Introduction:

There are lots of different keys (buttons) on a computer or laptop keyboard. What the majority of these keys are is obvious (e.g. letters and numbers), but there are other keys which do functions, actions (e.g. shift), or keyboard shortcuts (a quicker way to do actions using the keyboard, e.g. 'copy and paste'). Although non-native speakers of English know exactly what these keys do, they often don't know the names of these keys in English. And this can cause problems when giving or receiving instructions on how to use a computer application. In this online exercise on computers, we will look at the English names of these function or action keys that are most commonly used for computer applications and shortcuts.

Click here to go to the exercise on Vocabulary for Computer Verbs of Movement

Exercise: The Names of Keys on a Keyboard

In the below photo of a keyboard, you will find that different function or action keys are either surrounded/enclosed by a red line with a number in red or just have a number in red on top of the key. These red numbers are used below the photo to confirm the name of each key(s) (e.g. 1 = Delete Key).

Computer Function Keys Photo

  • 1 = Delete Key
  • 2 = Backspace Key
  • 3 = Tab Key
  • 4 = Return Key
  • 5 = Caps Lock Key
  • 6 = Shift Key
  • 7 = Control Key
  • 8 = Function Key
  • 9 = Alt Key
  • 10 = Space Bar
  • 11 = Arrow Keys



 Link to Dictionary

Quiz: Computer Keyboard Key Name Vocabulary Part 1

Below is a definition/description of each of the different keys on the above keyboard. Now fill in the blanks with the name of one of these keys which are in bold in the above list. Only use the name of one key(s) once and write it as it is in the list. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.


1. The long key on a keyboard which is used when you want to separate one word from another when writing, is called the    

         

Space bar:
(noun) The 'space bar' is the key on a keyboard which when pressed makes a single space. It is used to separate words when writing. It is often just called 'space', e.g. 'press space now'. It is called a 'bar' and not a 'key' because it is long. In Spanish: "barra espaciadora".

Close

Space bar:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
Click on the microphone icon () in the below box and say the word/phrase above to check your pronunciation. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

 

Close

2. The key you press once to write in UPPER-CASE/CAPITAL letters, is called the    

         

Caps lock key:
(noun) The 'caps lock key' is used to change between writing letters in UPPER-CASE(CAPITALS) and lower-case. It is similar to the 'shift key', but with the 'caps lock key' when you have pressed the key once, all the letters that you write will be upper-case/capital letters. In Spanish: "tecla bloqueo de mayúsculas".

Close

Caps lock key:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
Click on the microphone icon () in the below box and say the word/phrase above to check your pronunciation. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

 

Close

3. A key that begins with 'C' that is used for shortcuts in applications, is called the   

         

Control key:
(noun) The 'control key' is the key on the keyboard that has 'Ctrl' written on it. It is often just called 'control'. Its main function/purpose is for keyboard shortcuts (a quicker way to do actions). For example, to copy some text you just highlight/select the text using the mouse and press 'Control' + 'C' to copy it. On mac computers, it is called the 'command key'. In Spanish: "tecla de control".

Close

Control key:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
Click on the microphone icon () in the below box and say the word/phrase above to check your pronunciation. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

 

Close

4. A key that is used to make multiple spaces/indent in a text document, is called the    

         

Tab key:
(noun) The 'tab key' is the key on the keyboard that has two arrows pointing in opposite directions. It is often just called 'tab'. The key can do different actions, but its main function is to make spaces/indent (a five letter space) when it is pressed. It is also used for keyboard shortcuts (a quicker way to do actions). By pressing tab when in a form or quiz, you move through or down the text boxes/fields where you have to enter/type in information or answers. In Spanish: "tecla de tabulación/tab".

Close

Tab key:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
Click on the microphone icon () in the below box and say the word/phrase above to check your pronunciation. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

 

Close

5. A key that is used to remove a letter/space which is in front of the cursor on the screen, is called the    

         

Delete key:
(noun) The 'delete key' is used to 'remove' or 'delete' letters, words, files etc... It is often just called 'delete'. When writing in a text document (e.g. in Microsoft Word), pressing the 'delete key' will delete/remove the letter/number/space in front of the cursor. It is similar to the 'backspace key', but that key deletes/removes the letter/number/space behind the cursor. In Spanish: "tecla de suprimir".

