Shift

Shift key1. A keyboard key that allows a user to type a single capital letter. For example, pressing and holding the shift key while pressing the letter a key would generate a capital A. In the picture to the right, is an example of what this key may look like. On US keyboards the shift key is the second largest key located on both the left and right-hand of the keyboard, below the caps lock key, and Enter or return key.

Tip: Unlike the other modifier keys the Shift key is also found on Apple computer keyboards and performs the same function as the PC computers. With Apple keyboard shortcuts, the shift is represented as an up arrow, similar to that shown in our example picture.

In addition to changing the case of the text, the shift key is also used with shortcut keys. For example, holding down the shift key and pressing your arrow keys will highlight text in the direction of the arrow key you press.

Note: With early TeleType machines the shift key was used to get the characters on the top row of a key, there was no upper and lower case characters.

Related pages

2. Shift is a Microsoft command line command that changes the position of replaceable parameters in a batch program. Additional information about this command found on our shift command page.

Also see: Keyboard, Keyboard terms, Modifier key, Uppercase