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SS Small Key Model.png
Small Key from Skyward Sword
Game(s) All
Cost(s) 80-100 Rupees (TLoZ)
Use(s) Unlock doors, blocks, and Treasure Chests
Comparable Item(s) Small Keys
Dungeon Keys
Boss Keys
Boss Door Objects

Keys are recurring items found in dungeons of every The Legend of Zelda game. They are necessary for advancing through locked doors. Keys can be obtained through a variety of different puzzles, such as defeating all the enemies in a room, activating a switch, disarming a trap, or simply found in plain sight or inside Treasure Chests. Once a Key is used, it disappears from Link's Inventory.

There are three different types of common Keys: Small Keys, Boss Keys (which grant access to the dungeon's boss room), and Dungeon Keys (needed to enter their respective dungeon).

Types of Keys

Small Keys

MM3D Small Key Icon.png

Small Keys are featured in many Zelda games. They are the most frequently encountered Keys in the games, with most being rewarded after completing a dungeon's puzzle. Exclusive to The Legend of Zelda, Small Keys could also be purchased from Merchants and be used in any dungeon. Small Keys are used to open locked doors and key blocks. In every Zelda game, except for The Legend of Zelda, they can only be used in the dungeon where they are found.[1]

In certain games, the Compass is able to reveal the location of or otherwise notify Link the presence of Small Keys. In Link's Awakening and the Oracle games specifically, a tone is sounded upon entering a room containing a hidden Key.[2]

In Four Swords Adventures and Tri Force Heroes, Small Keys appear as objects that can be picked up, like Pots or stones. A Link must carry the Key to its keyhole, and will drop it if he takes damage. If the Key falls into a pit, quicksand, or water, it will reappear in its initial spot. Some enemies, such as Karat Crabs and Key Bandit Poes in Tri Force Heroes, will attempt to take the Key from the Links, in which case they must be defeated, stunned, or otherwise avoided in order to progress.

Boss Keys

MM3D Boss Key Icon.png

Boss Keys are one of the three standard dungeon items, the other two being the Compass and the Dungeon Map. They are also called Big Keys in A Link to the Past, The Wind Waker, The Minish Cap, and Twilight Princess,[3][4][5][6] and are specifically known as Nightmare Keys in Link's Awakening.[7] They are generally harder to find and used to open the big door leading to the boss' chamber. In A Link to the Past, Big Keys are also necessary to open the Treasure Chests containing a dungeon's special item, and doors unlocked by the Big Key may not necessarily lead directly to the boss.

In Twilight Princess, the Big Key from the Goron Mines had to be put together by obtaining the three Key Shards from the Goron Elders. In Snowpeak Ruins, the Big Key is replaced by the Bedroom Key, as said dungeon is actually the mansion residence of Yeto and Yeta.

In Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, Link must carry the Boss Key in his hands rather than inventory, making him unable to attack and vulnerable to attacks.[8] In certain instances in Spirit Tracks, the key is electrified and Link must have Zelda possess a Phantom in order to carry it for him.

Dungeon Keys

Dungeon Keys allow access to a dungeon. Not all dungeons in games that feature Dungeon Keys require a Dungeon Key to open. Alternatively, Dungeon Keys are specific to which dungeon they open.

Earth Temple Key.png

Other Keys

Great Keys.png

In Four Swords, Great Keys are special Keys given to the Links upon completing a mission. They are required to unlock the final mission in the game, as well as to unlock bonus content.

Phantom Hourglass featured three Keys needed to open special doors spread across the islands of the World of the Ocean King: the Sun Key, the Ghost Key, and the King's Key.

Boss Door Objects

Main article: Boss Door Objects

In Skyward Sword, Boss Door Objects are a special type of Keys with unique three-dimensional structures. The objects must be rotated until they glow gold, indicating that it is in the correct orientation. These objects are then inserted into the lock and the door opens automatically.


TMC Forest Minish Artwork.png Names in Other Regions TMC Jabber Nut Sprite.gif
Language Name
Key Door Key Small Key Big Key
Boss Key
Japanese link= カギ (Kagi)
Spanish link= Llave pequeña (ALBW) Gran llave (ALBW)
link= Llave (OoT3D) Llave pequeña (LA, OoT3D, MM3D, OoX, FSAE, PH, SS) Gran llave (LA, PH, OoT3D, MM3D, ALBW)
Llave del jefe (OoX)
French French-speaking countries Clé Petite clé Grande clé
Clé du Boss
Grande clé (ALBW)
French link= Clé (OoT3D) Petite clé (OoT3D, MM3D, FSAE, PH, SS, ALBW) Grande clé (OoT3D, MM3D, PH, ALBW)
German link= Schlüssel Kleiner Schlüssel (ALBW) Großer Schlüssel (ALBW)
Italian link= Chiave Piccola Chiave (ALBW) Grande Chiave (ALBW)


Small Keys

Boss Keys

Boss Door Carvings

Dungeon Keys

Other Keys

See Also


  1. "You found a Small Key! This key will open a locked door. You can use it only in this dungeon." — N/A (Ocarina of Time)
  2. "You've got the Compass! Now, you can see where the chests and Nightmare are hidden! This Compass has a new feature — a tone will tell you if a key is hidden in a room when you enter!" — N/A (Link's Awakening)
  3. "You got the Big Key! This is the master key of the dungeon. It can open many locks that small keys cannot." — N/A (A Link to the Past)
  4. "You got the Big Key! Use it to gain entrance to the room where the dungeon's boss lurks!" — N/A (The Wind Waker)
  5. "You got the Big Key! Use it to open big doors!" — N/A (The Minish Cap)
  6. "You got the big key! Use it to gain access to the lair of this dungeon's boss!" — N/A (Twilight Princess)
  7. "Eh? It's locked! You can open the door with the Nightmare Key." — N/A (Link's Awakening)
  8. "You must carry the Boss Key overhead as you traverse the dungeon to the Boss Key block. While holding the key, you cannot attack or defend yourself." (Phantom Hourglass Official Game Guide (Prima Games), pg. 14)

Items in The Legend of Zelda Series

TLoZ Logo.pngAol logo.pngALttP logo.pngWind Fish's Egg.pngOcarina of Time.pngMajorasmask.pngOracle of Ages - Harp of Ages.pngRod of Seasons.pngFS logo.pngWind Waker.pngFourSword Artwork.pngTMC Ezlo Artwork.pngMidna Icon.pngThe Phantom Hourglass.pngSpirit flute.pngFi Icon.png