Close

Delete key:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
Click on the microphone icon () in the below box and say the word/phrase above to check your pronunciation. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

 

Close

6. A group of keys which are used to move through a web page, are called the    

         

Arrow keys:
(noun) The 'arrow keys' are also called the 'scroll keys'. These four keys each have an arrow or triangle pointing in a different direction. They are often used for moving in a web page and in some applications, to move/scroll up ('arrow up key'), down ('arrow down key'), left (arrow left key) and right (arrow right key). In Spanish: "teclas de flechas".

Close

Arrow keys:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
Click on the microphone icon () in the below box and say the word/phrase above to check your pronunciation. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

 

Close

7. A key on a laptop/notebook that when pressed with other keys changes the audio volume, is called the    

         

Function key:
(noun) The 'function key' is the key which has 'Fn' written on it. It is only found on computers that have a small keyboard (like laptops or notebooks). It is used for keyboard shortcuts (a quicker way to do actions) to mainly change the screen and audio levels (e.g. the brightness, volume etc...). For example, in the above photo of the keyboard if you press both the 'function key' and the 'arrow up key' (which has a small blue icon of a speaker below the triangle) you will increase the volume level of the laptop/notebook. In Spanish: "tecla de función".

Close

Function key:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
Click on the microphone icon () in the below box and say the word/phrase above to check your pronunciation. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

 

Close

8. A key that when pressed and held down will write letters in UPPER-CASE/CAPITALS, is called the    

         

Shift key:
(noun) The 'shift key' is often just called 'shift'. When pressed and held down the letters that are written are in UPPER-CASE/CAPITALS. It is similar to the 'caps lock key', but with the 'caps lock key' when you have pressed the key once, all the letters that you write will be upper-case/capitals. The 'shift key' is also for keyboard shortcuts (a quicker way to do actions). In Spanish: "tecla de mayús/shift".

Close

Shift key:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
Click on the microphone icon () in the below box and say the word/phrase above to check your pronunciation. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

 

Close

9. A key that begins with 'A' that is used for shortcuts in applications, is called the    

         

Alt key:
(noun) The 'alt key' is the key on the keyboard that has 'Alt' written on it. It is often just called 'alt'. Its main function/purpose is for keyboard shortcuts (a quicker way to do actions). For example, to open the file menu in web pages and many applications, you press 'Alt' + 'Space'. In Spanish: "tecla Alt".

Close

Alt key:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
Click on the microphone icon () in the below box and say the word/phrase above to check your pronunciation. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

 

Close

10. A key that is used to move to a new line when writing in a document, is called the    

         

Return key:
(noun) The 'return key' is also called the 'enter key'. People often just call it 'return' or 'enter'. It is mainly used for moving to a new line when writing in a document (e.g. in Microsoft Word) It is also used for confirming actions, e.g. 'Do you want to close the application. Yes or No'. In Spanish: "tecla intro".

Close

Return key:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
Click on the microphone icon () in the below box and say the word/phrase above to check your pronunciation. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

 

Close

11. A key that is used to remove a letter/space which is behind the cursor on the screen, is called the    

         

Backspace key:
(noun) The 'backspace key' is used to 'remove' or 'delete' letters, words in a text document. It is often just called 'backspace'. When writing in a text document (e.g. in Microsoft Word), pressing the 'backspace key' will delete/remove the letter/number/space behind the cursor. It is similar to the 'delete key', but that key deletes/removes the letter/number/space in front of the cursor. Plus with the 'backspace key' you can't delete files. In Spanish: "tecla retroceso".

Close

Backspace key:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
Click on the microphone icon () in the below box and say the word/phrase above to check your pronunciation. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

 

Close








Practice

Now that you understand the new vocabulary, practice them by creating your own sentences with the new words/phrases.