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What are Function keys? Explain F1 to F12

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If you are using a PC, either a desktop computer or a laptop, you may found these function keys on your keyboard. If you don’t know what are they and why they are on the keyboard, you came to the right place to know.

Here on this page you’ll find

  • What is the function key?
  • What function keys (F1 to F12) are used for?
  • Function key shortcuts
  • And their brief history

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What is a Function key?

A function is a key on a computer keyboard that performs specific functions in a computer. They are 12 in total. Based on the usage, a function key can perform various actions like screen brightness, tab refresh, BIOS access, etc.

Keyboard and mouse
Keyboard and mouse

You can see 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.

If you are looking for the gaming keyboard, this RGB keyboard might be the best thing for you.

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 in Windows 10

The function keys working completely depend on the design of an Operating System. Though we have various Operating Systems, the Windows 10 OS is the most common thing we are using in computers.

In Windows 10 OS, you’ll get security updates every month. It is improving privacy and security for your data to avoid dangerous data thefts like Ransomware attacks and others.

We use the function keys in Windows 10 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 the 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, then press F1.

It can also used for other functions like…

  • In Excel, Alt + Shift + F1 will create a new sheet
  • Check the grammatical mistakes in your writing with key Ctrl + F1
  • In some computers, F1 is used to access BIOS setup

How to access BIOS setup on your PC? Click here to find.

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 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 a 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, this 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 feel not ok.

Let’s see the other functions of 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 know by the shortcut Alt + F4 used to shutdown a PC. Not only shutdown, you can choose any option in the list like Sleep, Hibernate, Lock, Restart, etc.

Remember, use this shortcut key Alt + F4 on desktop to get shutdown options. If you use it in a running app, the app will get closed.

  • Display shutdown options on 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 for 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 Navigation panel, disk drives, forward and backward buttons, etc. The Tab button 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 F7 key, you can find the 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, click here to find.
  • 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, it is not solved even after troubleshooting, then the safe mode is the right thing to choose.

Access BIOS setup utility on your PC.

You can use this function key for 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 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 e-mail 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 F10 key, you can increase the brightness of your laptop or desktop screen.

And finally, it is also used as BIOS accessing key for some computers.

F11 – Maximize your screen

If you are reading this on your computer, press 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 on some computers.

F12 – BIOS key

The F12 is used in various situations. In fact, it has high 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 leads to open the HTML file. If you are a programmer, this thing is useful for you.

Why the function keys are only 12?

The outdated computers have around 16 to 20 function keys. But IDM comprises them into 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, HP are like 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.

Conclusion :

In some professional works, the keyboard is the most useful component in a computer. And it is also one of the compulsory computer components lists.

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