What Are Input And Output Devices?

Do you need clarification as to what are output devices and input devices? We use these devices daily to operate our computers, but how can we differentiate between them? If you can’t distinguish between them, then read this article till the end. Input and output devices are essential for any computer to function normally. These hardware devices allow users to interact or communicate with the computer to perform certain tasks. 

So, without any delay, let’s see what are output and input devices, how we can distinguish between them, and what their uses are. 

What Are Input Devices?

Input devices are the hardware that is used to send signals to the computer. These devices are used to send data or inputs to the computer to perform a particular task. These devices send signals to the receiver, that is the CPU, which in turn sends the information to the output devices, and when the chain of command is completed, a task is performed. 

There are loads of input devices of computer that we use on a daily basis to use and communicate with the computer. Here are a few input devices examples:

  • Keyboard devices 
  • Mouse
  • Gaming devices
  • Pointers
  • Audio and Visual devices 

Every user primarily uses these input devices to perform a variety of tasks. But let’s briefly see what these input devices do and their functions.

What Are The Different Types Of Input Devices?

Now that we have seen the broad categorization of these input devices, it is time to know each device closely and understand its function. 


A keyboard is an input device that is used to type or enter data to the computer. Using a keyboard, the user can send information to the computer by using keys ingrained in the keyboard’s body. The keyboard has a typewriter layout with some additional keys to control different functions like play and pause, volume, and others. Most modern keys come with a layout of 104 to 105 keys and change on the basis of compactness, shape, or use.

Different types of keyboards are available in the market, from gaming to ergonomic to keyboards based on layout. Users can choose a design that suits their use. 


A mouse is a pointing input device that is used to navigate in your computer screen or monitor. Mouse’ functions include dragging and clicking the cursor inside your desktop to perform actions inside the PC. Without a mouse, you cannot perform most functions on the PC as you cannot access them without this input device. The mouse comes in wired and wireless options. Most standard mice come with two buttons. However, many of the latest gaming mice or even others have more than two buttons to easily access various commands.


A joystick is an input device that also comes under the pointing devices category and is also used to move around the cursor on the monitor. The body of a joystick consists of a stick that is used to navigate the cursor and is attached to a socket. This stick moves in all directions for ease of movement. 

Light Pen

A light pen is an input device that is used to point and select things on the monitor screen. Similar to a mouse or joystick, light pens are also a pointing device used to perform functions through a computer screen. The light pen consists of a photocell and an optical system that derives the working of this input device. 


In the list of input devices, the scanner is also an input device that is used to scan documents. Like a photocopier, a scanner can be used to transfer paper documents to image files in the computer. This is one of the essential input devices to convert paper documents into digital format.  

Web Camera

Web cameras are input devices that are used to capture live videos of users. These webcams are small, compact, and equipped to capture HD-quality images and videos. These devices are widely used for video conferencing applications. Most laptops have these inbuilt webcams. However, computers need external webcams to capture videos. We have also published a blog on how to connect webcam to laptop in a very efficient way. 


Microphones are input devices used to capture the user’s audio. These small mic-like gadgets are used to capture audio that needs to be converted into digital format. Just like webcams, there are built-in microphones in many latest laptops and computers.

These were some of the commonly used input devices that are required to communicate with the computer properly. Other input devices like barcode scanners, OMR, OCR, Digitizer, etc., are also essential for other uses.

Video Conference Camera

A video conference camera is like a digital camera, but it’s meant for video calls. It captures video of you and others during online meetings, so everyone can see each other.

These cameras are made to work well for video chats, with features like clear video quality, wide-angle lenses to show more of the room, and sometimes things like autofocus or zoom to make the video better. You can find them as separate devices or built into things like laptops or computer monitors.

What Are Output Devices?

All input devices are incomplete without output devices. Output devices are devices that show the results after receiving the signal from input devices. As we saw above, the user uses all input devices to communicate with the PC, but the action is only completed when these tasks are reflected through these output devices.

What Are The Different Types Of Output Devices?

Now that you have understood what are output devices, let’s see the actual devices to understand their purpose. Some of the most commonly used output devices are:


Monitors, visual display devices, or VDUs, are one of the primary output devices used to display information. Monitors are nothing but screens comprising pixels that are used for viewing the operations of a computer. These screens come in LCD or LED formats and have the highest quality resolution for the best picture delivery to users. 


Printers are output devices that are used to print image files or documents from a computer and bring them into paper format. The received information from various input devices is then passed to the CPU before it reaches the printer. Printers often come with scanners attached to them so that users can convert documents from and into a digital format easily without switching to other devices.  


Speakers are other primary output devices that are used to emit sound that is played from the computer. Similar to keyboards and mice, speakers are also available in wired and wireless forms. The wireless ones are connected using Bluetooth connectivity. Also we have a blog on how do speakers work read it for more information about speakers


Through this output device, images and videos that are in the computer can be projected on a wide screen. These optical devices are used primarily in theatres, auditoriums, or for screening videos or images on a big screen.  


Similar to speakers, headphones are output devices that are used to emit sound but to only a single user. This device is made to deliver audio directly to the ears of the user and is equipped to deliver the best sound quality. Headsets are also available in wired and wireless forms. 


Hopefully, you have understood what is an output device in a computer and what are input devices. These hardware devices are highly essential for a computer to function and execute all operations. Interaction or using the computer would be difficult without these devices, and the system would only consist of a CPU. 

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