What do the Function Keys Do?

Function Keys

We’ve all seen the F1 – F12 keys on a PC keyboard, but how many of us actually know what each one does? We don’t really have a need to use the keys much any more, but they can provide you with some cool shortcuts! We’re here to fill you in on what each Function Key does.


The F1 key typically opens up the Help menu of the program you’re using, including the Windows desktop and Windows explorer, which bring up the Windows Help Screen. If you have a program open but would like to open up the Windows Help Screen, press the Windows key (a key with the Windows logo on towards the bottom left of the keyboard) at the same time as F1.

F2 Key
Pressing the F2 key while a file or folder is highlighted allows you to rename it.

F3 Key
The F3 key opens up the Search window, but can also be used in Microsoft Word to toggle the capitalisation of words and letters.

F4 Key
F4 opens the address bar on Windows Explorer as well as Internet Explorer. Pressing the Alt key at the same time as F4 closes the current program you have open – if no programs are open, it launches the Shutdown process.

F5 Key
F5 is the refresh key for Windows and most widely-used internet browsers, as many of you will know. You can also use F5 on Microsoft PowerPoint to start a slideshow.

F6 Key
F6 will often cycle you between windows. When using Internet Explorer or Firefox, pressing F6 moves the cursor over to the address bar.

F7 Key
The F7 key has no real use for Windows machines. For Microsoft Word, it brings up the Spelling & Grammar Checker.

F8 Key
Pressing F8 while you turn on your Windows machine boots the system into Safe Mode.

F9 Key
Like F7, the F9 key has no functionality for Windows.

F10 key
F10 highlights the Menu bar in most programs and browsers, meaning you can use the arrow keys to move through each option, and press enter to select. This can be handy if your mouse is out of use. Pressing Shift and F10 brings up the Shortcut menu.

F11 Key
Use F11 to enter and exit Full Screen Mode.

F12 Key
F12 has no real functionality for Windows, but pressing it when using MS Office opens the Save As window.

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