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What's the best way to describe a keyboard shortcut in a question? For instance, if I'm talking about a shorcut that consists of the Ctrl and the + keys pressed together.
Should I describe it as Ctrl++ (style used in ubuntu's "keyboard shortcuts" window), C^+ (emacs style), or something else?

I tried using angled brackets (< and >) around each key, but I think the editor treated them as html formatting.

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Ctrl++ is probably the most understandable. To make it:

<kbd>Ctrl</kbd>+<kbd>+</kbd>

I think Emacs formatting would confuse a lot of Ubuntu desktop users.

Also, unless you're specifically referring to the +-only key on the number pad, it's probably a good idea to write Ctrl+Shift++. (Edit: See Marcel's point below.)

For keyboard shortcuts in a question title, it looks like the Ctrl++ form is most commonly used. While this form has more potential for ambiguity, it's probably best to clutter titles as little as possible and let your question clarify the meaning.


On a side note, if you ever need to type inequality signs you can use the HTML entities &lt; and &gt; to type < and >, respectively.

And one more thought: It should go without saying, but, for everyone reading this, please don't abuse the <kbd> tag.

  • Ok thanks. Any suggestion for the question title? – Malabarba Sep 10 '10 at 15:26
  • Updated with my recommendation for question titles. – ændrük Sep 10 '10 at 16:15
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    Regarding writing Ctrl+Shift++ for the Ctrl++ shortcut: Please do not do this! You may need the shift key to get a + on an US keyboard layout but this is not true for many other layouts (e.g. German). Ctrl++ should be clear for everyone. – Marcel Stimberg Sep 13 '10 at 13:53

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