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Microsoft has added Office and Emoji keys to its latest keyboards

by Mark Tyson on 15 October 2019, 12:31

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Microsoft has some keyboard layout innovations on the way for buyers of its latest input devices. It has listed a new Ergonomic keyboard and Bluetooth keyboard on its US website, both available from today, which come packing new 'built-in shortcuts'. In particular these keyboards include "dedicated function keys for Office 365, emojis, search, easy access to media controls and more." This is the first time Microsoft has released keyboards with both Office and Emoji keys.

The new Office and Emoji keys site between the right Alt and Control keys, which are on to the right of the space bar. Looking through the various keyboards in my collection this space is usually used for a right side Windows key or Function key, and the Windows context menu pop-up key. This change is debuting with Microsoft's new Ergonomic Keyboard ($59.99), and new full sized Bluetooth Keyboard ($49.99).

Microsoft's new Office key works very much as you might expect. If it is pressed on its own, without a modifier, it will open up the Office for Windows 10 app "that acts as a hub for Microsoft’s productivity suite," notes The Verge. However, you can use it to go straight to Word, Excel, PowerPoint or so on with modifiers. For example, Office Key + W opens Word. If you are a heavy user of Office apps then the dedicated key might appeal, but typists for example, might prefer to invest in a quality mechanical keyboard for the overall experience upgrade.

Microsoft's dedicated Emoji Key might find fewer fans. In the version of Windows 10 I am currently running on my desktop PC I can invoke the Emoji input menu with a simple shortcut already (Windows key plus Full Stop key). You can't use it to auto-insert a specific emoji or otherwise configure it.

Currently Microsoft has a licensing program so third party peripheral makers can use its Windows key and guarantee its appearance and functionality. It hasn't opened up such a program for Office and Emoji keys as yet.



HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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yawns
pointless. And the context menu key is rather useful - nay essential - when your mouse packs in for no reason/win10 decides to “update” its driver for you/ etc etc. I can think of a dozen times I would have been stuck without that key. And anyone who locks their machine win+L will miss having a right hand windows key. If MS wants to introduce the keys stick them on the top right above the numeric pad. Don't strip useful keys for gimmick keys. That is not wise.
This was made by infantile children for infantile children.

Serious users do not need a bleedin' emoji key. I want rid of every emoji button on everything I use as they're just in the way. If I want to smile at someone I'll put together the appropriate colon and bracket, thanks.

And as above, being able to completely operate a PC using the keyboard is essential to fixing problems. Any software which relies on a mouse for any operation I find clunky and difficult to use.

If I ever get a keyboard with this nonsense on, it'll swiftly be remapped to something useful.

As the article states, proper users should spend the money on a decent mechanical keyboard. Ideally one with some media and shortcut keys as volume controls are useful and other keys can be remapped easily. How hard is it to map Word launching to a key or key combo? Or as I do, press “Windows” key and type “word”.

I'm extra grumpy if you hadn't guessed.
ik9000
pointless. And the context menu key is rather useful - nay essential - when your mouse packs in for no reason/win10 decides to “update” its driver for you/ etc etc. I can think of a dozen times I would have been stuck without that key. And anyone who locks their machine win+L will miss having a right hand windows key. If MS wants to introduce the keys stick them on the top right above the numeric pad. Don't strip useful keys for gimmick keys. That is not wise.

regarding the right win key, I have an older razer Blackwidow keyboard and where the right win key is normally they have replaced it with an FN key, I didn't like the layout at first, but I got used to it after a week. IMO YMMV