How to use Windows function keys (F1-F12)

Every keyboard, every laptop, and every PC have it. The function keys, the magic buttons at the top of every keyboard. Each of them has several functions. In this overview, we’ll show you how to use Windows function keys (F1-F12).


F1 key

  • Primary uses as the Help Key, almost every program opens a help screen.
  • Windows Key + F1 opens the Microsoft Windows help and support center.
  • CTRL + F1 Open the Task pane in Microsoft office
  • On some computers opens the BIOS or CMOS setup, If pressed during computer boot

F2 key

  • On Windows Explorer or on Desktop F2 lets you quickly rename the selected file or folder.
  • In MS Office edits the current active cell
  • Alt+Ctrl+F2 opens document library in MS Office
  • Ctrl+F2 displays the print preview window in Microsoft Office
  • On some computers opens the BIOS or CMOS setup, If pressed during computer boot

F3 key

  • Opens a search feature for programs including Microsoft Windows when at the Windows Desktop.
  • In Windows command line F3 will repeat the last command
  • Shift + F3 toggles between capitalizing each word, lower case and upper case for selected text in MS Word.
  • Windows Key + F3 opens the Advanced find window in Microsoft Outlook.
  • Opens Mission Control on an Apple computer running macOS X
  • Opens a preview of selected file in Total commander

F4 key

  • Alt + F4 closes the current program. When no program is running it launches the Shutdown dialog box.
  • Open the address bar in Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge.
  • Repeat the last action performed in MS Word
  • Ctrl+F4 closes actually viewed tab in web browser or program
  • Edit the selected file in Total Commander

F5 key

  • In Internet browsers, pressing F5 will refresh or reload the page or document window.
  • Click F5 to open Find & Replace window in MS Word.
  • Starts a slideshow when clicked in PowerPoint.
  • Opens Find, Replace, Go to dialog on MS Office programs.
  • Copy selected file(s) in Total Commander

F6 key

  • Move the cursor to the address bar in the Internet browsers.
  • Ctrl+Shift+F6 opens to another open Microsoft Word document.
  • Reduce laptop speaker volume on some laptops.
  • Move selected file(s) in Total Commander

F7 key

  • F7 opens spelling and grammar checker in MS Word.
  • Shift+F7 opens thesaurus in MS Word.
  • Fn+F7 opens second screen options in some laptops and opens display scheme in some laptops.
  • Turns on Caret browsing on Mozilla Firefox. This feature places a moveable cursor in web pages, allowing you to select text with the keyboard.
  • Increase laptop speaker volume on some laptops.
  • Creates a new folder in Total Commander

F8 key

  • Used to start your Windows PC in Safe Mode.
  • Used by some computers to access the Windows recovery system.
  • Displays a thumbnail image for all workspaces in macOS.
  • Delete selected file or folder in Total Commander

F9 key

  • Refresh document in Microsoft Word.
  • Press F9 to send or receive an email in Microsoft Outlook.
  • Reduce laptop screen brightness on some laptops.
  • With macOS 10.3 or later, displays a thumbnail for each window in a single workspace.
  • Fn key and F9 at the same time open Mission Control on an Apple computer running macOS X.

F10 key

  • F10 Key opens Menu Bar in the open application.
  • Shift+F10 is the same as right-clicking on a highlighted icon, file, or Internet link.
  • Access the hidden recovery partition on Compaq, HP, and Sony computers.
  • Enter CMOS Setup on some computers.
  • Increase laptop screen brightness on some laptops.
  • With macOS 10.3 or later, shows all open Windows for the active program.

F11 key

  • Enter and exit fullscreen mode in all Internet browsers.
  • CTRL+F11 opens the hidden recovery options in some Windows laptops.
  • Alt+F11 opens the Visual Basic Editor.
  • On MS Excel Shift + F11 adds a new sheet and Ctrl + F11 adds a new macro to the workbook.
  • Access the hidden recovery partition on eMachines, Gateway, and Lenovo computers.
  • With macOS 10.4 or later, hides all open windows and shows the Desktop.

F12 key

  • If you are working on MS Word, click F12 to open Save As window.
  • Open browser debug tool (like developer mode in Chrome).
  • Ctrl+F12 opens a document In Word.
  • Win+F12 saves your document in MS Word.
  • Shift+F12 saves the Microsoft Word document (like Ctrl+S)
  • Ctrl+Shift+F12 prints a document in Microsoft Office.
  • In macOS 10.4 or later, F12 shows or hides the Dashboard.
  • Access the list of bootable devices on a computer at startup



Infographic how to use Windows function keys

*click to enlarge

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Tony Poruba
is PROUD father and geek. Founder of Enthusiastic beginner in SEO and social networking. He is also an average ice hockey player, canoeist, beer lover, and guitarist. Sometimes (often) he has to go to work as an industrial engineer. His dream is to run as a full-time job and to provide people with useful information.
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