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Microsoft is adding Office and (for some reason) emoji keys to its keyboards

Microsoft ergonomic keyboard
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has a new range of keyboards on the way, and they have two additional keys for you to get to grips with. To the right of the space bar on the new versions of the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard and the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard you'll find dedicated Microsoft Office and emoji buttons.

The two new keys join the existing application/menu and Windows shortcut keys which have now become familiar to everyone, and they are likely to prove divisive – or at least one of them is. The Office key is not entirely new, as it has been seen on a handful of keyboards already, and provides an easy way to access Windows 10's Office apps.

In addition to this, the Office key can be used in conjunction with a second key to launch individual Office apps – such as [Office]+[W] for Word, and [Office]+[X] for Excel. While it could certainly be argued that the Office key is a helpful aid to productivity, the dedicated emoji key will probably split opinions.

An intriguing decision

The purpose of the emoji key is simply to call up Windows 10's emoji picker, which is currently accessible by pressing [Windows]+[.] or [Windows]+[;] simultaneously. It's certainly not a key that everyone will use, and the addition of such two such vastly differing new buttons – a genuine productivity enhancer and arguably rather more niche – is an intriguing decision by Microsoft.

According to The Verge, it won't be possible to use the emoji key for anything other than calling up the emoji picker. It would have been nice to have been able to 'type' a specific emoji with a keyboard shortcut. Maybe this will happen in future.

You can see the new dedicated buttons in the Microsoft Store where you can order the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard ($49.99 – about £40, AU$75) and the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard ($59.99 – about £50, AU$90). Both keyboards are due for release on October 15. ⌨️ 💸

Via The Verge