The shortcut the Apple menu reports for the Force Quit menu item is . (the last character is the one Unicode calls broken circle with northwest arrow.)

What key should I press to invoke the Force Quit menu item?

  • 9
    Truly one of the things that annoyed me most when I switched to Mac a few years ago was deciphering all of those symbols every time I wanted to learn a keyboard shortcut for something.
    – Ian C.
    Feb 19 '11 at 14:55
  • 1
    Everything that anyone needs to know about Mac key commands can be found in this question (part of this site's FAQ).
    – Dori
    Feb 20 '11 at 3:45

To be concise: the symbol you're asking about, the circle with the arrow escaping from it (that's the way I remember what it means), is the Apple way of saying 'The ESC Key'.

So the menu item ⌥⌘⎋ is option+command+esc pressed simultaneously.

  • Wow.. What a cool way to say "a circle with the arrow escaping from it." Jul 4 at 7:37

The Escape key.

I don't know why Apple use this non-standard symbol, but they always have...

Here is a full list of all of the symbols that Apple use.

  • 3
    For a full list of Apple key symbols, see here: docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.5/en/…
    – dan8394
    Aug 14 '11 at 3:10
  • 3
    "The key is indicated as a circle with an arrow through it (U+238B, ⎋) as defined in ISO 9995." (wikipedia) Sounds pretty standard to me. Aug 15 '11 at 11:18
  • 1
    I've never seen that symbol in use on a non-Mac system, but maybe I haven't been paying attention...
    – dan8394
    Aug 15 '11 at 12:06
  • 1
    My current MBP (early 2011) uses no symbol and reads "esc" on the Escape Key. If it was a standards, I guess Apple is abandoning it now for a wider the-facto standard. Aug 15 '11 at 18:44
  • 3
    It's a reasonably logical symbol for Escape, but for some reason I always think it means the power button. :-)
    – David
    Aug 18 '11 at 18:08

As an extension to Ian's answer, here's a list of all the keys:

Apple Special Key Symbols

As correctly pointed out by Ian, the ⎋ is the Escape key located on the upper left side of your keyboard.


It is the escape key (esc) it is on the top right or left corner of the keyboard


You can find a list of all the keyboard icons, terminology, and HTML entities over here on Meta . That icon is the Escape key. You can find it in the very top left-hand corner of your keyboard.

Escape key on a Macbook Pro

  • 1
    Most people know where the esc key is.
    – whoKnows
    Oct 25 '15 at 19:54
  • 2
    @whoKnows I'd rather give more info than not enough
    – daviesgeek
    Oct 25 '15 at 22:34

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