Author: Collins Okoth
Thursday, November 26, 2020

What are the F1 through F12 keys?

Category: Windows 10

The F Keys have always remained a mystery to many regular computer users. The truth is, several basic computer tasks can be achieved without using these F Keys. However, for a relatively experienced or advanced computer user, these F keys become essential in their daily use. They are known to offer essential shortcuts that eventually increase your efficiency while operating a computer. 

So what exactly are F Keys? The F keys are also known as Function Keys. They are often found at the top of the keyboard, usually aligned in F1 to F12 on most keyboards. They are usually used to perform shortcut functions on the computer, such as printing data out, saving files, and closing programs quickly. 

The F1 key, for instance, is often reserved as the Help Key in many programs. However, different types of Keyboards, Operating Systems, and Programs do not respond to these keys as usual. This means that spending on the type of Keyboard you have and the Operating system you are using, some of these function keys may perform different functions.


It is essential to note that you need to press the Fn Key and the Function Keys you want to use to work on some computers.

What are the F1 through F12 keys?

What are the Different Function Keys and their Functions? 

  • F1

The F1 Key is majorly known for its quick help function. The Key is often used to fire up the Help page of any active program. For example, on a Windows 10 PC, F1 Key will open up and load the Windows 10 Help Page. 

The F1 button can also display or hide the ribbon menu in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. To achieve this result, you have to press the F1 button together with the Control Button. 

F1 button can also be used to enter the CMOS Setup. However, this is mostly applicable to relatively older computers. To access the CMOS Setup, you can press the F1 key during the booting up process. 

Finally, if you are running Microsoft Office, the F1 button can access the Task Pane. By pressing Ctrl+F1 on the Keyboard, you will access the Task Pane. The Task Pane can also be accessed by clicking on the View Option and selecting Task Pane. 

  • F2

The F2 Key can be used on some computers to enter the CMOS Setup, just like the F1 key. For example, during the booting process, pressing F2 will fire up the CMOS Setup. 

F2 Key is also unused in Microsoft Excel to edit an active cell. 

Also, the F2 button can be used in combination with other Keyboard Keys to perform different tasks. For instance, Alt+Ctrl+F2 can be used in Microsoft Word to open a new document window. Similarly, in Microsoft Word, the Ctrl+F2 combination is used to fire up the Print Preview.

F2 is also used to rename a selected file or folder in Windows. Once you select a file or folder, pressing the F2 key will allow you to rename it quickly. However, sometimes this fails, and this is as a result of a hardware or software issue

  • F3

The F3 Key usually serves as a shortcut to the search box in most computer software. For example, in both Firefox and Chrome browsers, the F3 button is used to launch the Find feature. In Windows Explorer, it also activates the Search box, allowing you to search a file or folder in a specific directory quickly. 

However, in some Windows PCs, the F3 button is used to add brightness to the screen. Therefore, you have to press and hold down the Fn key in these computers before pressing the F3 button to activate the search bar. 

Additionally, in the Microsoft Word environment, pressing Shift + F3 permits you to switch between lowercase to uppercase. 

 For more advanced users who use the command line, the F3 key can repeat the immediate command. 

  • F4. 

What are the F1 through F12 keys?

If you are running Windows 95 or Windows XP, the F4 button can open the Find Window. Also, pressing the F4 key is used in Windows computers to Open the Address bar in Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer. 

The F4 button can also be used in combination with the Alt key to close any active program in Microsoft Windows operating system. Similarly, you can press the Ctrl + F4 to close tabs in the active window. 

  • F5

F5 has several functions around the Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office package. For example, the F5 key fires up the Find and Replace tool in Microsoft office. It is also used to start a slideshow in Microsoft Powerpoint. 

When used on internet browsers, the F5 key refreshes the current active webpage by reloading it. It can, however, reload a document window as well. 

Also, the F5 key can be used in combination with other keys. For instance, in modern browsers, pressing the Ctrl + F5 key will automatically reload the page. The difference between pressing F5 and pressing Ctrl + F5 on a modern browser is that Ctrl + F5 will reload the pages by first clearing all the cache before downloading entirely new content again. 

