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Keyboard symbols

3971 Views 25 Replies Latest reply: Aug 30, 2008 9:50 AM by gumsie RSS
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anmldr Calculating status...
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Jul 9, 2008 2:21 PM
I have a pet peeve I am truly wanting to learn about my Mac and when someone says use such and such key combination to do something they often use symbols to denote these keys. I assume that in the past these symbols have been on the keyboard of the Mac. They are NOT on my MacBook's keyboard other than the Apple and the Command symbol.

I finally found a graphic on the Internet somewhere that shows what people are referring to with these symbols. Why did Apple quit using these symbols (at least on my MacBook) and yet everyone keeps referring to symbols that no longer are on the keyboard?

TIA,
Linda
Mac OS X (10.5.3)
  • Rothrock Calculating status...
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    Jul 9, 2008 3:26 PM (in response to anmldr)
    I just have to say, huh?

    Actually the Apple icon on the key (also known as the command key) has been removed from most of the next keyboards I've seen. So I'm confused how your keyboard has the Apple and the command symbol. I remember the days when there were "closed apple" and "open apple" keys on my keyboard. So many folks who have come to the Mac lately always want to call it the command key, but it will always be the apple key to me!

    Many of these symbols have never actually been on the keyboard (or only on special keyboards) and are just industry "standards" that come and go in favor over the years.

    In any event over the years -- and on all systems -- there have been a variety of modifier keys. I'm guessing here, but the different graphic representations have been attempts to make these keys "easier" for people to understand. Of course by trying to make it easier a great deal of complexity has been introduced and it just makes it harder.

    Additionally the symbols have been needed to show the shortcut mnemonics in the menus etc. and as shorthand notation on cheat sheets and such.

    Basically there are two functions: commands and alternates.

    The apple, command, or curly symbol (don't know exactly what it is called) are all the same key and they represent the idea of telling the computer to do something. So print is apple-p, open is apple-o and so on. So if somebody is telling you how to do something and the step is active thing that the computer needs to do it will almost always be that key.

    The option, alt, or long-legged x with a dot (again don't know what to call the symbol) is the alternate reality key. For the most part this key doesn't really "do" anything. It just changes the results of what the next key you press will do. So pressing the c key gives you the letter c, and pressing option-c will give you the French cedilla (sp?). So if somebody is giving you instructions on how to make something the key they mean will almost always be the option key.

    So I guess the difference is kind of between do and make.

    Just be glad you don't have to have an "any key"!
    iMac 2.8 Ghz, 4 GB, Mac OS X (10.5.2), 8 GB iPhone (1.1.2)
  • macjack Level 9 Level 9 (50,445 points)
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    Jul 9, 2008 3:53 PM (in response to Rothrock)
    EDIT: Meant as response to Linda

    The new keyboards don't even have the  only the ⌘, so that is a point well taken.


    Photobucket


    Which other symbols are you referring to?



    -mj

    Message was edited by: macjack
    iMac 24" 2.16 GHz 3GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.5.4), iMac G4 17" 800 MHz 768MB/ iMac 333MHz 256 MB / LaCie d2s/ APC-UPS
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,825 points)
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    Jul 9, 2008 3:39 PM (in response to Rothrock)
    The apple, command, or curly symbol (don't know exactly what it is called)


    Technically, in Unicode, it's "Place of Interest Sign" (2318) ⌘

    The option, alt, or long-legged x with a dot (again don't know what to call the symbol)


    Technically, it's "Option Key." (2325) ⌥
    iMac Intel/2C2D, eMac G4/700, Mac OS X (10.5), 10.4, 10.3, 9.2
  • pmau Calculating status...
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    Jul 9, 2008 5:01 PM (in response to anmldr)
    Hi Linda

    There's a one-page PDF file here:

    http://images.apple.com/education/accessibility/technology/pdf/symbols.pdf

    I hope it's useful. If not, just ask again ...
    MP / MBP / AEBS / IPT, Mac OS X (10.5.3)
  • mattathayde Level 3 Level 3 (565 points)
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    Jul 9, 2008 5:19 PM (in response to anmldr)
    if it makes you feel better ive used macs for like 16 years and still dont know them really, i finnaly also found a little chart... and still use it frequently
    -matt
    MacBook Pro 2.33 Ghz- Radeon X1600 Graphics - 3 gb ram, Mac OS X (10.5.4), Breaking macs since OS 6.0.5 | 20 gb 4th Gen iPod | 8 gb iPhone
  • mattathayde Level 3 Level 3 (565 points)
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    Jul 10, 2008 9:48 AM (in response to anmldr)
    thats the eject button,

    some of these buttons listed are on the full KBs not on the laptop ones since they cut off the number pad and the buttons around that

    -matt
    MacBook Pro 2.33 Ghz- Radeon X1600 Graphics - 3 gb ram, Mac OS X (10.5.4), Breaking macs since OS 6.0.5 | 20 gb 4th Gen iPod | 8 gb iPhone
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,825 points)
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    Jul 10, 2008 9:55 AM (in response to anmldr)
    it shows a graphic for the "Clear" key. Where is that located (if it is present) and what is it's function.


    It's part of the number pad on full keyboards and presumably clears something when you are doing number pad operations.
    iMac Intel/2C2D, eMac G4/700, Mac OS X (10.5), 10.4, 10.3, 9.2
  • Vertigo50 Calculating status...
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    Jul 30, 2008 12:45 PM (in response to anmldr)
    I heartily agree. The fact many programs have these symbols all over their help files and applications is just ridiculous. Apple, either update the manuals and the program menus, or put the symbols back on the keyboards so that we know what the **** you're talking about.

    You decide.
    Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,825 points)
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    Jul 30, 2008 2:21 PM (in response to Vertigo50)
    Apple, either update the manuals and the program menus, or put the symbols back on the keyboards so that we know what the **** you're talking about.


    You're just talking to other users in the forums, so tell Apple you want this here:

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html
    iMac Intel/2C2D, eMac G4/700, Mac OS X (10.5), 10.4, 10.3, 9.2
  • Vertigo50 Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Jul 31, 2008 12:11 PM (in response to Tom Gewecke)
    I know that. I know Apple doesn't really read these forums. It was more of a rhetorical shout to Apple.

    That's a good suggestion, though. I will definitely send some feedback.

    I may also list it as a "bug" in the developer channel. Maybe that will get more attention.
    Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • Ricardo3j Calculating status...
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    Jul 31, 2008 6:08 PM (in response to Rothrock)
    Hi,

    I`m a Beginer in with Mac. I live in Brazil, and I`m in trouble with my mac. I can`t add keyboard symbols in my texts. I have configured the language of my keyboard, but I can`t type the symbols, in Windows, I can press this key (') for example, e after letter (a), and the text shows me this word(á).
    How can I set my keyboard in order to use these commands? Please, Help me.
    MacBook 4,1, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
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