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MacBytes
Mar 22, 2009, 07:45 PM
http://www.macbytes.com/images/bytessig.gif (http://www.macbytes.com)

Category: History
Link: How we got the “Command” symbol (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20090322204502)
Description:: I was in need of the "command" ⌘ symbol for a top secret project today, and not knowing the proper Unicode combo by heart, I fired up the old character palette to copy it. While there, I noticed that while all the other symbols had the expected names (”Erase to the Left”, “Upwards White Arrow”, etc.) that for some reason, Apple was calling our beloved “Command Symbol” “Place of Interest Sign” instead.

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

brad.c
Mar 22, 2009, 08:47 PM
I learn something interesting yet ultimately useless every day.

Galley
Mar 22, 2009, 10:07 PM
Doesn't every self-respecting Mac geek already know the origin of the Command key symbol? ;)

Watabou
Mar 22, 2009, 11:57 PM
Interesting. I should be ashamed that I didn't know this fact :p

Good thing we don't have apples all over the menus though. I like the command key. That's another reason to thank Steve Jobs. hahaha

notjustjay
Mar 23, 2009, 10:45 AM
I remember when it used to be "open apple" and "closed apple" keys...

SwiftLives
Mar 23, 2009, 10:56 AM
I've finally trained myself to start saying "Command+Q" instead of "Apple+Q."

That wasn't an easy thing to do.

IJ Reilly
Mar 23, 2009, 11:58 AM
We learned here just recently that this symbol is called a "Bowen Knot."

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=668809

zephead
Mar 23, 2009, 12:17 PM
Heh, I'm a little ashamed to admit that I didn't know that. I always thought it came from a "cloverleaf" interchange.

http://img187.imageshack.us/img187/700/picture107u.jpg

Tallest Skil
Mar 23, 2009, 12:20 PM
Aahh... screw the Bowen Knot. :p Screw the Option key, too. Bring back both the Open and Closed Apple keys! :D

nagromme
Mar 23, 2009, 01:34 PM
Don't get me started on the Option-key symbol. Madness! Why even HAVE a symbol if it's not marked on the keyboard?

RedTomato
Mar 23, 2009, 04:05 PM
When I changed to Apple from Windows, donkeys years ago, that was one of the hardest things for me to get used to. The way that all the meta keys had names different from what was printed on the key was really frustrating.

Even now, when I train people to use the office macs, it's still embarrassing.

"Yeah, press the Option key to do that. Sorry I know it's not marked on the keyboard. Yeah it says 'Alt' on the key, but it's not actually called Alt."

"You're looking for the Apple key? Yup it's the key without an apple, but with some strange symbol that I can't really describe in words."

If Apple were willing to risk ridicule and go for a mouse with only one button in the name of ease of use, why not SORT OUT THE BLOODY META KEYS!

We've suffered for 20 years. Enough.

michael.lauden
Mar 23, 2009, 04:15 PM
wow that's pretty cool! and yeah with the fn, control, option and command keys on my MacBook... it was a little hard to memorize the symbols at first haha

Skeletal-dæmon
Mar 24, 2009, 01:16 AM
When I changed to Apple from Windows, donkeys years ago, that was one of the hardest things for me to get used to. The way that all the meta keys had names different from what was printed on the key was really frustrating.

Even now, when I train people to use the office macs, it's still embarrassing.

"Yeah, press the Option key to do that. Sorry I know it's not marked on the keyboard. Yeah it says 'Alt' on the key, but it's not actually called Alt."

"You're looking for the Apple key? Yup it's the key without an apple, but with some strange symbol that I can't really describe in words."

If Apple were willing to risk ridicule and go for a mouse with only one button in the name of ease of use, why not SORT OUT THE BLOODY META KEYS!

We've suffered for 20 years. Enough.

Actually this is something really odd I have noticed with Apple.

In Europe, the meta keys on the MacBook (or any Apple keyboard for that matter) are marked, in order; fn, ctrl, alt, . Since I cannot stand the fiddly two-line return key Apple puts on its European keyboards, I always choose the US keyboard on my Apple products (albeit at the expense of the printed £ key but I'm used to it now). The US keyboards actually have the meta key names written on them thus; fn, control, option, command.

Why Apple does this I always put down to the fact that printing control, option, and command in each language would be fiscally daft when a universal symbol (^, ⌥, ⌘) will suffice.

Hope that salves your peev a little.

winmacguy
Mar 24, 2009, 01:23 AM
I've finally trained myself to start saying "Command+Q" instead of "Apple+Q."

