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Thank you, Mr. Bemer
October 6, 2012 4:43 PM   Subscribe

The Esc key was born in 1960, when an I.B.M. programmer named Bob Bemer was trying to solve a Tower of Babel problem: computers from different manufacturers communicated in a variety of codes. Bemer invented the ESC key as way for programmers to switch from one kind of code to another.
posted by TangerineGurl (95 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
This sounds like its almost completely wrong.
posted by MtDewd at 4:47 PM on October 6, 2012


This article really surprised me with its blithe assertion that the ESC key is "obsolete." It's not like it's ScrollLock or SysRq! I feel like I use ESC pretty regularly in modern Windows desktop applications -- it's the "get out of whatever you're in" button, used to dismiss dialog boxes or to exit sub-modes. Maybe the issue is that New York Times writers live in an Apple bubble?
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:52 PM on October 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


All the Apple keyboards have that escape key up in that corner, too. The entire world has that muscle memory working for them.

One of the first things I've had to do with a number of Thinkpads I've owned is remap F1 to Escape to work around that horrible, horrible, terrible, awful decision they made to put F1 in that corner and ESC above it, alone on its own row.
posted by mhoye at 5:01 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe the issue is that New York Times writers live in an Apple bubble?

Nah, that's not it - OSX uses the Esc key a whole ton too. Hell, the Mac OS equivalent of Ctrl+Alt+Del is Cmd+Alt+Esc.
posted by fifthrider at 5:03 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


It cracks me up that this is an article, and that the author has to struggle so hard to come to grips with the topic. Something so simple as the escape key, this is a thing? Someone has to find out what it is for?

I looked up the author, who was born in 1984, several years after I first became acquainted with the escape key. Perhaps this is just a generation gap. It's hard for me to imagine using a computer without becoming acquainted with the escape key, if only by accident, whether anyone bothered to explain it to you or not - but perhaps that's just a sign of the age I grew up in.

It appears that the NYT runs a weekly series of these "who made that $foo" articles on a variety of ordinary things, so it's not just a random article about the escape key.
posted by Mars Saxman at 5:05 PM on October 6, 2012


Maybe the issue is that New York Times writers live in an Apple bubble?

Only if they are still using Macintosh Classics over at the The Grey Lady.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:07 PM on October 6, 2012


ESC also stops animated gifs, making it one of the most useful keys on the keyboard.
posted by fredludd at 5:07 PM on October 6, 2012 [27 favorites]


See, the lame-stream media diverts the masses with piffle like this about the Esc key, and completely ignores core issues, like what the fuck is the Sys Rq key for?
posted by benito.strauss at 5:09 PM on October 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


SysRq is the most powerful key on the keyboard! In windows it can break into a ring 0 debugger like windbg, if you don't have Windbg or SoftIce it acts as printscreen. In Linux SysRq+e(I think it is e) will send SigKill to all running processes and other combos do all kinds of other neat things!
posted by Ad hominem at 5:15 PM on October 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


Something so simple as the escape key, this is a thing? Someone has to find out what it is for?

Those are the best things to find out what they are for. You should leave no assumption unexamined.
posted by JHarris at 5:15 PM on October 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


I've been using computers for the better part of 30 years and I don't think I've ever used the Esc key for anything but force-quitting Mac applications or maybe bringing up an options menu on some video games.

Didn't know about stopping .gifs, that could be (sorta) useful.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:21 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, lay off of Scroll Lock. It's totally useful in Excel.
posted by stopgap at 5:25 PM on October 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


like what the fuck is the Sys Rq key for?

The teacher does not appear before the student is ready.
posted by mhoye at 5:26 PM on October 6, 2012 [41 favorites]


“It says to the computer: ‘Stop what you’re doing. I need to take control.’ ”

Damn it. This happens to me a lot and I've wasted years uselessly hitting the CTRL key.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:30 PM on October 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


what the fuck is the Sys Rq key for?

Magic SysRq.

I've been using computers for the better part of 30 years and I don't think I've ever used the Esc key for anything but force-quitting Mac applications or maybe bringing up an options menu on some video games.