  • F6

The F6 is arguably one of the function keys with the least number of functionalities. For example, in Microsoft Word, a combination of Ctrl + Shift + F6 is used to open a new Microsoft document. Additionally, in most Windows computers, the same F6 button can add the volume of the computer. 

When you are on an internet browser, like Chrome, Mozilla, or Microsoft Edge, the F6 button is used to move the cursor to the address bar. 

If you are working on a split screen on Microsoft Word, the F6 button can move to the next split screen.  

  • F7

In Microsoft Word, you can use the Keyboard shortcut, Alt + F7 key to launch the spelling and grammar checking tool. Also, to open the Thesaurus in Microsoft Word and perform a Thesaurus check on a highlighted word, you can press the Shift + F7 keys. 

If you are on the Mozilla Firefox browser, you can press the F7 key to turn on Caret browsing. 

Depending on your computer, you will have to press the Fn key before pressing the F7 key for the above functions to work. Otherwise, the F7 key may be the same key used to reduce or increase your laptop volume. 

  • F8

F8 is the function key that is commonly used to access the Windows startup menu. It enables the safe mode in Windows operating systems. When you press F8 when the computer is booting, you will access the Safe Mode.

Also, the F8 button can be used in Microsoft Excel. It typically extends mode for the arrow keys. 

In some computers, the F8 key can be used to gain access to the Windows recovery system. However, in some cases, this can only work when the Windows Installation CD is inserted. 

In Microsoft Word, the F8 button has several combinations to perform different tasks. For instance, Shift + F8 will shrink the selection in Ms. Word. Ctrl + F8 will allow you to select the size command in the document control menu, while Ctrl + Shift + F8 will extend the block or selection. Alt + F8 command will typically run a Macro. 

  • F9

The F9 key has a broad range of functions across the Microsoft Office suite. For example, in Microsoft Word, the F9 function key can be used to refresh a document. An empty field is inserted into the word document when you use the Ctrl + F9 combination in Microsoft Word. 

On Microsoft Outlook, the F9 key performs an entirely different function; it is used to send and receive emails. 

On some computers, this button can be used to reduce screen brightness as well. The F9 button can also be used on Quark 5.0 to launch the Measurements toolbar.

  • F10

What are the F1 through F12 keys?

The F10 key is usually used on Compaq, sony, and HP computers to access the hidden recovery partition. This, however, does not work on all computers. 

Additionally, it can be used to access the CMOS Setup on selective computers. To achieve this, you press the F10 key when the computer is booting up. 

You can also use the Shift + F10 key combination to achieve the same effect as right-clicking on an Internet link, file, or Icon. 

In Microsoft Windows, the F10 key can activate or fire up the currently active application menu bar. 

  • F11

The F11 function key can be used on all modern internet browsers to exit the full-screen mode. It can also be used on specific computers, such as Lenovo, Gateway, and eMachines, to access their hidden recovery partitions. 

There are a few keyboard combinations that involve F11. For instance, the Ctrl + F11 combination usually works on Dell computers during the booting process. In addition, it can be used to access the hidden recovery partition. 

  • F12

The F12 has several functions on Windows and Microsoft Office. For instance, in Microsoft Word, the F12 key is used to open the Save As option. Other than that, many F12 functions are achieved by a combination of keys. 

The Ctrl + F12 combination will open a new document in Microsoft Word. Also, to save a Word document, you can press Shift + F12, although this is an unpopular combination since most people use the common Ctrl + S combination. 

When you use Microsoft Expression Web, you can use the F12 key to preview a page. Also, you can press F12 to launch a browser debugging tool or firebug. This, however, is an advanced feature that Web developers often use. 

Finally, pressing the F12 function key can be used to access the entire list of bootable devices. However, this is only possible during the booting process. This allows you to choose from the available bootable devices. Possible bootable devices can be DVD drives, floppy drives, USB drives, CDs, Networks, or hard drives. 


The function keys are vital for regular computer operators. They allow experts to issue commands to programs much faster, increasing their speed and efficiency. In addition, some of these combinations eliminate the use of a mouse, which is always considered a slow device. 

If you master most of these keyboard combinations that involve function keys, you will significantly increase your speed while operating a computer. 


Creator Profile
Joined: 11/12/2019

ver: 20231031T141653