Definitions for tab key

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word tab key

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  1. tab key, tab(noun)

    the key on a typewriter or a word processor that causes a tabulation

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  1. Tab key

    Tab key on a keyboard is used to advance the cursor to the next tab stop. The word tab derives from the word tabulate, which means "to arrange data in a tabular, or table, form." When a person wanted to type a table on a typewriter, there was a lot of time-consuming and repetitive use of the space bar and backspace key. To simplify this, a horizontal bar was placed in the mechanism with a moveable lever stop for every position across the page. Initially these were set by hand, but later tab set and tab clear keys were added. When the tab key was depressed, the carriage advanced to the next tab stop. These were set to correspond to the particular column locations of the table, hence tab, being worked on. The tab mechanism also came into its own as a rapid and consistent way of uniformly indenting the first line of each paragraph. In many programming languages the escape code \t can be used to insert a tab character.


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