Then you obviously don't use the One True Text Editor. Even though I usually use Ctrl-[, that's just Esc in disguise.
posted by kmz at 5:32 PM on October 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


“It says to the computer: ‘Stop what you’re doing. I need to take control.’ ”

I've been using the HUMP key to tell the computer, "Stop what you're doing, cause I'm about to ruin the image and the style that you're used to."
posted by aaronetc at 5:34 PM on October 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


A lot of the keys are useless. Who needs a key for the letter X? That letter almost never comes up. We could just as well replace it with any other key, like the B key. The only time I ever use it is when I'm surfing porn, looking for sebual pleasure.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:39 PM on October 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


GUESS WHAT I USE THE CAPS LOCK KEY FOR GO ON GUESS
posted by JHarris at 5:39 PM on October 6, 2012 [29 favorites]


How can I map the Escape key to play Rupert Holmes' "Escape (the Piña Colada Song)" when I press it?
posted by birdherder at 5:44 PM on October 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


keys are for old people. You can just run the command osk.exe, unplug your keyboard, and you never have to use them again.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:47 PM on October 6, 2012


I bought a calculator that has a SIN button, but I'm afraid to push it, because that's not the way my parents raised me.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:48 PM on October 6, 2012 [17 favorites]


I pressed the COS button over and over again, for no good reason. Jus' cos'.
posted by JHarris at 5:50 PM on October 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


I hit TAN but I'm still pale...
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 5:51 PM on October 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


I was just letting my son play Sonic the Hedgehog in a Genesis emulator not 15 seconds ago, and I hit the ESC key to get it out of fullscreen mode. Prescient!
posted by Jimbob at 5:53 PM on October 6, 2012


I've been using computers for the better part of 30 years and I don't think I've ever used the Esc key for anything but force-quitting Mac applications or maybe bringing up an options menu on some video games.

Accessing my video game menus is where it's at for me. I don't even know which icons in my video games access what menu. It's always the Esc key or c/i/h/etc.
posted by jmd82 at 5:55 PM on October 6, 2012


Accessing my video game menus is where it's at for me.

Exactly! Who the hell has played any game since Wolfenstein 3D and not hit the ESC key?
posted by Jimbob at 6:00 PM on October 6, 2012


Dark Souls uses the End key to bring up the menu instead of Esc. They think outside the box.
posted by squinty at 6:00 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Escape key escape.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 6:07 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


GUESS WHAT I USE THE CAPS LOCK KEY FOR GO ON GUESS

Left-Control?
posted by kmz at 6:09 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


ESC is the default key to 'cancel' out of a modal menu in OS X. I use it all the time.
posted by unSane at 6:11 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can't use vi without the esc key. Which I use all the time on my OS X machines.

:wq
posted by needled at 6:12 PM on October 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


ESC would be a good name for a cocktail lounge in Silicon Valley.

Or SPACE BAR.

BACKSPACE would be a different kind of bar.

ALT would be a good name for an alternative kind of bar and, despite the SHIFTY clientele, I would hang out there, running up a big TAB.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:16 PM on October 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


needled: "You can't use vi without the esc key.

:wq
"

Yes you can. Just press Ctrl-[ instead of escape. Can't help you if you can't somehow type a left square bracket, at least not without key remapping.
posted by wierdo at 6:17 PM on October 6, 2012


Ah, but ^[ is just the escape control character, so you're still "pressing the key." No cheating.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:23 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:31 PM on October 6, 2012 [28 favorites]


FINALLY! I have been pressing the button for quite a while, what the hell were you doing? Usually you're so responsive.
posted by symbioid at 6:32 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I always figured the SysRq key had some purpose. I was worried about finding out what it might be.
posted by Jimbob at 6:34 PM on October 6, 2012


I never knew that GIF thing! Also, for some reason, it made me SUPER nostalgic for Forum 2000.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:40 PM on October 6, 2012


I guess it's time for me to be the guy who pops up whenever anybody talks about character encoding history.

