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Why are the shift keys labelled f and g? - Printable Version

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Why are the shift keys labelled f and g? - Arnaud Amiel - 04-03-2004

As the subject says, I am wondering why on older HP calcs the shift keys are labelled f and g when the colour should be enough. And why f and g and not any other letters.

Thanks for enlightening me.


f(x) and g(x)... Maybe? (No text) - Brent - 04-03-2004


Re: Why are the shift keys labelled f and g? - Ben Salinas - 04-03-2004

This is just a guess, but perhaps they originally used f as "function" (which makes sense). So, when another function key was needed, the next letter was used. Or perhaps it is because f(x) and g(x) are the two most common function names used.

As far as not just having the color, that is probably for the manual writers and tech support people. It is probably easier, and faster, to say "f 3" rather than "mandarin 3"
Personally, I wish the 32sii had letters instead of arrows. I find myself referring to the shift keys by their location (top arrow) or their color (press blue 5) too much, especially when the two models of the 32sii have different colors. For me, it is just to hard to think that is the right arrow, that is the left arrow, even though the arrows make sense for the location of the key label (perhaps arrows were used for colorblind people. If you had 2 labels in different colors, it might be hard for those who are color blind to distinguish as to which shift key accesses which functions.

Just some thoughts,


Re: Why are the shift keys labelled f and g? - Karl Schneider - 04-03-2004

Arnaud --

I remember that this topic came up once before. Single letters offer convenient shorthand reference for the shift keys, instead of printing colored squares or printing "(yellow)".

"f" and "g" (and "h") are accepted mathematical notation for functions, and the shift keys generally offer access to additional functions. These letters also do not conflict with capital-letters A-E made available as program labels.

Models having only one shift key and (in some cases) also lower-case alphanumerics (41C*, most Pioneers) dispensed with the "f" notation.

Is the 16C the only one with both an "f" shift key and "F" for hexadecimal 15 and program label?

-- Karl

Re: Why are the shift keys labelled f and g? - J-F Garnier - 04-05-2004

f as function makes sense, because the HP65 used a f-1 (inverse function) key.

An other reason may be that first programable machines had A to E function keys, and f, g, h are a logical extension.
BTW, the HP67 was recognized as the only one to have A to (i) key labels ...


Re: Why are the shift keys labelled f and g? - David Smith - 04-05-2004

F is for Function. G then H were added later as the keyboard became more cluttered on the later models.