The function keys on a computer keyboard labelled F1 through F12, are keys that have a special function defined by a currently running program or by the operating system. They can be combined with the Ctrl or Alt keys.
On some laptop computers and smaller keyboards, the F-keys may have a dedicated function such as the volume, changing the brightness of the screen, or other device-specific functions. On such keyboards, there is typically a separate Fn key that you can hold down to indicate that you want to use the key as a standard function key. For example, on the MacBook Pro laptop, the F12 key’s primary function is to increase the audio volume. If the key is pressed while the Fn key is held down, the key will register as F12, and trigger any software functions that are configured to use this key.
If you would prefer not to press the Fn key to access your function keys, you can configure the keyboard to treat them as regular function keys in your System Settings or Control Panel.
Below is a listing of some of the more common functions of the functions keys for Microsoft applications and Microsoft Windows, as well as some for macOS. As mentioned above, not all programs support these function keys, and the function keys on the keyboard may perform different tasks than those mentioned below.
Used as the help key in almost every program, it opens a help screen when this key is pressed.
Enter the CMOS Setup.
Windows Key + F1 opens the Microsoft Windows help and support centre.
Open the Task Pane.
In Microsoft Windows, renames a highlighted icon, folder or file, in all versions of Windows.
In Microsoft Excel, it edits the active cell.
Alt+Ctrl+F2 opens document window in Microsoft Word.
Ctrl+F2 displays a print preview window in the Microsoft Word.
Quickly rename a selected folder or file.
Enter the CMOS Setup.
Often opens a search feature for many programs, including the Microsoft Windows.
In Windows or MS-DOS command line F3 will repeat the last command.
In the Microsoft Word Ctrl+F3 will lowercase any highlighted text.
Shift+F3 will change the text in Microsoft Word from upper to lowercase or a capital letter at the beginning of every word.
Windows Key + F3 opens the Advanced find window in the Microsoft Outlook.
In Windows Explorer, start the search function.
Open Mission Control on an Apple computer running macOS X.
Open the address bar in the Internet Explorer and the Windows Explorer.
Alt+F4 closes program window currently active in the Microsoft Windows.
Ctrl+F4 closes the tab in the active window or open window in Microsoft Windows.
In all modern Internet browsers, pressing F5 will reload or refresh the document window or page.
Ctrl+F5 forces a complete refresh of a web page. It clears the cache and downloads all contents of the page again.
Refresh the list of contents in a folder or a file.
Open the find, replace, and go to the window in the Microsoft Word.
Starts a slideshow in PowerPoint.
Move the cursor to the address bar in Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and most other Internet browsers.
Ctrl+Shift+F6 opens to another open Microsoft Word document.
Commonly used to spell check and grammar check a document in Microsoft programs such as Microsoft Outlook, Word etc.
Shift+F7 runs a Thesaurus check on word highlighted.
Turns on the Caret Browsing in Mozilla Firefox.
The function key is used to enter the Windows startup menu. It is commonly used to access the Windows Safe Mode.
Used by some of the computers to access the Windows recovery system, but may require a Windows installation CD.
Displays a thumbnail image for all workspaces in macOS.
Refresh document in the Microsoft Word.
Send and receive e-mail in the Microsoft Outlook.
Opens the Measurements toolbar in Quark 5.0.
With macOS 10.3 or later, displays a thumbnail for each window in a single workspace.
Using the F9 and Fn key at the same time opens Mission Control on an Apple computer running macOS X.
In Microsoft Windows, it activates the menu bar of an open application.
Shift+F10 is the same as the right-clicking on the highlighted icon, Internet link or file.
Access the hidden recovery partition on HP, Compaq and Sony computers.
Enter CMOS Setup on some computers.
With macOS 10.3 or later, shows all open Windows for the active program.
Exit and enter fullscreen mode in all modern Internet browsers.
Access the hidden recovery partition on eMachines and Lenovo computers.
With macOS 10.4 or later, hides all open windows and shows the desktop.
Open the Save as a window in the Microsoft Word.
Ctrl+F12 opens a document in the Word.
Shift+F12 saves the Microsoft Word document (like Ctrl+S).
Ctrl+Shift+F12 prints a document in the Microsoft Word.
Preview a page in the Microsoft Expression Web.
Open browser debug tool or Firebug.
With an Apple running macOS 10.4 or later, F12 shows or hides the Dashboard.
Access the list of bootable devices on a computer at startup, allowing you to select a different device to boot from hard drive, CD or DVD drive, USB drive, floppy drive and network).