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Arrow Keys

Depending on your keyboard, you may have arrow keys (keys with nothing but an arrow on each of them) tucked in with your letter keys, or you may have a separate little set of four arrow keys, or on laptops your arrow keys are added onto existing character keys. Arrow keys are used for different things in different programs.



These are examples of menu commands that use the arrow keys for shortcuts.


In word processing programs you can use the arrow keys to move the insertion point (the insertion point is that thin, flashing, vertical bar that moves along with the text as you type).

Tip:

In most programs, hold down the Shift key as you press the arrow keys, and the text will be selected as the insertion point moves along. Try it.


In some programs, such as page layout or graphics programs, you can use the arrow keys to nudge objects around on the screen. In spreadsheets and databases, the arrow keys might be used to move the insertion point or to select other cells or fields. In dialog boxes, the arrow keys will move the insertion point within the selected edit box.

RightArrow LeftArrow UpArrow DownArrow

You’ll notice when I write about commands that use arrow keys I write them out like this: RightArrow, LeftArrow, UpArrow, and DownArrow. For instance, I might tell you to press Shift LeftArrow. I do this because I have seen beginners follow a command such as “Press Command + left arrow” by pressing the Command key and then looking for the key that says “left,” plus an arrow key. (And many new users also try to press the + key.) So even though it may seem odd at first, combining the two words that describe the arrow keys makes it clearer that there is just one key.

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