We spend more and more time in front of our computers. Whether fixed or portable, we handle them daily for work, study and entertainment. However, even if we constantly strum on the keyboard, we do not necessarily know all the subtleties. Did you know, for example, why it has two Alt keys?
On a computer keyboard, in addition to letters and numbers, you will find various keys whose use you do not necessarily understand. However, when they are associated with others, they allow various interesting functionalities. If you take a closer look at your keyboard, on the left side you will notice the usual Alt key that you use frequently. But, to the right, there is also another similar key called Alt Gr. Although their names are similar, they allow you to perform very different functions.
Why are there two Alt keys on my computer keyboard?
The abbreviation “Alt” stands for “alternate” in English. If you use this key at the same time as another, the operating system will ignore its basic function and you will access an alternative functionality.
On the left of the keyboard, the Alt key allows two essential functions: it can be used to reach the menu of any application you have installed on your computer and to facilitate the famous “keyboard shortcuts”, i.e. say allow you to perform specific actions on your device.
As for the Alt Gr key, placed to the right of the keyboard, it is better known as “Graphic Alt”. It has a completely different utility from the previous one, since it is not only used for graphic functions, but it also allows activating additional keys that are not present on the keyboard.
For example, the American keyboard does not have accent marks, rightly since the Anglo-Saxon language dispenses with them. However, if you want to write a word in French or Spanish in this type of keyboard, you just need to press Alt GR + the letter key. In addition, this key is also useful for writing the at sign, punctuation marks, question marks, exclamation points or brackets.
Some Alt key combinations on Microsoft Word
Alt+R: Opens the “Start” or “Home” tab.
Alt+i: Open the “Insert” tab.
Alt+S: Opens the “Layout” tab.
Alt+Ctrl+i: Opens the “print menu”.
Alt+Ctrl+S: this shortcut splits the document window. If you press this key combination again, you cancel the division.
Read also What are the “F” keys on the keyboard for? Unknown but very useful functions