Bob Bemer was part of a lot of very important things in computer history, including inventing the escape character, which he envisioned as a way to cut through the babel of the dozens of different encoding standards that existed in the early 1960s. The idea was that there would be a registry of codes, with ESC being the one character represented by the same combination of bits in each, and you could send ESC followed by some other combination of bits to tell the receiver which encoding the text to follow used.

It didn't work out that way. ASCII was the first encoding to actually include ESC as one of its characters, and its purpose was promptly subverted by the inclusion of an ESC key on the first piece of ASCII hardware, the Teletype Model 33. The 33 had so few keys other than the printing characters that ESC and DEL were immediately taken over for user interface features that had little to do with their intended use.

ESC and DEL were keys of their own only because they were outside of the normal range of control characters and therefore couldn't be generated by a combination of the CONTROL key and a letter. The encoding registry was eventually created, but was too late and too little supported (and ESC already used for too many other unrelated things, with too many different encodings, even between different versions of ASCII) for it to ever matter for much of anything.

John Auwaerter was Teletype's representative on the ASCII committee, so if there is any person that can be named as being responsible for ESC being a key, it is probably him. More years passed before someone else reinterpreted the key label to mean "cancel."
posted by enf at 6:41 PM on October 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


In Seattle there is a mystery Coke machine. It's a soda machine that has a "Mystery" button. You put in your money, hit the button and you have no idea what you'll get. It won't necessarily give you any of the options that are available from the other buttons (grape soda? Licorice fizz??)

I wish this was a standard principle of interface design. If we all had a button on on our keyboards that did a totally unpredictable thing, then typos would be much more interesting.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:41 PM on October 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


fredludd - ESC also stops animated gifs...

Huh. It does. Who knew?! (You did, evidently.)

Now is there any way to re-start them without refreshing the entire page?

I have a diNovo Edge that ditched a lot of keys, SysReq one among them. But it still has Esc and PrintScreen keys. I guess that shows how non-hardcore I am. Or something.
posted by porpoise at 6:42 PM on October 6, 2012


Obsolete?

One of the most popular computing devices of our day, the iPhone, has one button -- and guess what it does.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:42 PM on October 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


SPACE BAR

I haven't been to Disneyland in ages but, in Tomorrowland I used to walk up to the cafe there and "Press the Space Bar."
posted by SPrintF at 6:46 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Grass Valley Greg invented the Delete key, and look where it got him.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:47 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you look closely at the Samsung Chromebook keyboard, you'll notice that the DELETE key is missing.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:58 PM on October 6, 2012


I just noticed that there's no SysReq key on my laptop. Makes me kind of sad. I'd be lost without Esc at work though, since I do 90% of my work in vim.
posted by octothorpe at 7:02 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wish this was a standard principle of interface design. If we all had a button on on our keyboards that did a totally unpredictable thing, then typos would be much more interesting.

"Fucking auto-correct!" is pretty useful, but the level of plausible deniability that would introduce into my communications would be awesome!

"Of course, I didn't call you a fucking halfwit with a brain like that of a particularly slow mollusk. I would never say that. But you know how shit is with the mystery key. I probably wrote that on Facebook a month ago and the fucking mystery key just reached back into my history and burped it out."
posted by jacquilynne at 8:04 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why do people :wq instead of :x? Are they literally made out of keystrokes?
posted by ~ at 8:09 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I rely heavily on the ESC key in almost every one of the several dozens of applications and IDEs I use every day at my job. I'd be much less efficient at what I do were it not for ESC.
posted by trip and a half at 8:18 PM on October 6, 2012


KEYBOARD NIGHTMARE III: no ESC.
posted by benzenedream at 8:39 PM on October 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


re: :wq vs :x

I always :wq
I used to :w and then :q
I was told by my mentor to always :w before :q because of safety.
Perhaps :x is the same as :wq, but I won't forget him.
posted by jpziller at 9:19 PM on October 6, 2012


