Basic Key Classifications

Alpha Keys

There is one key for each of the letters of the western alphabet (A through Z). Holding down the 'Shift' key forces the upper case of a letter.


Punctuation Keys

There is a special key for each of the accepted methods of punctuating text, such as 'comma', 'period', 'semi-colon' and so on.


Special Function Keys

These keys allow specialized control of the keyboard and/or the PC .


Twelve 'function' keys are located across the top row of the keyboard The primary device for inputting data into the computer CPU. When depressed, each key on a keyboard activates a series of 'on' and 'off' switches, the sequence of which in turn represents the letter or character of the depressed keyboard key. . One of the most noticeable of these is the 'Windows 'Windows' is the trade-marked name of a computer operating system (OS) created and owned by Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Washington, U.S.A. Versions of Windows include Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, and XP (XP is the current Windows version). Each of these iterations added functionality or stability (or both) to the version before it. ' key on the bottom row of the keyboard.


'Function' keys, top row are labeled {F1} through {F12}. Program Also called an 'application'. A 'program' creates, displays, or calculates the input of the program user. Each program is displayed in its own 'window', a separately bordered area of the computer screen. Programs generally fall into two groups, an 'application program', or a 'system program'. designers use these keys to perform specific functions within their applications. Microsoft Windows includes functions for some keys for use with the Windows operating system. Example: You can terminate the current application Also called a 'program', an application is a digital tool used to create, display, or calculate the input of the application user. Each applicaton is 'opened' in its own 'window', a separately bordered area of the screen. The "Windows" operating system is an 'application', designed to accept input from you, and perform actions, or display the result on the screen (like moving the mouse to a different place on the screen). by holding down the 'ALT' key, while tapping the {F4} function key.


The 'Windows' key (look for a flag on the bottom row) allows special functions. Examples: To open the 'Start' menu A selection list from which you may choose one or more actions or objects. In Windows, the 'Start' menu is the primary list of programs installed on the PC. Another notable Windows menu is the 'context' menu; place the mouse pointer above an item, then 'right-click' to produce a menu relevant to (in the context of) the object under the pointer. , press the 'Windows' key alone. To run 'Windows-Explorer A graphical interface A boundary across which two independent systems meet and act on or communicate with each other. In computer technology, there are several types of interfaces: User interfaces, Software interfaces, and Hardware interfaces. The purpose is the same in all - to help dissimilar entities communicate. for managing folders and files on the PC Short for 'Personal Computer'. The term 'PC' has come to be accepted as identifying a computer which uses the Microsoft 'Windows' operating system, as opposed to those computers that use other OSs such as 'Apple', 'Unix', 'Linux', or others.. It offers two panes (or 'panels', or 'frames'). The left pane contains the PC's major folders, and the right pane displays the contents of the currently 'selected' folder A special kind of file that acts as a marker, or container, for other files or folders. The purpose of folders is to organize files and other folders. Putting files in the proper folder is like putting the bed in the bedroom, and the toothpaste in the bathroom. Logical storage simplifies finding things later when needed..  Files and folders can be copied, or 'dragged' from one location to another, and otherwise manipulated. ', hold the Windows key, then press the letter 'E'.


The 'Esc' key is located at the left end of the function key row, and serves as the escape key, to terminate current action.


Numeric Keys


Numerical entries can be input in one of two ways, either from the number keys at the top of the keyboard (below the 'function' keys), or, from a numerical 'keypad' on the right side of the keyboard.


On a laptop computer, there is generally not room for a dedicated numeric keypad, so laptop users are provided a {Fn} key that is used to access secondary functions of other keys - in the case of numbers, it is used to make certain alpha keys work as a numeric keypad.


Formatting Keys

There are other keys used primarily for changing the appearance of input.


These formatting keys include the 'Caps Lock' key for repeated capitalization of alpha-key input, the 'Shift' key for use when inputting the characters on the top of keys with double functions. Example: The 'asterisk' (*) is accessed by pressing the 'Shift' key while tapping the numerical '8' key on the upper key row.


There are also special keys labeled Tab' (indenting), 'Insert', 'Delete To remove or erase. Normally used in reference to permanently removing a file or folder from the storage unit (hard drive or floppy). To delete a file or folder, 'select' it, then press the keyboard 'Del' key. In most cases, you may also right-click the object to be deleted; this will produce a 'context' menu from which you may select 'Delete'. ', 'Ctrl', and 'Alt'. These last two deserve mention because they are almost never used by themselves, but only in combination with other keys. Example: One of the functions of the 'CTRL' key is to combine it with the alpha key 'P' to begin printing your work (press and hold down the 'CTRL' key while tapping (once) the letter 'P'). The 'Insert' key is a key that can cause a lot of frustration if it is pressed unknowingly. 'The Insert' key, when pressed for the first time, will force whatever you are typing to go over the text already on the page. Simply hitting the key a second time will offset this occurrence.


Directional Keys

There are arrow keys, one for each compass direction and other keys for special movement.


These keys are generally used to move the cursor while reading or editing an application file A collection of data that is given a name. All saved information on a computer is a file. There are different kinds of files, for doing different tasks. For instance, a program file starts or supports a program, a folder file marks other files and folders, and a system file supports the computer system. A document file contains a user-created document. , but may also be used for general control functions. Example: While holding down the 'ALT' key, press the left, or right, arrow key, to move 'back' and 'forward' (respectively) through previously opened web pages.


PgUp and PgDn keys are also directional keys, moving the content by a full page instead of the 'line-by-line' movement provided by the arrow keys.


'Home' and 'End' keys are used to move the cursor to the beginning of a line (Home) or the end (End). By holding the CTRL key while tapping these two keys, we can travel all the way to the beginning (Home) or end (End) of a lengthy document A user-created computer file. The word 'document' is often misunderstood as being limited to a form of letter. In fact, a document, as the term is used in computers today, can be an image file, or sound file, as well as a text-based can even be a file that combines images, sound, and text. This combination file would be known as a 'multi-media' document. or list.


The 'Tab' key is not direction-specific, but is used to move the ' focus To 'bring attention to'. For instance, to enter our name in a text field, we must first click the blank in which we intend to type our name. That left-click 'focuses' the computer on the 'name' blank, so when we begin typing, the computer knows the results of our keystrokes must be placed there. ' from one field to the next during data entry. The Tab key also has other specialized purposes that may be dictated by the software (program) being used at the time.



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