On your desktop PC or laptop, you may find these function keys on your keyboard. If you don’t know what they are and why they are on the keyboard, you came to the right place to find them.
Here on this page, you’ll find
- What is a function key?
- What function keys (F1 to F12) are used for?
- Function key shortcuts
- And their history
What is a Function key?
A function is a key on a computer keyboard that performs specific functions. There are 12 F-keys in the present-generation keyboard. Based on the usage, a function key can perform various actions like screen brightness, tab refresh, BIOS access, etc.
You can see the Logitech MK270 Keyboard. This is the one under my palm right now. It’s very good for bloggers or any other ‘type writing’ works. Though it is a Bluetooth working keyboard, it is not suitable for gaming.
My Logitech keyboard has special green keys that perform specific actions like volume control, PC shutdown, etc. So, what’s the need for function keys when we already have special keys?
The special keys are the optional keys given by the keyboard manufacturers, especially for some particular models. But the functional keys are the common keys that are available on every keyboard these days. And in features wise also, the function keys can easily beat the special keys.
Function Keys of keyboard
The function keys working completely depend on the design of an Operating System. Though we have various Operating Systems, Windows OS is the most common thing we are using in computers.
In Windows OS, you’ll get security updates every month. They improve privacy and security for your data to avoid dangerous data thefts like Ransomware attacks and others.
We use the function keys in Windows PC for various actions. And for better use, you need to know which key is used for your required action.
Let’s see the list of function keys (F1 to F12) and what they are used for.
F1 – Get help or support
The primary function of the F1 key is to help the user. When you use this key (F1 + Windows key), the Windows help page will open. If it is on a Chrome browser, the Chrome help page will display. However, when you want to know about the app that you are using, press F1.
It can also be used for other functions like…
- In Excel, Alt + Shift + F1 will create a new sheet
- Check the grammatical mistakes in your writing with the key Ctrl + F1
- In some computers, F1 is used to access the BIOS setup
F2 – Rename a file or folder
With the F2 function key, you can change the name of a file or folder. Just select the file and press the F2 button to do that.
- By using Alt + Ctrl + F2, you can open a new document in Microsoft Word
- In the same Microsoft Word, the Ctrl + F2 shortcut is used to preview the print
- It is also used to open the blue screen of a PC (BIOS)
F3 – Quick search button
If you want something to find out in a list or in a document or in a specific web page, the F3 key will help you. It reduces your strain and time to pick up your mouse and move the cursor to the search bar. For 1 or 2 searches, the mouse action is not a problem. But more than that, you may not feel ok.
Let’s see the other functions of the F3 key.
- When you are using a command prompt on Windows, the F3 key will repeat your last command line
- Ctrl + F3 shortcut will change the highlighted text to lowercase in Microsoft Word
- Text in Microsoft Word files will change from Upper to lower case with Shift + F3
- If you are using Microsoft Outlook, this shortcut Windows key + F3 is used for advanced search
F4 – Shutdown PC with Alt + F4
This is popularly known for the shortcut Alt + F4 used to shut down a PC. Not only shut down, but you can also choose an option in the list like Sleep, Hibernate, Lock, Restart, etc.
Remember, use this shortcut key Alt + F4 on the desktop to get shutdown options. If you use it in a running app, the app will get closed.
- Display shutdown options on the desktop with Alt + F4
- Use Alt + F4 to close the current application on your PC without a mouse
- Repeat the last actions in Microsoft Office.
F5 – Tap to refresh
Function key F5 will refresh the data on the page whether it is a file explorer or a browser.
- Refresh the page with F5
- With Ctrl + F5, the webpage on a browser will refresh completely (cache will remove)
- You can start a slideshow with this key in PowerPoint.
F6 – Select the page URL
You can select the page URL with this function key F6. It works in almost all the top browsers.
- F6 selects the URL in browsers. But in File Explorer, you can select different areas with this function key F6 like the Navigation panel, disk drives, forward and backward buttons, etc. The Tab button is also used for almost the same purpose.
- In some keyboards, this key is used to reduce volume. Mostly, this feature is available on laptops.
- If you want to open a file that already exists in Microsoft Word, use this shortcut Ctrl + Shift + F6
F7 – Caret browsing
With the F7 key, you can find grammatical mistakes in all Microsoft Office platforms.
- You can use the caret browsing feature in browsers. This is not available for all browsers. If you don’t know about caret browsing, here is a video guide.
- You can find synonyms and antonyms for your selected word with Shift + F7
F8 – Boot Windows to safe mode
If there is something wrong with your Windows Operating System, and it is not solved even after troubleshooting, then the safe mode is the right thing to choose.
You can use this function key for the Windows Recovery system
F9 – Reduce the screen brightness
The F9 key is used to adjust the screen brightness in a computer. This feature is not available for all keyboards. However, we can use this function on laptop keyboards.
It is also used to refresh a document in Microsoft Word.
With this function key, you can send and receive emails in Microsoft Outlook.
F10 – Activate the Menu bar
This key activates the menu bar of an application or software you are using.
In browsers like Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and others, the F10 key will highlight the menu section usually located at the top right (Three dot area).
You can access the hidden recovery files on some computers like Sony, HP, etc.
With the F10 key, you can increase the brightness of your laptop or desktop screen.
And finally, it is also used as a BIOS access key for some computers.
F11 – Maximize your screen
If you are reading this on your computer, press the function key F11 and see what happens.
Don’t think much, it maximizes the screen view. You can’t find close and minimize options until you press the F11 key again.
Ctrl + F11 shortcut is used to access the hidden recovery partition in some computers.
- Useful Read: How to measure a computer monitor screen?
F12 – BIOS key
The F12 is used in various situations. In fact, it has higher functioning features than other keys.
- The first and primary thing is, you can select the boot device with this key. And the Operating System present in the boot device will be installed on your PC.
- In Microsoft Word,
- You can open ‘save as’ with F12
- Ctrl + F12 to open a document
- Shift + F12 to save a document
- Ctrl + Shift + F12 to print
- In a browser, the F12 key opens the HTML file. If you are a programmer, this thing is useful for you.
Why are the function keys only 12?
The outdated computers have around 16 to 20 function keys. But IDM filtered them to 12. The other function keys are replaced with the names…
- Print Screen – F13
- Scroll Lock – F14
- Pause Break – F15
- Num Lock – F16
- / – F17
- * – F18
- – – F19
- + – F20
The companies like IBM, Dell, and HP are placing these function keys wherever they want on their keyboards. However, IBM solves the issue by placing them at the top of the keyboard in the most convenient way. Later all the other brands will follow this.
Hope you find something useful about the function of a keyboard.
In some professional works, the keyboard is the most useful component of a computer. I hope this list of function keys and their uses will help you in your work.
What function key do you use the most? Make a comment.