AskDefine | Define rubout

Extensive Definition

On computer keyboards, the delete key (sometimes shortened "Del"), should, during normal text editing, discard the character at the cursor's position, moving all following characters one position "back" towards the freed place. On Macintosh computers, however, the backspace key is called the delete key, while a separate key, also called delete and in the traditional location above the cursor arrows, serves as a forward delete key.
The delete key may generate the ASCII delete character, 7F hex (127 decimal), which reflects its history in 7-bit paper tape. If a character was punched erroneously, punching out all seven bits caused it to be ignored (or deleted). Unix retained the Delete key as the way to erase characters, while DOS/Windows used the backspace (0x08, or control-H) instead. The delete key may also be mapped to ESC [3 ~ which is the VT220 escape code for the "delete character" key.
On many notebook computer keyboards the key labeled Delete (sometimes Delete and Backspace are printed on the same key) serves the same purpose as a Backspace key. Othertimes, the Delete Key is in its original IBM notebook position of above and to the right of the Backspace key. Many laptops, to add keys on a non-standard size keyboard add rows of smaller keys above the Function Key line. On this line, the Delete Key is often the third key in from the right. On Apple Inc.'s line of laptops (notably the MacBook and MacBook Pro), the function of the delete key can be achieved by pressing the Fn key and the delete/backspace key.
Sometimes this desired effect is replaced by inserting "^H" (or, less frequently, "^?") instead. This is related to ASCII control characters for BS and DEL.
Also, the delete key often works as a generic command to remove an object (such as an image embedded in a document, or a file in a file manager).


See also

rubout in Czech: Klávesa Delete
rubout in German: Entf-Taste
rubout in French: Touche supprimer
rubout in Portuguese: Delete
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