Super key (keyboard button)

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The Super key refers to several different keys throughout keyboard history. Originally the Super key was a modifier key on the Space-cadet keyboard. Recently "Super key" has become an alternative name for the Windows key when using Linux or BSD operating systems or software that originated on these systems.[1]

Knight Keyboard to the Space-cadet Keyboard[edit]

Tom Knight created both the Knight keyboard and the Space-cadet keyboard. The improvement from the Knight keyboard to the Space-cadet keyboard was the presence of two more modifiers for the bucky bits, Hyper and Super; the Super key modified the third bucky bit (representing a 4).[2] From the usage of the Space-cadet keyboard on Lisp machines the Super key was inherited by Emacs as one of several supported modifier keys, most modern systems have to emulate the Super key using another.

Linux and BSD[edit]

In most non-Windows operating systems the Super key is mapped to the Windows key and is the preferred term for that key.[3][citation needed]

In GNOME Super_L and Super_R are mapped to the left and right Windows keys respectively and are treated as modifiers.[4] Under GNOME 3 letting go of the Super key defaults to showing the activities window.

In Openbox[5] and KDE the Super key is an available modifier key but is not used in any default shortcuts.

Under Unity the key is used to control launcher and manage windows.[6]

OS X[edit]

Main article: Command key

In the OS X environment, the Super key is equivalent to the Command key.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ubuntu using Windows key(Super key) to Launch Gnome Main Menu". 13 March 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "MIT Scheme Reference - Characters"
  3. ^ "What the hell is SUPER key in that right side help?". CrunchBang Linux Forums. December 2008. Accessed 11 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Re: [Usability] Keyboard". 20 March 2007.
  5. ^ Help:Bindings - Openbox
  6. ^ List of Ubuntu Unity Keyboard Shortcuts. Ubuntu Geek. 1 March 2011.