User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

We are trying to map how a user will see key presses for custom hotkeys. However, there is some debate which I cannot find a standard for:

How to display the number pad keys:

  • num1, num2, numPLUS, etc
  • ???

I prefer the second option as all caps is being used for all other keys, and the NUMPAD is easier to understand than num

So, I am taking the discussion here. Is there a standard I am missing?


We have a hotkey UI that shows the user the keypress actions that will occur:

ie. When they press Shift and 7 we display "SHIFT + 7"

But, the number pad keys on a keyboard are mapped to a different keycode, so we cannot tell the user that if they press the 7 on the numberpad that it is SHIFT + 7, because in reality it is SHIFT + 7 (NUMPAD)

share|improve this question
Can you elaborate, I cannot understand what you are trying to say. – rk. Jun 12 '13 at 15:40
@rk. Added, let me know if that helps clarify – Justin Pihony Jun 12 '13 at 15:46
Do you mean something like: "How do you refer to the number-pad keys in a way that users understand?". It's a terminology thing really. – JonW Jun 12 '13 at 15:53
@JonW Yes, it is mostly a terminology thing. But, also a consistency thing. If we go with all caps for everything, then going with lowercase num to display a difference in key location does not seem valid to me. – Justin Pihony Jun 12 '13 at 15:56
Distinguishing between numpad numbers and typewriter key numbers is going to be confusing. If you could have both sets of number keys have the same semantics it would be less confusing. – obelia Jun 12 '13 at 16:21
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Unless you are using acronyms or using titles, I would advice against the use of all upper case words. Look at the keyboard shortcut listings from Apple (OSX) and Windows (8).

I agree with your argument that numpad is easier to understand than num, it reduces the mental step of mapping num acronym to its full word.

Shift + 7(Numpad)

Also, if the keyboard has a symbol associated with the numpad then you can consider using that. enter image description here

You can make a legend for your own shortcuts, Num for Numpad and then use the shorthand notation. Num7

share|improve this answer
Thanks, we came to the same conclusion on Numpad. I will pass on the advice on uppercase and leave it to our designer along those lines – Justin Pihony Jun 12 '13 at 16:30
Also, I cant edit your answer, but you have a rather unfortunate misspelling in your Shift+7 that needs fixed :) – Justin Pihony Jun 12 '13 at 16:31
@JustinPihony That's what the user said ;) – rk. Jun 12 '13 at 16:33

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.