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Arrow keys

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In computing terms, arrow key is a colloquial term, used to refer to one of the four buttons on a standard computer keyboard that is responsible for directional input - in most cases, the up, down, left and right keys. When used without a defined quantity, the plural, arrow keys, usually refers to the entire group of the four keys. The origin of the term is a reference to the markings on the keys - the four keys are usually marked with an arrow symbol or triangular shape, pointing in the direction that key represents.

The arrow keys on a standard computer keyboard, in their traditional layout.

Layout[edit]

On a standard QWERTY or AZERTY keyboard, as well as many other types of computer keyboard, the arrow keys are typically an equal size, and are laid out in a standard pattern: a row of three keys, with the down arrow key in the centre, and the left and right arrow keys placed on the appropriate side adjacent to this key. Above this row, the single remaining key - the up arrow key - is placed, centred above the row such that it is directly above the down key. This layout is sometimes nicknamed the "tetromino" pattern, due to the resemblance of the shape to a tetromino; or the "Tetris" pattern, in reference to the Tetris series of games, because such a tetromino is a common occurrence in the games, and a similar shape is also used in the Tetris logo.

In other forms[edit]

Arrow keys are also occasionally seen on video game controllers and devices, but this is less common, as few such devices use single buttons for direction input - instead, alternate control systems are often used, such as joysticks or sliders; or, if buttons are used, the directional input is usually facilitated by a single button that is capable of registering several directions. This is mainly to increase comfort and allow for greater precision or moment for the games.