Microsoft could replace little-used key with a dedicated Office key on keyboards

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

The news comes from an internal Microsoft survey first spotted by prolific leaker WalkingCat. It appears the Office key would replace either the second Windows key on the right side of a keyboard or the dedicated Menu key, both of which are rarely used by most people.

The survey asks if the participant has tried a keyboard with the Office key on a PC running the Windows 10 May 2019 Update version 1903, and how Microsoft could improve the experience.

There’s mention of its shortcuts—Office key + O, T, W, X, P, D, N, Y, and L—which presumably launches Outlook, Teams, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc., and whether users would like to see extra shortcuts added, such as Office key + S to share a document.

Respondents are asked to rate the Office key concept out of five and whether they would like to see it appear on a laptop.

Whether people would get much use out of a dedicated Office key is open to debate, but in some cases it will probably be used more often than the secondary Windows key or Menu key. This is still classed as a concept, so we’ll have to wait and see if Microsoft decides it’s something users want.

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Capaill

TS Evangelist
Personally I use the right Windows key to lock the computer with one hand. I don't think I've ever found a use for the Menu key.
But I agree with m4a4, having a dedicated Office key is way too specific. A remappable key where you can pick from a list of products or click a button to select your own might be much more useful (such as a calculator or Administrator command prompt). Even better if they go full macro or open a list of shortcuts.
 

IAMTHESTIG

TS Evangelist
No thanks.

I actually do use the menu key, though it is rare. I use it if I'm having issues with the mouse or touch, or for repetitive tasks that require a right-click.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
On my home computer, I use Word Perfect; even the version that I have being about 4 major revisions back, is far more capable than office, especially Word, ever was. Word, IMO, is made specifically to type one page memos and nothing more. Word Perfect, on the other hand, could easily be used for writing a book and publishing it myself.

So a key like this would be useless to me. On my work computer, I use office but having something like this as the primary key for a shortcut sequence seems redundant. That's what the task bar, desktop, or start menu entries are for.
 

Vrmithrax

TechSpot Paladin
Why not just harness the Fn key on many modern keyboards (and most laptops) already? It's got a few hard-coded media and system functions assigned to it, typically, but that's about it. Make it a configurable tool where you can remap Fn+{key} commands to launch commands, and call it good.

Why go through the extra trouble of repurposing and remapping keyboard layouts, when there are suitable solutions already available? Other than a massive sense of narcissism and raging ego that wants your special logo on everything in the world, that is...
 

mailpup

TS Special Forces
On my home computer, I use Word Perfect; even the version that I have being about 4 major revisions back, is far more capable than office, especially Word, ever was. Word, IMO, is made specifically to type one page memos and nothing more. Word Perfect, on the other hand, could easily be used for writing a book and publishing it myself.
I use WordPerfect too. I was first introduced to it at work but later most work offices were switched to Word. Word was installed on my work PC but I kept WordPerfect and continued to use it.
 

TsVkK

TS Booster
Don't think I've ever used the secondary Windows key, so whatever.

Then again I don't use MS products so I'll also never use anything they change it to.

(unless they make it spawn intelligent penguins that attack objects on the screen)
 

DwayneAK

TS Rookie
It'd be pretty obnoxious to accidentally hit a key that can open a program, especially one like Office that uses a fair amount of resources and takes a bit to open. At least make it a combination of keys...or better yet just leave it alone.
 
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amghwk

TS Guru
Why not make the menu key to act as the co-shortcut office key once the office products are opened or when it's window is active?
 

gc757

TS Member
I use a keyboard that has 18 programmable keys... And I use them ALL! So my reply is make the change programmable for whatever we the users want to use it for. Thanks for the consideration.
 

deemon

TS Addict
The key is little used because it hasn't been on ANY of my keyboards in last 5-10 years. It's already replaced by keyboard manufacturers by FN key or something such.