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Microsoft Testing New Office Key

Credit Microsoft

Microsoft appears to be testing out a new “Office key” on their in-house keyboards. This new key sports the Office logo and seems to replace the existing Menu key - the often overlooked key nestled between the Function and Alt keys. According to the prominent Microsoft leaker @WalkingCat, Microsoft sent a survey to testers who were using a keyboard with the Office key running on a May 2019 update of Windows 10. Questions included if the users had tried any of the Office-based shortcuts, if they enjoyed using the key and if they would want to see it implemented on a laptop.

Microsoft appears to be looking for even more ways in which to integrate their software with their hardware, as the advent of a dedicated Office key could come as a welcome addition for  power users. The value of this key would likely be determined by how and if one uses Word, Powerpoint, Excel and other Office programs. Currently, the Menu key languishes on the keyboard of many PC users, while third party manufacturers have sometimes switched it out for function keys of their own.  

If Microsoft goes through with the proposed changes, the keyboards will presumably debut on Microsoft’s own peripherals or Surface laptops and 2-in-1s. It’s unclear whether or not this modification will make any difference to most PC users, though it does seem like a solid attempt at updating the keyboard for those locked into the Office Suite.

When reached for comment, a Microsoft spokesperson said that the company "doesn’t respond to rumors or speculation."

Updated June 18, 3:35 p.m. ET with comment from Microsoft.

  • velocityg4
    I wouldn't really want a dedicated key for Office. The idea would be much better if it was open to all programs. So, that whatever program is in the foreground can have it's own menu pop up when the key is pressed.

    The only time I ever used the menu key was for right clicking when I had to use an old one button Apple mouse. While waiting for a replacement.
    Reply
  • Mr5oh
    I use the menu key fairly regularly, keeps me from having to reach for the mouse so often for certain things, even in Linux. Can we stop changing keyboards. I can't stand laptop keyboards and multimedia keyboards where I need to hit a function key to make F1-F12 work.

    I definitely agree that we don't need vendor, or worse yet application specific keys on keyboards.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    Mr5oh said:
    I use the menu key fairly regularly, keeps me from having to reach for the mouse so often for certain things, even in Linux. Can we stop changing keyboards. I can't stand laptop keyboards and multimedia keyboards where I need to hit a function key to make F1-F12 work.

    I definitely agree that we don't need vendor, or worse yet application specific keys on keyboards.
    Agreed! I use this key all the time, for everything. anything I want, tap the windows key and start typing, bam, found it, if they change it I will be uber po'd
    Reply
  • Urzu1000
    I wouldn't be opposed to a standardized key or two as a dedicated macro or "hook" key for different applications... I think it's good that they're to replace something like the Menu key, since I'm yet to meet anyone in person who even knows what that key is/does. It's basically obsolete with mice.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    you just met one here, and all of my coworkers use it all the time, it's the fastest way to find things in windows, if you aren't using it, you are doing windows WRONG

    nobody needs an office key, useless garbage. i can already make macros for that, but who cares or even needs that?
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Mandark said:
    nobody needs an office key, useless garbage. i can already make macros for that, but who cares or even needs that?
    And some people live in MS Office all day long, to the exclusion of anything else. Might be helpful for them.
    Reply
  • vern72
    Leave the menu key alone! Adding the Windows key was bad enough! I think it's a bad idea when they change hardware to specific software products.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    USAFRet said:
    And some people live in MS Office all day long, to the exclusion of anything else. Might be helpful for them.
    as long as they don't foist it on me and force me to deal with it, that's ok.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Mandark said:
    as long as they don't foist it on me and force me to deal with it, that's ok.
    "a new “Office key” on their in-house keyboards "

    Simple...don't buy a keyboard with this new Office key.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    i never will. i don't like any of their hardware... ever and will gladly stay away from it.
    Reply