I admit I am really not a vi expert but I always use :wq as well. I thought :x deleted chars. Learn something new every day.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:30 PM on October 6, 2012


sometimes I remember :wq, but most of the time I go to a different terminal and 'killall vi'...
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:43 PM on October 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I use ZZ.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:52 PM on October 6, 2012


dirigibleman: I bet they don't want us to start that here :)
posted by jpziller at 9:57 PM on October 6, 2012


I was entirely wrong when I misread your ZZ comment. Here's a discussion that's somewhat relevant. http://www.allinterview.com/showanswers/11056.html
posted by jpziller at 9:58 PM on October 6, 2012


I have been thinking about ordering a custom keyboard. It's pricy, so I want to get it right. My thoughts so far:

Replace "caps lock" with "control"
Get rid of: print screen, scroll lock, pause, insert, delete
Add: previous tab, next tab

I'm still interested in getting some ideas.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 11:38 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Replace "!" with "OMGLOL!!1!".
posted by Jimbob at 11:50 PM on October 6, 2012


Unfortunately, if you use a Webkit-based browser (like Chrome, or Safari), ESC does not stop animated GIFs. This has been the source of many complaints, but the Webkit people's general response has been, effectively, 'insufficient desire and we don't care anyway' (as in despite the request being open for over a year and being confirmed by popular vote it is not assigned to anyone).

On the other hand, there's a lot of other things on my Mac which use it, so I'm in favor of it being around, still.
posted by mephron at 12:51 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


In this modern day and age we've become complacent about keyboards because they all basically have the same keys. Sure, maybe a laptop is missing a few or whatever, but for the most part you don't expect to sit down to use someone's computer and find keys that you hadn't seen before. Back in the day, various machines had all kinds of crazy shit.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:52 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


various machines had all kinds of crazy shit

Oh what a fabulous link! I wish I had a "BS" key, not to mention "hyper," "abort," "meta" and "rub out." I don't even want to know what their actual functions were; it's much more fun to let my imagination have at it (which in this case seems to lead to potential Calvin & Hobbes-style scenarios).
posted by flyingsquirrel at 1:40 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


various machines had all kinds of crazy shit

The mind boggles at the creative possibilities of these keys: HYPER, SUPER, and best of all, META.
posted by sudasana at 1:48 AM on October 7, 2012


enf, that's what I meant about wrong. The article says a programmer in the 60's invented a piece of hardware that seemed to not get used until the 70's or 80's. Bemer invented the esc character for I/O data stream use. Somebody else put it on the PC keyboard for a different reason. In 1960, if you wanted to stop your computer, you pressed the STOP key. (It's already lit up red so you can find it easily.)
posted by MtDewd at 2:43 AM on October 7, 2012


But where's the ANY key?
posted by readyfreddy at 4:44 AM on October 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


In an era where veritable armies of interface designers have contributed to the evolution of the most sophisticated widget sets possible (fonts, buttons, menus, all of javascript and friends, etc, etc) it still confuses me that the keyboard remains stubbornly opaque, carting along such baggage. I'm in mac world, and Apple were brave enough to drop the floppy disk ("Madness!", they cried), to pare things down to the level of the mac-air, and yet, still, in 2012, I have keys like "cmd clover" and "alt two squiggly lines like a frying pan and levitating egg". I am embarrassed when I have to explain this to my parents, who think computers are malevolent and deliberately confusing. I tell them "it gets better", but then they point to the keyboard, and I put up my hands.
posted by stonepharisee at 5:07 AM on October 7, 2012


My brother in law has a remote control for his stereo (made by Linn) that has a button labelled 'WHAT', and also one labelled simply '?'
posted by colie at 5:15 AM on October 7, 2012


Meta and Super are usually mapped to Alt and the 'Windows' key, respectively.

