Warding (or key profile) can refer to either:
- The pattern of protrusions on a key hole that determines which key can enter a lock.
- The pattern of protrusions on the key itself that match with a given lock model.
- In warded locks, a configuration of wards inside the lock body which act as a protection for a primary locking mechanism (e.g. latch or bolt).
The warding pattern is defined by the manufacturer for a given model of lock. Some locks share the same warding pattern, though most high security locks have their own unique warding pattern. For example, the most common Kwikset warding is called KW1, but this warding is shared by many brands who make compatible locks such as Defiant and Baldwin. Other examples include the Schlage line of locks, many of which share the SC1, SC4, and other warding patterns to allow interchangeable keying systems between various lock models.