That wasn't an easy thing to do.

I have always done that although when working with people not familiar with the Command key I just say its the Apple logo key plus what ever other key to perform the required command.

eastercat
Mar 24, 2009, 09:25 AM
Why Apple does this I always put down to the fact that printing control, option, and command in each language would be fiscally daft when a universal symbol (^, ⌥, ⌘) will suffice.
I still don't have ^, ⌥, ⌘ memorized. :eek: So I'm glad the American keyboards still have the names.

Rocketman
Mar 24, 2009, 09:58 AM
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3074/3016774326_1145582af6.jpg

shamino
Mar 26, 2009, 09:05 AM
Don't get me started on the Option-key symbol. Madness! Why even HAVE a symbol if it's not marked on the keyboard?... printing control, option, and command in each language would be fiscally daft when a universal symbol (^, ⌥, ⌘) will suffice.
Agreed, but if they are going to print the text on English keyboards, they should put the symbol as well. It is confusing to newbies when a symbol appears in a menu and that symbol doesn't exist on the keyboard.

WRT Jobs not wanting to use the Apple logo, I always found that amusing. The Apple //c and //e used an Apple logo for this key. Actually two - a hollow "open apple" and a solid "closed apple". Those symbols appeared all over menus on Apple II software - even text-based apps like AppleWorks.

I guess this is just another Jobs-vs-Woz style thing.

RedTomato
Mar 27, 2009, 06:09 AM
In Europe, the meta keys on the MacBook (or any Apple keyboard for that matter) are marked, in order; fn, ctrl, alt, . Since I cannot stand the fiddly two-line return key Apple puts on its European keyboards, I always choose the US keyboard on my Apple products (albeit at the expense of the printed £ key but I'm used to it now). The US keyboards actually have the meta key names written on them thus; fn, control, option, command.

Not quite. I have a British macbook (with the £ symbol - I think Euro-land macbooks have the euro mark there instead), and the keys are marked:

fn, ctrl, (alt / ⌥), (cmd / ⌘)

The last two keys have both markings. I don't know why Apple bothers to mark 'alt' as I've never seen the word used in their recent documentation - they always call it 'option'.

Still peeved.

Why Apple does this I always put down to the fact that printing control, option, and command in each language would be fiscally daft when a universal symbol (^, ⌥, ⌘) will suffice.

Doesn't make sense. Apple creates completely different keyboards, layouts and markings for each language it sells to. German, French, Japan, etc, all have radically different keyboard layouts and characters, so why not also print these words in the relevant language? It's a tiny cost on top of l8n and i18n.

Agreeing on a consistent terminology and symbology would be a start.

MikeTheC
Mar 27, 2009, 11:55 PM
Yeah, but then, fellow Mac users, one day you see...

THIS!!!
http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/9913/commandinwindows01.png

And then you realize what size cojones Microsoft, BillG and UsedCarSalesmanSteve really have...

.Andy
Mar 28, 2009, 12:00 AM
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3074/3016774326_1145582af6.jpg
Is this iceland Rocketman? I came to post that all over iceland the "command" symbol is indeed the "place of interest" sign.

edit: iceland is the most beautiful place on earth.

LoganT
Mar 28, 2009, 12:33 AM
Command over Ctrl is one of the main things that will probably keep me with mac. Command+ letter for everything makes a lot more sense than Ctrl+ for everything. I switched to mac in August 2007 and quickly got used to using command for most keyboard shortcuts. It just makes sense to me, so much that I hate the way Windows does it.

MikeTheC
Mar 28, 2009, 01:30 AM
Command over Ctrl is one of the main things that will probably keep me with mac. Command+ letter for everything makes a lot more sense than Ctrl+ for everything. I switched to mac in August 2007 and quickly got used to using command for most keyboard shortcuts. It just makes sense to me, so much that I hate the way Windows does it.
And here's the heck of it. What is it you use the Control key for in other operating systems? To send commands!!! So, if you issue commands with a keyboard shortcut, doesn't it follow that the modifier key being used is, in fact, more properly termed a "command" key?

I dunno, maybe it's just me...

LoganT
Mar 28, 2009, 02:32 AM
CMD+Q makes a lot more sense than Alt+F4
CMD+C/V for Copy/Paste makes a lot more sense than CTRL+C/V for Copy/Paste

On apple you use your biggest finger (the thumb) to hit the command key on Windows you use your weakest finger (the pinky) to hit the control key.

