Keyboard Menu/App Key

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

The ▤ Menu key is invented by Microsoft. It first appeared on the Microsoft Natural Keyboard in 1994.

menu key 78f06
the ▤ Menu key, left of Ctrl

Typically, it is only on the right side besides Control key.

Microsoft Natural Keyboard Gen1-s
The Microsoft Natural Keyboard, 1994. 4032×3024 image source

[see Microsoft Natural Keyboard]

What's the Menu Key For

The ▤ Menu key, also known as Apps key, is meant to be a application-specific context menu key.

In desktop (file manager), you can press 【▤ Menu r】 to rename, 【▤ Menu d】 to delete, 【▤ Menu p】 to show info/properties, etc.

In Firefox, you can press 【▤ Menu c】 to copy, and 【▤ Menu p】 to paste. Also works in terminal and most other apps.

As Mouse Right Button

The ▤ Menu key's function is similar to mouse's right button, or pressing 【Shift+F10】 in most applications.

Note: press the ▤ Menu key is not equivalent to pressing the right mouse button. For example, in a browser, pressing right mouse button on a link pops up a context menu for that link. But press ▤ Menu doesn't show the same context menu. You need first to put focus on the link (by pressing Tab), then press ▤ Menu.

Menu Key vs Fn Key

When you buy a keyboard, never get one that has Fn key in place of ▤ Menu key. Because, the Fn key is hardwired, you cannot remap in Operating System. If you don't like its preset multimedia functions, it becomes a useless key on one of the most important spot.

Like, a dead horse squatting in front yard.

Menu Key Use in Emacs

[see Emacs: How to Define Menu Key]

Keyboard Keys Topic

  1. Keyboard Big Fat Enter Key
  2. Keyboard Home/End Keys Arrangement
  3. Tiny Space Bar on Japanese Keyboards
  4. Keyboard Page Key
  5. Print Screen, SysRq, ScrLk, Pause, Break Keys
  6. Control Key and Capslock Key Positions in Old Keyboards
  7. Keyboard Evolution: Zoom Button, Dedicated Keys
  8. Keyboards with Volume Wheel
  9. Keyboard Modifier Keys, Short Survey
  10. Why Function Keys Are Useful
  11. Keyboard Menu/App Key
  12. Backspace Key: Key Label's Influence on Key Purpose
  13. Alt Graph Key, Compose Key, Dead Key
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