Keyboard shortcuts can greatly simplify our work flow, but what do you do when you are told to use a shortcut with an obscure key that you are not even sure is on your keyboard? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has the answer to help a frustrated reader find the key he is looking for.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

Photo courtesy of Blake Patterson (Flickr).

The Question

SuperUser reader Shaun Luttin wants to know where the Apps Key is located at on Microsoft-oriented keyboards:

ConEmu has a shortcut for renaming the current tab. It is Apps Key + R. I have never seen an Apps Key on any keyboard. Where is it located at?

Where is the Apps Key located at on Microsoft-oriented keyboards?

The Answer

SuperUser contributor Ramhound has the answer for us:

In computing, the Menu Key or Application Key is a key found on Microsoft Windows-oriented computer keyboards, introduced at the same time as the Windows Logo Key. Its symbol is usually a small icon depicting a pointer hovering above a menu, and it is typically found on the right side of the keyboard between the right Windows Logo Key and the right Control Key (or between the right Alt Key and the right Control Key). While the Windows Logo Key is present on the vast majority of keyboards intended for use with the Windows operating system, the Menu Key is frequently omitted in the interest of space, particularly on portable and laptop keyboards.

The key’s primary function is to launch a Context Menu with the keyboard rather than with the usual Right-Mouse Button. It can be used when the Right-Mouse Button is not present on a mouse.

Some Windows public terminals do not have a Menu Key on their keyboard in order to prevent users from right clicking; however, in many Windows applications, a similar functionality can be invoked with the Shift + F10 keyboard shortcut, or sometimes Ctrl + Shift + F10.

Some laptop computers include a menu function on the Fn Key (usually operated by pressing Shift + Fn), however, this generally invokes functions built into the vendor’s software and is not the same as the key described above. For example, the Logitech Illuminated Keyboard has an Fn Key where the Menu Key is usually found, pressing it together with the Print Screen Key (above Home) produces the Menu Key function.

Programmers using the Windows API can intercept this key by looking for a WM_KEYDOWN message with wParam VK_APPS (defined as 0x5D in winuser.h). It has the key code 117 (0x75).

Source: Wikipedia – Menu Key

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Akemi Iwaya
Akemi Iwaya has been part of the How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media team since 2009. She has previously written under the pen name "Asian Angel" and was a Lifehacker intern before joining How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media. She has been quoted as an authoritative source by ZDNet Worldwide.
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