What Is the Menu Key For? (and How to Remap It)


Menu key between Alt and Ctrl keys on a PC keyboard
All the things You Want/Shutterstock.com

Do you know your keyboard has a menu key? On full-size keyboards, you’ll discover it to the left of your proper Ctrl key. This key opens context menus, however you may tweak it to make it extra helpful.

The place’s the Menu Key on Your Keyboard?

Position of the menu key highlighted on a physical keyboard

On full-size keyboards, the menu secret’s positioned between the fitting Home windows key and the fitting Ctrl key to the fitting of the House bar. The menu key can be generally known as the “utility key.”

Some smaller keyboards—for instance, laptop computer keyboards—omit the menu key to avoid wasting area. Different smaller keyboards omit the fitting Home windows key and go away the menu key between the fitting Alt and Ctrl keys.

Both manner, in case your keyboard has a menu key, it’ll be to the left of your proper Ctrl key. It doesn’t have the phrase “menu” printed on it—it has a little bit image that appears like a menu. This image isn’t standardized and can look completely different on completely different keyboards. Typically it reveals a small pointer hovering above a menu and generally it seems to be like a stylized menu—a sq. or rectangle with some horizontal traces inside it.

What’s the Menu Key For?

The menu key opens a context menu on your present utility. It’s mainly like right-clicking in your choice within the utility.

Strive it—press the menu key whereas viewing this internet web page and also you’ll see your internet browser’s context menu, simply as when you had right-clicked on the web page.

That is secret’s helpful when you don’t have a mouse or don’t have a mouse with a proper mouse button. It really works in many alternative purposes. If you choose a file or folder in File Explorer and press the menu key, you’ll see a context menu simply as when you had right-clicked on the file.

Context menu open in File Explorer

This key makes it potential to make use of the context menu with simply the keyboard and with no mouse. Press the menu key, use the arrow keys to pick out an choice, and press Enter to activate it. Choose textual content or different components with keyboard shortcuts and press the menu key to activate context menu choices—all with out your fingers leaving the keyboard.

Microsoft is now speaking about changing this key into an Workplace key to match the Home windows key. Most PC customers doubtless don’t contact this key, which explains why Microsoft is floating the concept of adjusting it. It’s a little bit of a relic, just like the Sys Rq, Scroll Lock, and Pause Break keys.

RELATED: What Are the Sys Rq, Scroll Lock, and Pause Break Keys on My Keyboard?

Shift+F10 Can Operate Like a Menu Key, Too

Shift and F10 keys highlighted on a PC keyboard

In case your keyboard doesn’t have a menu key, however you wish to open a context menu with a keyboard shortcut, by no means concern. You may press Shift+F10 in most purposes to open a context menu. It’s mainly the identical factor because the menu key.

This doesn’t work in each utility, nonetheless—it is determined by the purposes. If nothing occurs within the utility you’re utilizing, strive Ctrl+Shift+F10.

How one can Remap the Menu Key

The menu key isn’t fairly as annoying because the Home windows key, which might take you out of video games and different full-screen purposes when you by chance press it. Nevertheless, you might wish to change the habits of the menu key and have it do one thing extra helpful. In spite of everything, that’s prime keyboard actual property going to waste when you’re not utilizing the important thing.

We like SharpKeys for shortly remapping a key to a different key. You may remap keys within the Home windows Registry, but it surely’s far more sophisticated. SharpKeys offers a handy graphical interface that customizes the underlying registry values for you.

After putting in and launching SharpKeys, click on the “Add” button so as to add a brand new remapping.

SharpKeys window showing Add button

Choose “Particular: Software (E0_5D)” within the left pane. You may also click on “Kind Key” and press the menu key—as we talked about above, it’s generally known as the “utility key,” as it’s right here.

In the fitting pane, choose no matter key you wish to remap the menu key to. For instance, you may select “Internet: Again” and the important thing will operate as a again key in your internet browser and some other utility that helps this key.

Once you’re accomplished, click on “OK.”

Remapping the menu key in SharpKeys

Click on “Write to Registry” to put in writing your adjustments to the Home windows Registry. You’ll now have to shut the SharpKeys window after which both reboot your PC or signal out and signal again in. Your adjustments will take impact once you subsequent check in.

If you wish to change what the important thing does or undo your adjustments, open SharpKeys as soon as once more, choose your rule, and use the “Edit” or “Delete” button to change or delete it. Write your adjustments to the registry after which signal out and again in once more.

Write to Registry button in SharpKeys

You should utilize SharpKeys to reassign different keys, too—for instance, you can also make the Caps Lock or Home windows key operate as different keys.

How one can Customise the Menu Key Utilizing AutoHotkey

For extra superior customization, we advocate AutoHotkey. You should utilize AutoHotkey to put in writing a fast little script that may pay attention for the menu key and carry out different actions once you press it. In AutoHotkey, this key known as the “AppsKey.”

For instance, the next line in an AutoHotkey script will disable the menu key (“AppsKey”) and trigger it to do nothing (“Return”):


This code in an AutoHotkey script will pay attention for the menu key and launch Microsoft Phrase once you press it:


Making the menu key launch Word with an AutoHotkey script

There’s an excellent likelihood the menu key will go away sooner or later. With keyboards nonetheless having Scroll Lock keys, nonetheless, there’s an excellent likelihood the menu key will nonetheless be round for many years to return.

RELATED: How one can Write an AutoHotkey Script

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