Control key

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Related to control keys: Function Keys, Alt keys

control key

[kən′trōl ‚kē]
(computer science)
A special key on a computer keyboard which, when depressed together with another key, generates a different signal than would be produced by the second key alone.

Control key

Abbreviated "Ctrl" or "Ctl." A modifier key that is pressed with a letter or digit key to command the computer. The caret symbol is a common symbol for Control; for example, ^Y means Ctrl-Y.

In most Windows applications, holding down Control and pressing the left or right Arrow key moves the cursor to the previous or next word. Likewise, Ctrl-B, Ctrl-I and Ctrl-U turn bold, italic and underline on and off. The Mac uses two modifier keys; for example, Option/Arrow moves the cursor, while Command-B, I and U toggle bold, italic and underline. Control is used to edit Mac and Unix command lines; for example, Ctrl-L clears the screen. See Command key.

Control Vs. Caps Lock
On the original IBM PC in 1981, the Control key was placed left of the A key. In 1985, IBM swapped the location of the frequently used Control key with the rarely used Caps Lock key, making keyboarding more cumbersome, especially for touch typists. Like sheep, all keyboard manufacturers followed suit. Fortunately, the Control key can be restored to its former location using Registry hacks, custom keyboard control panels or programmable keyboards. See Alt key and PC keyboard.

Swap the Keys
This Microsoft keyboard control panel restores the Control key to its original location. This is an easy way to make the switch.

Updated Key Caps
This programmable keyboard came with a "puller" to pop off the old Control and Caps Lock key caps and exchange them for new ones. Most keyboards do not come with this bonus. See Avant Stellar keyboard.

Even the Mac
Mac keyboards use the same Caps Lock location as PC keyboards, but the OS X control panel allows the modifier keys to be easily changed by the user.
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