Arrow keys

Updated: 10/07/2019 by Computer Hope
Keyboard arrow keys

Alternatively referred to as cursor keys, direction keys, and navigation keys, the arrow keys are usually located in between the standard section and the numeric pad on computer keyboards. It is made up of four keys: the left arrow (back arrow), up arrow, down arrow, and the right arrow (forward arrow). The picture is an example of what the arrow keys may look like on your keyboard.


Some keyboards, such as the Microsoft Natural Keyboard, may arrange these keys differently.

Overview of a keyboard

In the picture below, the Saitek Gamers' keyboard shows where the arrow keys can be found. Also, the numeric keypad can function as arrow keys when Num Lock is turned off.

Arrow keys on computer keyboard

Where are my arrow keys?

The arrow keys are found between your keyboard and your keypad as shown in the picture above. For smaller keyboards and many laptop keyboards, the arrow keys may be moved below the Enter and the right Shift key. Also, some compact keyboards may move the arrow keys to the keypad and switch between the keypad and arrow keys by pressing the num lock key.

How are arrow keys used?

Below is a list of the most common reasons why someone may use the arrow keys on their keyboard.

  1. Move the text cursor on the screen to insert or remove text.
  2. Move from one cell to another cell in a spreadsheet. Using the right and left arrow keys moves between columns and up and down moves between rows.
  3. Use in combination with other keys for shortcut keys. For example, pressing the Alt key and the left arrow key in all browsers takes you back one page.
  4. Move a character in a computer game.
  5. Select text. For example, holding down the Shift key and pressing the arrow key in the direction you want to highlight text.
  6. Move the mouse pointer using the keyboard instead of the mouse.

Keyboard terms