The shift key is a key on a computer keyboard. It is used to type capital letters (like this: "ABC") instead of lowercase ("abc").
The shift key is also used to type with keys that have more than one symbol on them, such as the number keys and those for punctuation marks. In this case it is used to type the "upper" characters, that is, the symbol that appear above the other. The symbol below does not need the shift key to be pressed. On an English keyboard, these are some of the characters that need the shift key to be pressed down in order to type them:
- the parentheses "(" and ")" are on the same keys as the numbers 9 and 0
- the question mark "?" is on the same key as the slash "/"
- the exclamation point "!" is on the same key as the number 1
- the colon ":" is on the same key as the semicolon ";"
The way the shift key works is that it needs to be held down while the other key is pressed. Because of this, there are usually two shift keys, on the left and right sides of the keyboard, and they are held down using one of the little fingers while the other finger presses the other key.
Instead of using the shift key, one can also use the caps lock or shift lock keys. This lets one type many uppercase letters at once without having to hold down the shift key all the time.