Hyper I don't know. I'm sure an Emacs user can chime in.
posted by helicomatic at 6:14 AM on October 7, 2012


jpziller the difference between :x and :wq is the same one as ZZ and :wq as noted in the link you posted. For the lazy, :wq will force a write of the buffer and quit whereas :x will write only if there have been no changes, and then quit.
posted by techSupp0rt at 7:21 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Addendum: this is useful when you have tools like make that depend on the timestamp to rebuild. If you are editing source code, then you don't want to trigger a new build just by quitting the "wrong" way.
posted by techSupp0rt at 7:37 AM on October 7, 2012


It says to the computer: ‘Stop what you’re doing. I need to take control.’

Assuming direct control.
posted by ersatz at 7:44 AM on October 7, 2012


The original Mac keyboard had no Escape key, so Mac developers could never assume the user had one available (even though every Mac with an ADB or USB keyboard does have Escape). As a result, Command+. was the standard "Cancel" command and that convention lives on today in OS X, although in most software Command+. and Escape do the same thing.

The problem with keys like Sys Req, Break, Scroll Lock, Insert, etc., is that the were added for completely thoughtless, obsolete reasons. But they're there, so various software has used those keys for various things over the years, and as a result it becomes very difficult to ship a modern PC without all these weird obsolete keys, often occupying prime keyboard real estate. It's ugly cruft.

The interesting thing about the evolution of the Mac is that its software always had to support a minimal keyboard without a keypad, home, end, insert, delete, function keys, etc. If those keys are there then you can use them, but they're always optional. It has enabled some really compact keyboard designs which have become more important than ever in recent years.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 7:48 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the linked NYT article:
For more than a hundred years, when you wanted to write something, you sat down in front of a typewriter. But computers look different now — they’re like smartphones. It will be interesting to see whether in 10 or 15 years the whole idea of a keyboard will seem strange. We might be saying, “Remember when we used to type things?”

So how does one get text (say, a fluff piece for the NYT) into a smartphone at 100 WPM without something like a keyboard? Computer keyboards, like musical keyboards, aren't going anywhere - they are both an example of highly-efficient interfaces that work at a high rate and are well-adapted to our 10-finger physiology (comments about Dvorak vs QWERTY to /dev/null, please).

Seriously, this kind of baseless speculation about "what computers will look like in 15 years" is silly. Maybe users can get by with poking at the screen, but somebody has to write the code. (And the articles.)
posted by crazy_yeti at 7:51 AM on October 7, 2012


In Linux SysRq+e(I think it is e) will send SigKill to all running processes

So does the power switch. Well, it sends SIGKILL++
posted by eriko at 8:51 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Esc gets you out of lots of annoying stuff; it would be handy to have an Esc button for real life. I'm using an older laptop that has a rightclick button, which I like, but which did not catch on, so it's no longer used. I'll have to snag one from an old keyboard for old times' sake.

The lack of home, end, and delete on Mac keyboards makes using a Mac a trial for me. I hate the keyboard less than I hate the mouse, and have never memorized Mac keyboard shortcuts enough for my infrequent use of Macs.
posted by theora55 at 10:42 AM on October 7, 2012


Get rid of: print screen, scroll lock, pause, insert, delete

Don't do much text editing, do you? In nearly all text environments delete performs a forward backspace, and insert toggles between typeover and insert when you type new text with the cursor in the middle of things.
posted by localroger at 10:59 AM on October 7, 2012


Does anyone actually use typeover anymore?
posted by benito.strauss at 11:17 AM on October 7, 2012


OK, if you don't think the typeover feature is very useful (which I can see) then you can have insert. But srsly, I use delete all the time.
posted by localroger at 11:34 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


ESC in real life
posted by TangerineGurl at 11:44 AM on October 7, 2012


Fn-Bksp (the key labeled "Delete") gives you a forward delete on Macs.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:38 PM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


While we're on the subject of mystery keys, could someone help me? I'm pretty sure my keyboard's missing an important one. Often I'll click something on screen -- the Firefox icon, or the Shut Down command, for example -- and the computer just sits there, as if waiting patiently for something more. So where exactly on a modern keyboard layout does one find the PLEASE key?
posted by logopetria at 2:23 PM on October 7, 2012


Mayor Curley: "Grass Valley Greg invented the Delete key, and look where it got him."

