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What are the differences between the ‘return’ and ‘enter’ button on the keyboard

What are the differences between the 'return' and 'enter' button on the keyboard
Keyboards have two similar keys, but with different functions: Return and Enter.

Complete computer keyboards have two keys with similar designs and very similar functions, however, they do not have very marked differences and their history follows different paths, which explains why they are located there. We talk about ‘return’ and ‘enter’.

These buttons are on devices that include a numeric keypad, ‘enter’ is located there with a vertical and narrow layout, while ‘return’ is in the main part and bears this name on desktop computers. Manzana; and in windows it has an inverted L layout and is also called ‘enter’.

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Keyboards have two similar keys, but with different functions: Return and Enter.
Keyboards have two similar keys, but with different functions: Return and Enter.

History of Enter and Return

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Return has its origin in electric typewriters, where pressing it executed the carriage return (CR) command that was born in old devices and was done with a lever to move down a couple of lines in order to start a new paragraph.

What this button did was prevent the person from manually paragraphing and instead moved the carriage, the set of rollers that holds the paper you’re writing on, back to the start of a line. To that he added the action of turning the roller so that the paper slides and continues at the bottom.

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While the Enter key is a little more recent, because it was born for the first computers with a screen with the idea of ​​differentiating the carriage return action and sending the information. Additionally, this button served as the ‘equal’ sign (=) for mathematical operations that were performed with the numeric keypad, hence its location on the side.

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Keyboards have two similar keys, but with different functions: Return and Enter.
Keyboards have two similar keys, but with different functions: Return and Enter.

Differences today

This story already gives a glimpse of why these buttons coexist on the keyboard, despite having similar functions today, since many of those tasks were grouped together for both cases.

With the advancement of technology and computing, these two keys can be the same and different at the same time. In the case of windows It will be the developers of the applications or platforms that can mark these differences, since the Return can serve as the same and the Enter to go down to the next paragraph.

An example is what happens in some programs of microsoftoffice Y Adobe, in which both keys are treated differently depending on the context. The button in the main section works as a carriage return to go down to the next paragraph, while the one in the numerical section is “accept” and send data.

The reason for this equality of characteristics is that the system of Microsoft gives both keys the same execution code, which in this case is 13, but with the caveat that it can be reported from different locations.

Quite the opposite of what happens in Mac. There the codes are different: 36 for Return and 76 for Enter. Although there is a shortcut to make the first work like the second: pressing the Fn button and then Return will act in the same way as the other, something that can be very useful for those who do not have a numeric keypad or are not used to using it.

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