soft key

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soft key

(1) A simulated button or keyboard key that is displayed on a touchscreen. Also called a "soft button," "virtual button" or "virtual key," touchscreen soft keys enable smartphones, tablets and remote controls to display any style of user interface. However, they have not entirely made real keys obsolete. A few physical buttons can greatly enhance a touch user interface. See touchscreen and virtual keyboard.

(2) A physical button that serves multiple functions on cellphones and other devices. The button is located next to the screen, which displays the key's purpose at that moment. See virtual keyboard.

A Soft Key
In this example, the same physical key on this earlier cellphone is used to make and terminate a call. After the call is connected, the soft key changes from Call to End.

Soft Keys at the Gas Pump
A common use is at the gas pump when a response is required. The screen asks the user if a receipt should be printed and displays Yes or No next to the appropriate soft keys (arrows).
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