I was watching a Linux tutorial where the keystrokes where displayed. I cannot identify the key matching this:


What key is it?

Edit: It is from this tutorial.

  • It could be the mouse "back" button. It's definitely not a key on an actual keyboard unless it is the backspace being translated to some "back" or some such. – Mokubai Jun 10 at 10:28
  • It was a vim tutorial, so it is a keyboard key – Sylario Jun 10 at 10:29
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    Does this answer your question? Weird symbols for key combinations on a Mac – Russell Borogove Jun 11 at 2:10
  • In a sense, but I would never had guess it was a mac symbol. – Sylario Jun 11 at 9:49
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    It can't be a dupe, because this question is not about Mac. It's merely 'coincidental' that two OSes use the same standard, internationally-accepted symbol ;) – Tetsujin Jun 11 at 11:57

It's 'Broken Circle with Northwest Arrow' Unicode U+238B UTF-8 E2 BE BB

It's often used as the symbol for the Esc key - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esc_key#Symbol and even has its own ISO Standard - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ISOIEC-9995-7-029--ISO-7000-2029--Symbol-for-Escape.svg

It seems symbols like this are mainly used by Apple. They are all valid unicode. It enables menu shortcuts to be displayed easily, e.g.

enter image description here

After many comments on the topic, I doubt Apple were instrumental in the adoption of this symbol, they merely started using it once it was. Menus used to use the older

glyph back in the day.

  • 56
    Well TIL. In nearly 30 years this is the first time I've ever seen that symbol. – Mokubai Jun 10 at 10:42
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    I've been in IT for 30 year and have been messing with computers for longer. I have never seen that symbol used for Esc. – Tonny Jun 10 at 10:47
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    I love the range of answers there that go from "I don't know why Apple use this non-standard symbol" (which according to your Wiki is standard as it's even got an ISO number) to "It's the escape key, you know the one on the top left of your keyboard with Esc written on it" with no explanation of why there is some silly symbol for it... Good old Apple, simplifying things in the most complicated and obtuse ways possible. – Mokubai Jun 10 at 11:06
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    Apple has symbols for everything;) They're usually printed on the keyboard & can be displayed in menus. ⌘⇪⌥⌃⌫ etc. All are valid unicode. Windows only seems to have the 'Windows' & 'Menu' keys with symbols… neither of which are Unicode characters as far as I can determine. – Tetsujin Jun 10 at 11:14
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    @Tonny yeah, my first response to "It's often used as the symbol for the <kbd>Esc</kbd> key" was "often used by whom? Certainly not me, and I've been using computers for 40 years. – RonJohn Jun 10 at 19:51

It is a symbol used for Escape on some Apple inspired keycap sets for computer keyboards. For example Drop Biip

enter image description here

The symbol appears on some commercial keyboards, such as the Matias Tactile Pro 3

enter image description here

It's also an ISO standard

ISO 7000 - 2029
Standard : ISO 7000 — Graphical symbols for use on equipment — Registered symbols
Committee :ISO/TC 145/SC 3ICS : 01.080.20

⎋ Escape

Reference No : 2029
Registration date : 2004-01-15
Status : Active

Title/Meaning/Referent : Escape Function/description : To identify the control to cancel the current action or exit from the current state.

This symbol is part of collection(s)
ISO 7000 Graphical symbols for use on equipment
ISO 7000 / IEC 60417 Graphical symbols for use on equipment

Restricted application : No
User population :
Orientation Dependent: No
Referenced in : ISO/IEC 9995-7, ISO/IEC 13251, ISO 3767-1, ISO 6405-1


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