Talk:Alt key

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Should it be called as "Alternate" or "Alter" key? preceding unsigned comment by (talk • contribs) 16 November 2005, at maybe 08:15 GMT

No/Neither. It's always been called the "Alt" key (rhymes with "fault"). PS: Please sign your comments. You can do this by typing four tildes, i.e. as ~~~~. —Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 08:55, 16 November 2005 (UTC)
But is Alt short for Altenrnative as in function? 16:40, 4 December 2005 (UTC)


I'd agree with the unsigned questioner above - I never heard it called the Alternative key before today! I think I even have an old 80's one-piece computer in the cupboard where the key is actually marked "Alternate"... (pronounced in the correct fashion, i.e. "alternate route", not as in alternating current) -Tahrey

To clarify, it is pronounced as the adjective and not the verb. Thus with vowel reduction is the unstressed syllable of the adjective, /ɔ:l'tɜ:nət/ compared to the verb /ɔ:l'tɜ:neɪt/. Some (especially North Americans) would also have the adjective stressed on the first syllable /'ɔ:ltɜ:nət/. (talk) 15:03, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

My father calls this "Alternate" also, being an old-schooler. I'll have a look in some old computer books for a source. --General Miaow Say Hello! 01:27, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

The international standard ISO/IEC 9995-2 calls this key unequivocally "Alternate". --Karl432 (talk) 22:37, 9 July 2012 (UTC)


From the article: "The alt key was originally used on a Windows keyboard in 1976."

The first IBM PC wasn't available until 1981. According to the Windows page Windows 1.0 came out in 1985. It seems possible that Alt was added to the PC keyboard in 1986, but I have no documentation to support this. --Tim Kemp 20:46, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

The Windows claim was obviously wrong, as the Alt key existed even on the original IBM PC keyboard and it was supported by the BIOS and DOS as well... ;-) (The AltGr key was added later.)
--Matthiaspaul (talk) 21:27, 17 June 2016 (UTC)


Do you think the Stub template "{{stub}}" or the Expand template "{{Expand}}". Belongs on this page please let me know by entering one line from the end of my dissusion, placing :, then beginning. Thanks Etineskid (talk) 23:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Broken Reference[edit]

The link is broken to recordpc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 18 October 2011 (UTC)


A correction suggestion for "Alt key clicked alone" (BTW, why do you call it a click?). In standard Ubuntu (with Unity) the Alt key pressed alone invokes the HUD for the focused window.