According to W3C,

When the kbd element is nested inside another kbd element, it represents an actual key or other single unit of input as appropriate for the input mechanism.

The SU way of displaying nested kbds does, frankly, look like a key-inside-a-key:


  • meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1939/… related. Basically.. they know its the case, there's no real reason to fix it unless someone intentionally abuses it ;p
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 16:50
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    ........lolwut? The never used nested kbd element (e,g, <kbd><kbd>A</kbd></kbd>) looks like a nested key to me, just as it should... Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 20:24
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    While you may be right about what the standard says about tag semantics, nobody on any SE site would use them correctly anyway. How could we, given the limited HTML subset we get? I've been using <sup> and <sub> as a substitute for <small> for years here, because I have to.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Apr 18, 2013 at 8:39

1 Answer 1


Why would you "nest" keys in the first place? Keys aren't Russian Matryoska dolls.

Just do Ctrl + Alt...

I fail to see what the "bug" is about -- there are no "actual keys or other single units of input" that can't be expressed as <kbd>text here</kbd> + <kbd>text here</kbd>.

The nested keys is a funny concept that serves no practical purpose, but what would you have it do instead? Automatically add a plus sign that you could just type yourself? Remove the feature so it can't be used because it isn't normally used?

Also, just because I can, have a free tower as a token of my gratitude for posting this enlightening question:


  • W3C calls for such nesting of tags. I’m not nesting keys, I’m nesting tags.
    – kinokijuf
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 17:14
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    I don't understand what you want the software to do instead of what it already does. Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 17:44
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    I think the OP wants the rendering of a nested kbd tag to convey its actual meaning: pressing the key, not showing a key within a key. For example <kbd><kbd>Shift</kbd>+<kbd>F3</kbd></kbd> should be rendered like <kbd>Shift</kbd>+<kbd>F3</kbd> is rendered now.
    – slhck
    Commented Apr 18, 2013 at 12:19
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    @slhck Yeah the "what" of the question is pretty obvious, the "why" of it is a mystery.
    – Paul
    Commented Apr 18, 2013 at 14:10

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