Every modern keyboard that has a numeric keypad, at least that I can think of, has alternate functions printed on the keypad numbers, i.e.:

  • 0 is Insert
  • . is Delete
  • 7 9 3 1 are Home, Page Up, Page Down and End
  • 8 4 6 2 are the arrow keys

A numeric keyboard

Has the 5 key ever had an alternate function printed on it?

I'm mainly thinking about back in the midsts of computing history when all sorts of incompatible keyboards were made and featured no-longer used keys, like the Space Cadet:

Space Cadet Keyboard

(Note, I did find out that Java names the key "Begin". Has a physical keyboard ever used that inscription?)

  • 1
    I don't think it ever had any specific function being in the middle, but it'd perfectly fit as center key to go down exact half of page (of whole document) :)
    – user373230
    Nov 6, 2016 at 23:51
  • 2
    btw it actually had a function in the scope of certain applications such as old DOS games, I think you could fire with that key in game :)
    – user373230
    Nov 6, 2016 at 23:54
  • 1
    Not an answer, but related. The Gateway AnyKey keyboard had a blank key in the center of the arrow keys too -- it also had diagonal arrows also, so there were eight arrow keys total -- which it used as another spacebar by default, but it could be programmed to be something else.
    – Moshe Katz
    Nov 7, 2016 at 17:44

5 Answers 5


I looked at my library of images, and found two examples that seem relevant.


This is a Russian keyboard that seems to be using the numeric 5 for… something related to cursor manipulation. I am not sure what it does.


This is a Liteon SK-6000 keyboard with a trackpad built into it. It seems that the numeric keypad doubles as hardware “mouse keys”, with extra arrow keys and 5 labeled as “Click.”

  • Excellent keyboard images. "something related to cursor manipulation. I am not sure what it does." -- Plug it in and press it? :) I'm interested to know what the weird red arrows do.
    – Pod
    Mar 20, 2017 at 10:11
  • 1
    On Apple's System 6 (maybe earlier) and later it's the mouse click when you have Mouse Keys enabled in Easy Access.
    – mrjink
    May 2, 2017 at 13:24
  • Mouse keys still exist as of Windows 10, you just have to enable those. However, these make the numpad control the mouse either at all times or only when num lock is ON. This is still an OS-dependent feature and not a keyboard feature.
    – Domino
    Jan 25, 2019 at 14:38

There is an odd variant of USB numeric keypad, VZTEC VZ-UK2151, which had numeric key '5' as function key 'Tab'. See the following screenshot (bottom-left: enlarged image of the key) as proof.


That 5 key works same as Tab key. It also works in GNU/Linux, even not listed as supported operating system besides Windows and Mac OS X. The product was likely manufactured in 2011.


The special function "printed" on the '5' on the numeric key pad was (and still often is) a mark to recognize that key with your fingers without looking at it.


This should shed some light, hopefully.

The OMNI key on old Northgate Ultra keyboards had the same function as the 5 on the numeric keypad when numlock was OFF. I assume the scan codes are the same.

In Northgate's manual (from April 1992) on page 19 it indicates that OMNI key was used in Word Perfect (for DOS). So maybe we're a little closer to knowing how to make that work.

  • Sounds OMNImous. I wonder what it was used for? I guess it was a precursor to the Windows Key? Trawling through images of "Northgate Omnikey Ultra keyboards" I can't see anything actually printed on the 5 keyt other than a ..
    – Pod
    Aug 13, 2020 at 12:49
  • Well, it's saying the effect of pressing the OMNI key is the same effect as pressing the numeric pad 5 with Numlock off, and that WordPerfect was using that key. My next step is checking a WordPerfect manual from the early to mid-1990s. Aug 13, 2020 at 23:08
  • 1
    If WordPerfect could program that key for a different function back then, it should still be programmable to use for something else these days. The scan code should not have changed. Aug 13, 2020 at 23:23

Yes, it does function in hardware, the key generates a different scan code for the two number lock states, so programming languages and software that allows hot key functions to be set up can assign functions to the 5 key with number lock off.

  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Jul 27, 2022 at 9:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .