what is key rollover in a keyboard
what is key rollover in a keyboard

Key rollover is a fundamental aspect of keyboard technology that often goes unnoticed, yet plays a significant role in our typing experience. Essentially, it refers to the ability of a keyboard to register multiple simultaneous keystrokes without any of them being missed or ignored. In simpler terms, it ensures that when we’re swiftly typing away, each key we press is accurately recorded by the keyboard. Whether you’re a casual typist or a professional gamer, understanding key rollover can help you make informed decisions when choosing a keyboard that best suits your needs.

Understanding Key Rollover in a Keyboard

Have you ever wondered how your keyboard registers multiple keystrokes simultaneously? Well, that’s where key rollover comes into play. Key rollover, also known as keyboard rollover or simply KRO, refers to the ability of a keyboard to correctly recognize and register multiple key presses at the same time. In simpler terms, it determines the maximum number of keys that can be pressed and registered simultaneously on a keyboard without any issues.

Definition of Key Rollover

Key rollover is defined as the capability of a keyboard to handle and process multiple keystrokes simultaneously. It measures the keyboard’s ability to accurately detect and register all the keys that are pressed by the user. This feature is crucial for users who type quickly, gamers who require swift and accurate key inputs, and professionals who heavily rely on keyboards for their work.

Types of Key Rollover

There are two main types of key rollovers commonly found in keyboards – N-Key Rollover (NKRO) and 6-Key Rollover (6KRO).

N-Key Rollover (NKRO)

N-Key Rollover (NKRO) is the gold standard when it comes to key rollover. As the name suggests, it allows all the keys on the keyboard to be pressed at the same time and ensures that each key press is correctly registered. In other words, it provides unlimited simultaneous key presses, irrespective of the combination of keys pressed. This type of key rollover is highly desirable for gamers, programmers, and anyone who requires precise and fast typing.

6-Key Rollover (6KRO)

Contrary to N-Key Rollover, 6-Key Rollover (6KRO) limits the number of keys that can be pressed simultaneously. With 6KRO, you can only press up to six keys at the same time, and any other key pressed beyond that will not register. While this limitation may not be a significant issue for regular typing, it can definitely pose problems for fast typists or gamers who often need to press multiple keys simultaneously.

Ghosting vs. Key Rollover

Ghosting is a phenomenon that occurs when you press multiple keys simultaneously on a keyboard, but not all of them register. Instead, some keys may be misread or get completely ignored, creating an undesirable outcome. Ghosting can be frustrating, especially when gaming or typing quickly. However, key rollover is designed to counteract ghosting by ensuring that all key presses are accurately registered.

Mechanical vs. Membrane Keyboards

Key rollover capability can vary depending on the type of keyboard you are using. Mechanical keyboards, known for their tactile feedback and satisfying key switches, often offer superior key rollover performance. The mechanical switches used in these keyboards provide individual key actuation, allowing for precise detection and registration of each key press. On the other hand, membrane keyboards, which use a rubber dome and membrane mechanism, may have limitations in key rollover due to the construction and design of their key switches.

Benefits of Key Rollover

Having a keyboard with reliable key rollover has several advantages. Firstly, it ensures accurate input recognition, preventing inaccuracies or missing characters when typing or gaming. Secondly, it enables efficient multitasking for professionals who use keyboard shortcuts or hotkeys extensively. Furthermore, key rollover can enhance the overall gaming experience, especially for competitive gamers who require quick and precise inputs. Finally, it reduces frustration and improves user satisfaction by eliminating ghosting issues and providing a smooth and uninterrupted typing or gaming experience.

Considerations for Gamers

Gamers, in particular, should pay close attention to the key rollover capabilities of their keyboards. In fast-paced games that require rapid and simultaneous key presses, having a high-performing key rollover can make a significant difference. Gamers often rely on complex key combinations, such as pressing multiple movement keys along with various action keys, which demand flawless recognition. Therefore, investing in a keyboard with N-Key Rollover (NKRO) or a substantial key rollover is essential for avid gamers to ensure that their inputs are consistently and accurately registered.

Key Rollover in Gaming Keyboards

Gaming keyboards are specifically designed to cater to the needs of gamers. They often come with advanced key rollover capabilities, including N-Key Rollover (NKRO) or 6-Key Rollover (6KRO). These keyboards are equipped with high-quality mechanical switches or custom-designed key matrix layouts to provide the best possible key rollover performance. Additionally, gaming keyboards may feature customizable backlighting, programmable macros, and dedicated gaming modes to enhance the gaming experience further.


Key rollover is a fundamental aspect of keyboard functionality that plays a vital role in typing efficiency and gaming performance. Whether you are a writer, a programmer, or an avid gamer, understanding key rollover and its different types can help you choose the right keyboard that meets your specific needs. While N-Key Rollover (NKRO) is considered the superior option, 6-Key Rollover (6KRO) can still suffice for less demanding tasks. Ultimately, selecting a keyboard with reliable key rollover ensures accurate and seamless input recognition, guaranteeing a delightful and productive user experience. So, the next time you are in the market for a new keyboard, remember to consider the key rollover capabilities to make an informed decision.

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Sam Cox
Hi, I'm Sam Cox! I'm an experienced computer and gaming enthusiast passionate about helping others get the most out of their tech. a Tech expert and your go-to source for all tech tips at The Computer Geeks. With years of experience in the industry, I bring extensive knowledge and expertise to help you navigate the ever-evolving world of technology. I have a passion for simplifying complex concepts and finding creative solutions, making your tech journey both enlightening and enjoyable. Whether you're a seasoned tech enthusiast or a beginner looking for guidance, I am here to provide you with valuable insights, tutorials, and practical tips to enhance your digital experience.