Throughout this guide (and many other sources around the net) a small set of standard notations are used to describe keyboard commands, command placeholders, and command options. These notations and differences between Macintosh and Windows conventions are described below:
- Keyboard commands. Keys with multi-letter names are shown with their name in angle brackets:
<esc> Press the <esc> key <ctrl>-c Hold down the <ctrl> key and press ‘c’
- Placeholders. Sometimes it is necessary to describe a command that includes a portion that should be filled in by you. For example, to subscribe to most mailing lists you send their server a command consisting of the word “subscribe” followed by the list name that you wish to subscribe to. The list name to be filled in by you is shown in angle brackets:
Therefore, to subscribe to a list named “gardenlist” you would enter:
- Options. Square brackets are used to designate an optional part of a command that can be included or not at your discretion. For example, in the following command used by several applications, the optional switch “-all” can be included or discarded depending on whether you want the default statistics or a more complete listing.
If you do include an option then the square brackets are dropped, so that the actual use of the above command would be:
- Macintosh & Windows. Throughout this site the following naming conventions apply to use of the two main desktop platforms:
- Substitute the <apple> key for <ctrl>.
- Substitute “right-click the mouse” with “hold down the mouse key for a few seconds”.