for majority of the population.

Numpad is redundant part of the keyboard, added to make basic calculations (addition / subtraction / multiplication / division) faster. Studies show that approximately 90% of the population is right-handed. Thus, to maximise its utility, numpad is placed on the right-hand side which is more convenient (closer) for the right hand.

Placing numpad on the left-hand side would make it inconvenient for the right hand. So you'd have to use your left hand as you suggested, but for majority of the population that hand is less skillful when performing tasks, and so that would defeat the purpose of numpad in the first place which is to make the basic calculations faster.

  • This nails it. Almost every answer to "why is xyz on the right-hand side" is because the majority of the population is right-handed.
    – adelphus
    May 12, 2016 at 0:25
  • Important point is the secondary use-case and purpose for inputting numbers which is to make the basic calculations faster 💡 This distinguishes in-text number inputs (like Two differencces are: 1. text-focused or 2. calc-focused) on LHS from calculations or pure number (like 1+2= or 20210218) inputs on RHS.
    – hc_dev
    Feb 21, 2021 at 11:47

My main problem with having the number pad on the right and sitting comfortably (letter keys centred in front of me) to type, means having the mouse at an unnatural/uncomfortable distance from me. I would prefer to have the number pad on the left or no number pad at all.

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