Keyboard keys#

Different keyboards use different names for common keys. For consistency, use the following key names unless the technology that you are documenting requires other forms:

  • Alt

  • arrow keys (generic)

  • Backspace

  • Command

  • Ctrl

  • Del

  • Down Arrow

  • End

  • Enter

  • Esc

  • Home

  • Ins

  • Left Arrow

  • Option

  • Page Down

  • Page Up

  • Right Arrow

  • Shift

  • Space

  • Tab

  • Up Arrow

When showing specific key names and key combinations, use the following guidelines. For more information about formatting keyboard key combinations, names, and shortcuts, see Text formatting.



When telling users to type a letter key (as in a command), use lowercase for the letter unless uppercase is required. Use type or enter when the action results in output on the interface.

When prompted, type y and then press Enter.

To change from command mode to insert mode, type i.

When telling users to press a letter key (as in a key combination), capitalize the letter. Use press when the action doesn’t result in output on the interface.

Note: Don’t use the verbs hit, strike, or punch.

Separate the key names by - or +, depending on whether you’re documenting Linux or Windows. If you’re documenting for both, pick one symbol and use it consistently.

When you’re finished, press Ctrl+X to exit, type y to confirm your changes, and then press Enter to save as the indicated file.

Press F3 to find the next matching process, or press Esc to quit the search.

To move forward word by word, press W. To move back word by word, press B.

To toggle between the progress bar screen and a Linux TTY screen, press Ctrl-Alt-F2.

If part of a key combination requires the use of the Shift key (such as typing an asterisk or an uppercase letter), add Shift to the combination and then provide the name or symbol that results from pressing Shift (such as ***** or P).

To jump to the end of the file, press Shift+G.

To apply the general number format, press Ctrl+Shift+~.

Avoid using key with specific key names.

If needed for clarity, on the first use of a key name, you can use the definite article the and key with the name. On subsequent uses, refer to the key only by its name.

Press F3 to find the next matching process, or press Esc to quit the search.

Press the Help key (F1).