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Tag Wiki 'Shift Key'.

The shift key is a on a keyboard, used to type and other alternate "upper" characters. There are typically two shift keys, on the left and right sides of the row below the . The shift key's name originated from the , where one had to press and hold the button to shift up the case stamp to change to capital letters; the shift key was first used in the Remington No. 2 Type-Writer of 1878; the No. 1 model was capital-only.

On the US layout and similar , characters that typically require the use of the shift key include the , the , the exclamation point, and the colon.

When the key is engaged, the shift key can be used to type lowercase letters on many operating systems, but not .


The keyboard symbol for the Shift key (which is called Level 2 Select key in the international standard series ISO/IEC 9995) is given in ISO/IEC 9995-7 as symbol 1, and in ISO 7000 “Graphical symbols for use on equipment” as a directional variant of the symbol ISO-7000-251. In 6.1, the character approximating this symbol best is U+21E7 upwards white arrow (⇧). This symbol is commonly used to denote the Shift key on modern keyboards (especially on non-US layouts and on the ), sometimes in combination with the word “shift” or its translation in the local language. This symbol also is used in texts to denote the shift key.

Uses on computer keyboards
On computer keyboards, as opposed to typewriter keyboards, the shift key can have many more uses:

  • It is sometimes used to modify the . Modern Microsoft Windows keyboards typically have only 12 function keys; Shift+F1 must be used to type F13, Shift+F2 for F14, etc.
  • It can modify various and . For example, if Alt-Tab is used to cycle through open windows, Shift-Alt-Tab cycles in the reverse order.
  • Holding shift while in a will anchor the insertion point, such that moving the pointer and clicking the mouse to a new point will select the range of text in between.
  • Holding shift while drawing with the mouse in graphics programs generally confines the shape to a straight line, usually vertically or horizontally, or to draw squares and circles using the rectangle and ellipse tools, respectively.
  • The shift key can also be used to modify the behavior on a computer. For example, holding shift while clicking on a in a might cause the page to open in a new window, or to be downloaded.
  • In some web browsers, holding shift while scrolling will scan through previously viewed web pages.
  • In macOS, holding while performing certain actions, such as minimising a window or enabling/disabling Dashboard or Mission Control, makes the animation occur in slow motion. For some animations, holding will make the animation move just slightly slower, and holding will result in an extremely slow motion animation.

On some keyboards, if both shift keys are held down simultaneously only some letters can be typed. For example, on the keyboard Model RT7D20 only 16 letters can be typed. This phenomenon is known as "masking" and is a fundamental limitation of the way the keyboard electronics are designed.

Windows specific
The following is a list of actions involving the shift key for the Microsoft Windows operating system.
PressOpens the Windows Task Manager.3.1+
Hold  + click  RestartReboots Windows only and not the entire system.95, 98, ME
Hold  + insert  CDHolding shift while inserting a in a Microsoft Windows computer will bypass the feature. This ability has been used to circumvent the MediaMax CD-3 CD system.95+
Hold  + click  close buttonIn , closes the current folder and all parent folders.95+
PressIn , if pressed with objects selected, such as files and folders, this will bypass the recycle bin and delete the selected objects permanently. Alternatively, holding shift and selecting the delete option in the context menu of the selected objects will achieve this. Retrieving deleted objects after this is only possible using recovery software.95+
PressFocuses on the previous object in the objects that are focusable in many Windows applications, such as the previous form control on a form in Internet Explorer.3.1+
Press  5 timesToggles activation of on and off.95+
Hold the right for 8 secondsToggles activation of on and off.95+
Press both  keysInactivates if it is activated.95+
Press left + left +Toggles activation of on and off.95+
Press left + left +Toggles activation of High Contrast on and off.95+
PressHighlights the last task in the task bar. Continue to cycle through the task bar with the arrow keys, (forward), (backwards), or alphanumeric keys (highlights the task that begins with the alphanumeric character that is pressed). Press or to open the task.95+
PressDisplays a list of the tasks in the task bar for as long as the is held down. Selects the last task in the list. Continue to cycle through the list by pressing . Release to open the selected task.3.1+
PressSelects the previous tabbed window in any Windows applications is that use the tabbed window control.3.1+

See also

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