Fun cluster

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A fun cluster is a term for a cluster of function keys together, often to the left side of the main typing area.

The term is more often used for named keys with dedicated functions than for general-purpose numbered softkeys.

Some keyboards have more than one cluster, with different functions.

Xerox Star

One of the earliest computer systems with a fun cluster was the Xerox Star, one of the earliest systems with a graphical user interface. Drag and Drop had not yet been invented, so named keys in the fun' cluster on the left were used together with mouse clicks to perform actions. There was also named keys on the top of the keyboard for formatting text.

Some actions of the keys in the function cluster are these days most often available as commands in context menus. For example, the "PROP'S" key opened a "Properties" dialogue-box for the selected object.

Early keyboards had a cluster on the left:

AGAIN DELETE
FIND COPY
SAME MOVE
OPEN Props

... and a cluster on the right:

SKIP
N
E
X
T
HELP UNDO
MARGINS
DEF'N
E
X
P
A
N
D
FONT STOP
KEYBOARD

Later keyboards omitted the right cluster for a numeric keypad, and the left cluster was extended and rearranged into:

STOP DEL
UNDO AGAIN
FIND COPY
SAME MOVE
HELP PROP'S

Xerox X998

Left cluster:[1]

FORMAT DEL
PROGRAM COPY
SEARCH MOVE
STORE RPLC

Right cluster:

MARK PARA PAGE
UND LINE ACCPT
SCROLL WORD
RVRSE CHAR STOP

Xerox Docutech

Left cluster[2]

STOP DEL
UNDO AGAIN
FIND COPY
SAME MOVE
OPEN PROP'S

Sun

Workstation keyboards from Sun Microsystems had several groups of function keys. On the Sun Type 3 the keys in a cluster on the left-hand side were labeled L1..L10, but they had often distinct uses in programs and stickers with names of them were available. Starting with the Sun Type 4 keyboard, the keys were named and a "Help" key was added. This continued with the Sun Type 5, Sun Type 6 and Sun Type 7 keyboards.

The fun cluster on a Swedish-layout Sun Type 5

On Sun Type 4 the Help key was at the bottom.

Stop Again
Props Undo
Front Copy
Open Paste
Find Cut
Help


On Sun Type 5 through 7, the Help key is above the cluster.

Help
Stop Again
Props Undo
Front Copy
Open Paste
Find Cut


PC keyboards

Several various keyboards have been made with named function keys in various locations, often intermingled with media keys. The most often used are Cut, Copy and Paste.

Kinesis Freestyle

The Kinesis Freestyle line has a 2×5 fun' cluster on the left-hand side. The right column keys have vertical homing bars on the right side.

⇦ Web ⇨ Web
Search Web home
Cut Del
Copy Paste
Menu Fn

With the Mac version having:

⇦ web ⇨ web
abc ⇤ abc ⇥
cut undo
copy select all
paste fn

In the Freestyle2 line, the Fn key and Menu key have switched places. On the Mac versions of the Freestyle2, the three keys Cut/Copy/Paste have switched places with the keys to the side of them, also putting the Fn key in the bottom/left corner.

See also

References

  1. Deskthority thread. Photos:Xerox X998. Posted 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  2. Deskthority thread Photos:Xerox Docutech Keyboards and Restoration (Alps SKCM Neon Green). Retrieved 2016-03-06