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Six Keyboard Shortcuts Every Computer User Should Know
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24 keyboard shortcuts Mac users need to know
Medical School or Games Industry? Featured on Meta. Custom Filters release announcement. There are two option keys on modern as of Mac desktop and notebook keyboards, one on each side of the space bar. As of , some laptops had only one to make room for the arrow keys. From to , on the Apple II series , this key was known as the closed apple key , and had a black line drawing of a filled-in apple on it. See command key for information about the history and the "open apple". Since the s, "alt" has sometimes appeared on the key as well, for use as an Alt key with non-Mac software, such as Unix and Windows programs; as of , the newest Apple keyboards such as the Magic Keyboard no longer include the "alt" label.
The Option key in a Mac operating system functions differently from the Alt key under other Unix-like systems or Microsoft Windows.
Most notably, it is not used to access menus or hotkeys, but is instead used as a modifier for other command codes, and also to provide easier access to various accents and symbols. The use of the Option key is similar to that of the AltGr key on European keyboards of IBM-compatible PCs, in the sense that it can be used to type additional characters , symbols and diacritical marks. The options available differ depending on the keyboard input locale that the user has selected.
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For example, in the U. The Option key can also provide access to dead key functionality. The accent then can be applied to associated letters both lower and uppercase. With this combination pressed the keyboard will now produce a different set or an uppercase version of the previous set in some cases.
Notice that holding the shift key as well as the option key while pressing a letter key may create "capital" versions of what results when the same letter key is pressed while the option key but not the shift key is held. For example:. The key is also used to provide for alternative menu items and buttons when pressed down.
The iPhoto example is an example of a control whose behavior is governed by a preference which is temporarily inverted by holding down the Option key. The preference in this case is which way to rotate the image: If the user changes the default rotation direction in the Preferences to clockwise, holding down Option will make the button rotate counterclockwise instead, and vice versa.
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