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12 October 2019 07:50

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Microsoft has dedicated Office and emoji keys on its new keyboards

Washington DC [USA], October 11 (ANI): If you buy Microsoft's latest keyboards, using emoji will be easier as they now include dedicated Office and emoji keys. According to The Verge, the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard comes with the dedicated Office key that replaces the right-hand Windows key. It also serves as a shortcut to launch Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. The emoji key will launch the emoji picker inside Windows 10. However, users won't be able to create shortcuts.

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The Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard is priced at USD 59.99 and a smaller, Bluetooth Keyboard is priced at USD 49.99. The new keyboards will be available starting October 15th. (ANI) Both keyboards are priced under $60, probably making them the go-to choice for most Microsoft keyboard buyers. Credit: Microsoft Microsoft is finally launching two keyboards with new, dedicated shortcut keys for Office and Windows 10's emoji menu. Both the $59.99 Microsoft Ergonomic KeyboardRemove non-product link as well as the $49.99 Microsoft Bluetooth KeyboardRemove non-product link have shown up on Microsoft's site, though they won't be available for purchase until October 15.

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Microsoft already has a line of"Surface" keyboards to go along with its Type Covers, as well as a similar Sculpt Comfort keyboard, too. The implicit point Microsoft seems to be making with its new keyboards are that these will be the mainstream keyboards most users should buy. Microsoft Microsoft's new Ergonomic Keyboard. Microsoft previously floated the idea for an Office key earlier this year, while Toshiba had announced plans for a Cortana key in 2015 that didn't go far. It doesn't look like the Office shortcut will be an "open" shortcut key, able to be remapped.

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Instead, it will be a fixed-function shortcut. (We'd guess that it will launch the Office app by default.) [Further reading: Best wireless keyboards: Hand-tested reviews of Bluetooth and USB models] The emoji shortcut may prove to be even more popular. Currently, Windows 10 users can open the emoji window by typing WIN and the semicolon (;) keys at the same time. The emoji window has been enhanced to now include kaomoji, which include more complex representations, such as ╰(*°▽°*)╯. The emoji key can't be reassigned on the Bluetooth Keyboard, but can be reassigned on the Ergonomic Keyboard, though just to the application key.

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It appears that the Ergonomic Keyboard will also allow the "favorite" and media keys to be reassigned using the Mouse and Keyboard Center software, while the Bluetooth keyboard's keys will not. Microsoft The new Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard. The Ergonomic Keyboard is a wired, USB 2.0 keyboard that's roughly the same dimensions as Microsoft's existing ergonomic keyboards. It's far cheaper than the $129.99 Surface Keyboard, however, which is slightly smaller and also wireless. Microsoft's Bluetooth Keyboard, however, runs on a Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0/5.0 connection, and is powered by a pair of AAA batteries. Both keyboards are designed for Windows 10, as the emoji and Office keyboard shortcuts won't work on Windows 8 or 7. In a sea of Surface announcements, Microsoft has quietly released a brand new range of keyboards with some unexpected button options. The new line of keyboards includes the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard and the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard, and they feature dedicated Office and emoji keys. Related: All you need to know about the Surface Pro 7 The emoji key is represented by a teeny tiny smiley face. Hitting this button will cause an emoji picker to pop up on your screen, though, according to The Verge, you won't actually be able to assign your most-used emoji to the key or incorporate it into a shortcut. Sad face. For the slightly more professional user, the Office key will replace the right Windows key and offer a quick route to launching the Office for Windows 10 app. From there, you can browse the productivity suite and choose which Office programme you want to open. For power users (and those of us who don't feel like following two steps to open PowerPoint) the Office key can also be used as a shortcut. Holding the Office key and W will open Microsoft Word, for example, while holding the Office key and X will open Excel. The Ergonomic Keyboard is designed to reduce wrist fatigue or injury with a slim design, cushioned palm rest and split keyboard. The Bluetooth Keyboard provides a more traditional looking wireless option with Swift Pair-enabled Bluetooth and a battery life of up to two years. This isn't the first time an Office key has been spotted on a Microsoft keyboard – the company actually began testing the feature earlier this year. That being said, Microsoft has yet to provide a design licensing agreement for the Office key the way it has for the Windows key so it isn't clear whether the new buttons will be a permanent fixture for Microsoft's hardware at this moment. Related: Surface Laptop 3 release date, price and specs The Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard and the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard will be available in stores from October 15. The Ergonomic Keyboard will set you back $59.99, while the slimmer Bluetooth Keyboard is a little bit cheaper at $49.99. The accessories can also be pre-ordered right now from Microsoft.com, although it is still unclear whether the new emoji button will make its way to the UK, with no mention of the new line on Microsoft's UK store. Staff Writer Hannah joined Trusted Reviews as a staff writer in 2019 after graduating with a degree in English from Royal Holloway, University of London. She's also worked and studied in the US, holding positions … Microsoft's latest keyboards now include dedicated Office and emoji keys. The software giant was previously experimenting with an Office key on keyboards earlier this year, and now the company is launching a new Ergonomic and slim Bluetooth Keyboard that include the dedicated button. The Office key replaces the right-hand Windows key, and it's used to launch the Office for Windows 10 app that acts as a hub for Microsoft's productivity suite. You can also use the Office key as a shortcut to launch Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. Office key + W opens Word for example, while Office key + X opens Excel. Alongside the Office key, there's also a new emoji key on these new keyboards. It will launch the emoji picker inside Windows 10, but you won't be able to assign it to a specific emoji or even create shortcuts, unfortunately. An emoji key on a new Microsoft keyboard certainly seems unusual, but the company is really targeting this new hardware at businesses where Office is prevalent and emoji use is increasingly on the rise. While Microsoft is pushing these new Office and emoji keys, it's not clear whether other third-party keyboards will ever adopt them. Most keyboards ship with the dedicated Windows key, and Microsoft has a licensing agreement in place for the use of the Windows key to ensure the appearance is the same everywhere. Microsoft has not yet revealed a similar licensing program for its new Office key. Microsoft quietly launched these new keyboards at the company's Surface hardware event last week, but they'll be available in stores on October 15th. The Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard will be priced at $59.99, and includes a fabric palm rest and is wired to a PC via a USB port. Microsoft's smaller Bluetooth Keyboard is priced at $49.99, and it has Bluetooth 5.0 support with up to 3 years of battery life. In brief: After it started experimenting with the idea earlier this year, Microsoft has now included dedicated Office and Emoji keys on its latest keyboards. Back in June, an internal Microsoft survey suggested the company would replace the second Windows key on the right side of its keyboards with a dedicated office key. Now, the firm's plans are coming to fruition through its new Ergonomic and slim Bluetooth Keyboards. The key launches Microsoft's Office for Windows 10 app, from where users can access the company's suite of productivity software. It can also be used as a shortcut—hitting the Office key along with O, T, W, X, P, D, N, Y, and L will launch Outlook, Teams, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. Another new dedicated key is for adding Emoji, which are becoming more accepted in office and business environments. While users can't assign specific emoji or shortcuts to the key, it will open an emoji picker inside of Windows 10. We still don't know whether keyboards beyond Microsoft's will start using dedicated Office/Emoji keys. As noted by The Verge, the company has a licensing agreement in place for the use of the Windows key to ensure product uniformity. The keyboards will be available on October 15. The ergonomic version, which includes a fabric palm rest, is priced at $59.99, while the smaller Bluetooth keyboard (Bluetooth 5.0 support and up to 3 years battery life) is priced at $49.99. All images courtesy of The Verge