Have you ever looked at that top row of keys on your keyboard and wondered what they're for?
Those keys, that are labeled F1-F12 are referred to as Function Keys, and were mainly used back in the days of DOS.
Many programs in Windows extend the possibilities of shortcuts among the function keys by adding other keys in combination.
These function keys allow
users to perform some useful
shortcuts for computer programs.
The most commonly seen combinations are Shift
plus any of the function keys, ALT and a
function key, and CTRL and a function key.
Familiarizing yourself with these combinations
can come in very handy among Windows Applications.
The following is a brief description
of what all these function keys can
The F1 function key often will work
as a shortcut to bringing up the
help menu in many of the common
programs you will probably use. If
you press the F1 key while working
with the Windows Explorer open,
you'll notice that a Windows help
screen will pop up. If you are
working in any program and would
need to see or use the Windows help
screen, all you have to do is press
the Windows key, which is the key in
the bottom left row of keys on your
keyboard with the Windows logo on
it), press F1 simultaneously.
If you ever need to rename a file or
folder while working in Windows, you
can use the F2 key to do so. Simply
highlight the file or folder you
wish to change the name of, press
the F2 key, and the dialog box will
pop-up, allowing you to change the
name. After you change the name,
simply click outside the box or
press enter, and the name will
change. This function is identical
to what you do by right-clicking a
file or folder you wish to change
and selecting Rename.
In any Windows program, pressing the
F3 function key will open the Find
Files window option.
One very useful function key is the
F4 key. When in Windows Explorer,
pressing the F4 key will open the
Address bar, allowing you type in
the address of any website giving
you much quicker access. In
relation, if you press the ALT key
simultaneously with the F4 key, that
will close the current window you
are working in.
The F5 function key serves as the
refresh key. By pressing the F5 key
when browsing websites, it will
re-upload that current page to make
sure you are viewing the most recent
version of that particular page. The
F5 key also works in windows
programs to refresh your screen. For
many people, this can come in quite
handy. For example, if you are
viewing the contents of a disk, and
you need to insert a new disk,
instead of closing the screen out,
you can simply press the F5 key and
the screen will refresh, showing you
the contents of the most recently
Often times in many Windows
programs, pressing the F6 function
key will move the cursor from place
to place within the program,
enabling you to do so without the
use of a mouse.
In Windows programs, the F7 function
key does not have any predefined
functions. Some individual programs
may use the key, otherwise, you can
set your own function to the F7 key.
During your computers booting
process, pressing the F8 function
key will allow access to Safe Mode
start-up. Safe Mode is the
trouble-shooting mode, which starts
the computer using minimal drivers.
Like the F7 function key, the F9 key
does also does not have any
predefined function in Windows.
However, some individual programs
may use the F7 function key;
otherwise you may assign it to your
own functions, as described in one
of our previous articles.
In order to activate the menu bar in
most Windows programs, pressing the
F10 function key will do so.
Pressing the F10 key within the menu
bar will highlight the first choice
in the menu, allowing you to then
use the arrow keys to move up and
down the menu.
To view the full screen mode when in
Internet Explorer, pressing the F11
function key is a shortcut to doing
so. Pressing the F11 key will make
all visible toolbars disappear and
is usually used when you need to
view more information on the screen
at one time. Pressing the F11 key a
second time will restore you back to
the normal view.
The F12 function is just like F7 and
F9; it doesn't have any predefined
functions in Windows. Individual
programs may use it, or you may
assign your own function to these
Many programs in Windows extend the
possibilities of shortcuts among the
function keys by adding other keys
in combination. The most commonly
seen combinations are Shift plus any
of the function keys, ALT and a
function key, and CTRL and a
function key. Familiarizing yourself
with these combinations can come in
very handy among Windows
Applications. For example, in
Microsoft Word, highlighting any
text then pressing the Shift key
simultaneously with the F3 key will
change the highlighted text from all
caps, initial caps, to all
lowercase. Shift and the F7 function
key will open the Thesaurus command.
Since the functions of the function
key can differ between programs, it
often comes in handy to look at the
help menu to browse the list of
function keys and what they are used
Interested in working with us? Or have a question? Perhaps just want to say hello?