- Alt key
:"For a list of keyboard shortcuts see
Table of keyboard shortcuts"
The Alt key on a computer keyboard is used to change (alternate) the function of other pressed keys. Thus, the Alt key is a
modifier key, used in a similar fashion to the Shift key. For example, simply pressing "A" will type the letter a, but if you hold down either Alt key while pressing A, the computerwill perform an "Alt-A" function, which varies from program to program. In non-US keyboard layouts, rather than a second Alt key, there is an almost identical 'Alt Gr' key to the right of the space bar. The key is located immediately to either side of the Space bar.
The Alt key has come to replace the
Meta keyof the old MIT keyboards. In their original function, both Alt and Meta would set the high bitof the signal generated by the key to 1 (for example, A generates 01000001 while Alt-A generates 11000001). However, in modern software, due to the requirement of the high bit for internationalisation, Alt no longer works in such a way.
The Alt key is well known as part of the
Control-Alt-Deletekey combination, which in some operating systemsbrings up the task manager for aborting an unresponsive application (or restarting the computer) or simply viewing what applications or processes are running.
Other well-known combinations which the Alt key is part of include
Alt-F4, to close a window, and Alt-Tab, to switch between windows. Additionally, in many traditional GUIenvironments, including Microsoft Windows, Alt is used to access pull-down menus.
Some keyboard layouts treat both Alt keys on the keyboard as the same key, while others do not.
software, holding down the Alt key while typing in numbers (often referred to as Alt codes) on the numeric keypad allows the user to type special characters not normally available on the keyboard. For example, holding down Alt while typing 0169 on the numeric keypad will result in ©. These extended keyboard characters are useful for persons using foreign languages, mathematics, currency symbols, business use, etc.
The Alt or
option keyon a Macintosh is also used to access international characters, similar to the AltGr keyin some other environments.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Alt key — /oltˈ kē/ (computing) noun A key used, in conjunction with others, to access alternative keyboard functions * * * Alt key UK [ˈɔːlt ˌkiː] US [ˈɔlt ˌki] noun [countable] [singular Alt key plural Alt keys] … Useful english dictionary
alt key — ➔ key1 * * * Alt key UK US noun [C] (also Alt) ► IT a key on a computer keyboard that you press at the same time as another key to produce a particular result: »Press Alt and F1 to move the cursor to the next field … Financial and business terms
Alt key — UK [ˈɔːlt ˌkiː] / US [ˈɔlt ˌkɪ] noun [countable] Word forms Alt key : singular Alt key plural Alt keys computing a computer key that you press together with another key so that the other key does something different from what it usually does. You … English dictionary
alt key — alternatyvos klavišas statusas T sritis informatika apibrėžtis Klaviatūros klavišas, kurį paspaudus kartu su kitu klavišu, galima gauti to kito klavišo kitą (alternatyvią) funkciją. Žymimas Alt. Iliustraciją žr. priede. Dažna klaviatūra turi du… … Enciklopedinis kompiuterijos žodynas
Alt key — key which is used in combination with other keys as shortcuts for commands … English contemporary dictionary
Alt key — noun Computing a key on a keyboard which, when pressed simultaneously with another key, gives the latter an alternative function. Origin 1980s: abbrev. of alternative key … English new terms dictionary
alt key — noun A key on a personal computer or terminal keyboard used in combination to alter the function of other keys … Wiktionary
Alt-Tab — is the common name for a keyboard shortcut on Microsoft Windows 3.1 onwards used for switching between top level windows without using the mouse; hence it was named Task Switcher ( Flip in Windows Vista). Casual users may press keypress|Alt… … Wikipedia
Alt — may stand for:*ALT (band), a group of musicians, the members of which are Andy White, Liam O Maonlai and Tim Finn. *ALT Linux, a distribution of Linux computer software, or a team of developers that work on the software. *One of a number of… … Wikipedia
Alt Codes — Les méthodes de saisies par numéro de caractère ou combinaisons de touche Alt ou Alt codes sont des combinaisons de touches qui permettent de saisir des caractères Unicode. La saisie peut se faire à partir du numéro du caractère. Il s agit donc d … Wikipédia en Français