TOFUTTI BREAK!
posted by symbioid at 2:37 PM on October 7, 2012


~: "Why do people :wq instead of :x? Are they literally made out of keystrokes?"

Why do people name themselves ~ instead of `? Are they literally made out of keystrokes?
posted by symbioid at 2:38 PM on October 7, 2012


symbioid: "Why do people name themselves ~ instead of `? Are they literally made out of keystrokes?"

LOL, just yesterday I was having a "discussion" with my SO about whether her IRC nick used to end with ~ or `. I happen to know it was the latter.

Also, you may pry any of the keys on my usual keyboard from my cold, dead hands. You can take the media controls and application launcher keys from this one, though. It's freakin' ridiculous. The real irony of them? They don't work in Windows without installing a driver. In Ubuntu they just work. Freakin' Logitech.
posted by wierdo at 2:50 PM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nah, that's not it - OSX uses the Esc key a whole ton too. Hell, the Mac OS equivalent of Ctrl+Alt+Del is Cmd+Alt+Esc.

You mean "shift command esc." There's no "alt" key on an Apple keyboard. And yeah, as a Mac user, I regularly click esc.
posted by John Cohen at 5:18 PM on October 7, 2012


The laser projected keyboard of the future that was on the final episode of Weeds dropped the ESC key for a down arrow.
posted by unliteral at 8:07 PM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


What ARE you talking about, John Cohen?

The default key combo for bringing up the 'force quit' window in OS X is indeed option-apple-esc aka alt-command-esc

apple = command
option = alt (it's written on the damn key on my MBP)
posted by unSane at 8:08 PM on October 7, 2012


You mean "shift command esc." There's no "alt" key
No they don't and yes there is.
posted by unliteral at 8:09 PM on October 7, 2012


"Tofutti's the taste! For greats! Who
make ... MISTAKES!"
-- Grass Valley Greg
posted by Afroblanco at 9:36 PM on October 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


The laser projected keyboard of the future that was on the final episode of Weeds dropped the ESC key for a down arrow.

Those monstrosities have existed for a long time and I can't even imagine how terrible typing on one would be like.
posted by kmz at 12:41 AM on October 8, 2012


Get rid of: print screen, scroll lock, pause, insert, delete

Don't do much text editing, do you? In nearly all text environments delete performs a forward backspace, and insert toggles between typeover and insert when you type new text with the cursor in the middle of things.


I use vim :)
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 8:32 AM on October 8, 2012


one more dead town's last parade:
Fn-Bksp (the key labeled "Delete") gives you a forward delete on Macs.
Holy freakin monkeys, Batman. You are my new hero. Now if only there were super secret "end" and "home" keys.. (anyone?)
posted by ashirys at 12:16 PM on October 8, 2012


So as an Non-Mac person, I'm curious. What do you use instead of the Home and End keys? I use them a lot, especially to go the the top and bottom of web pages.
posted by octothorpe at 12:27 PM on October 8, 2012


So as an Non-Mac person, I'm curious. What do you use instead of the Home and End keys? I use them a lot, especially to go the the top and bottom of web pages.

⌘-↑ and ⌘-↓ are the equivalent on Mac — they're a bit closer to the home row, which is nice.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 12:45 PM on October 8, 2012


So as an Non-Mac person, I'm curious. What do you use instead of the Home and End keys?

Most of the time I just use the Home and End keys. But if I'm using a Mac with the small USB keyboard, I'd use FN-left-arrow for Home, FN-right-arrow for End. Similarly, FN-up-arrow does PageUp and FN-down-arrow means PageDown.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:50 PM on October 8, 2012


ashirys: "one more dead town's last parade:
Fn-Bksp (the key labeled "Delete") gives you a forward delete on Macs.
Holy freakin monkeys, Batman. You are my new hero. Now if only there were super secret "end" and "home" keys.. (anyone?)"


Command-left and command-right go to the beginning and end of the line (and if you're in a single-line text entry field, up and down generally do likewise), if you want Microsoft-style home/end behaviors.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:14 PM on October 8, 2012


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