It honestly breaks my flow of typing.

shamino
Mar 28, 2009, 08:14 AM
I don't know why Apple bothers to mark 'alt' as I've never seen the word used in their recent documentation - they always call it 'option'.
For compatibility with apps from other operating systems. On PCs (and most workstations) that key is labeled "Alt". If you launch a PC app (via BootCamp or a virtualization system) or an X11 app, you may see "Alt" in the UI.

Of course, it still doesn't explain why the symbols used by Mac apps for Ctrl and Option don't appear on US keyboards.
And here's the heck of it. What is it you use the Control key for in other operating systems? To send commands!!! So, if you issue commands with a keyboard shortcut, doesn't it follow that the modifier key being used is, in fact, more properly termed a "command" key?
For most non-trivial apps, you tend to need both anyway. Extra modifier keys are usually not a bad thing, as long as you don't go completely overboard.

Microsoft has their "Windows" and "menu" keys. Sun has open- and closed-diamond keys, etc.

And if you're being pedantic, why call the key "option" when it's usually used for typing accent marks and foreign characters. Workstation keyboards usually have a dedicated "compose" key for that.
CMD+Q makes a lot more sense than Alt+F4
FYI, Alt-F4 is not "quit". Alt-F4 is "close the window". This will only quit an app if it's the app's last window. A better analog to Alt-F4 would be CMD-W.
CMD+C/V for Copy/Paste makes a lot more sense than CTRL+C/V for Copy/Paste
That's not nearly as annoying as the keys Microsoft/IBM used for these functions before they started mimicking Apple's shortcuts: Ctrl-Ins for copy, Shift-Del for cut, and Shift-Ins for paste.

It's sort of intuitive, but not nearly as comfortable to type.

rfruth
Apr 1, 2009, 07:13 PM
165284

winninganthem
Apr 2, 2009, 01:41 AM
Very interesting lol. Thanks :p

trevor k
Apr 2, 2009, 11:54 AM
FYI, Alt-F4 is not "quit". Alt-F4 is "close the window". This will only quit an app if it's the app's last window. A better analog to Alt-F4 would be CMD-W.


Alt+F4 is quit, and Ctrl+F4 is close current window. Alt+F4 = CMD+Q and Ctrl+F4 = CMD+W

ie. If you have multiple tabs open in a brower, Ctrl+F4 closes that tab only, Alt+F4 closes the broswer entirely. If you have multiple excel files open, Ctrl+F4 closes that file only, Alt+F4 closes all the files. Same thing with PS.

That's not nearly as annoying as the keys Microsoft/IBM used for these functions before they started mimicking Apple's shortcuts: Ctrl-Ins for copy, Shift-Del for cut, and Shift-Ins for paste.


Maybe I'm too young but I don't exactly remember this but that would be a hassle, you're right.

shamino
Apr 3, 2009, 11:41 AM
Alt+F4 is quit, and Ctrl+F4 is close current window. Alt+F4 = CMD+Q and Ctrl+F4 = CMD+W

ie. If you have multiple tabs open in a brower, Ctrl+F4 closes that tab only, Alt+F4 closes the broswer entirely. If you have multiple excel files open, Ctrl+F4 closes that file only, Alt+F4 closes all the files. Same thing with PS.
With all due respect, this is not correct. I have developed Windows software for years and I know exactly what these keys do.

ALT-F4 closes a window. If your application has multiple windows open, only the active one is closed. If an application has only one window open, then it (usually) quits as well. Go try it on your favorite web browser. Open up a bunch of windows (not tabs) by typing Ctrl-N a few times. Now use Alt-F4 - it will close the individual windows, but the app won't quit until you close the last window.

Ctrl-F4 only has a standard definition for MDI (multiple document interface) applications - when the app consists of a single window with a single menu bar, containing sub windows that display document content. MDI is not used very often today, but some modern apps (like Excel 2003) still use it. For MDI apps, Ctrl-F4's standard behavior is to close one of the sub-windows. Alt-F4 closes the main window, which will only cause the app to quit if there aren't any other main windows open (which is often the case, since MDI apps usually don't give you the ability to open additional main windows.)

Compare and contrast Excel, which is MDI, with Word, which is not.

Uses of Ctrl-F4 for closing tabs in browsers is a logical extension of the MDI concept, but a very recent addition to the Windows UI standard (assuming the behavior is standard at all - which it may well not be.)