What Are Keyboard Function Keys Used For?


Quick Answer

The function keys, which are labelled as F1, F2, F3 and so on, up to F12, have different uses, depending on the operating system that is installed in a computer and the program that is active. Function keys are at times used with special keys such as Ctrl and Alt.

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Full Answer

F1 mostly serves as a help key; when pressed in most programs, it opens a help screen. In Windows, F2 renames a highlighted file, folder or icon. F3 often opens the search feature of many programs. In the Windows command line, it repeats the last command. On Apple computers running Mac OS X, F3 opens Mission Control.

F4 opens a find window in computers running Windows 95 to Windows XP. In Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer, it opens the address bar. F5 refreshes webpages in modern browsers. In most browsers, F6 moves the cursor to the address bar. F7 is used for spellcheck and grammar check in Microsoft Office programs such as Microsoft Word.

F8 accesses the Windows Safe Mode. F9 refreshes a document in Microsoft Word. F10 activates the menu bar of an open application in Windows. For computers running Mac OS 10.4 or later, F11 minimizes all windows. F12 opens the Save As window in Microsoft Word.

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