The Function “F1-F12” Fn keys can be used as handy shortcut keys to common tasks and can also be used is to eliminate the problem of having to grab the mouse to select a certain program-related feature. Knowing the functionality of each of the function Fn Keys, along with various combinations of keys you would likely be able to work unhindered without the use of a mouse.
Bear in mind that not all Function Fn Keys have uses. Depending on your OS and which program you’re using, the features can change functions or offer none at all. Below we have outlined some common uses of each of the Function keys.
The F1 key is used to bring up the Help menu in almost all programs. Depending on what you’re looking at, the F1 key can bring up two types of Help menu; Built in help, or Online. The difference being that the online help is usually more up to date, and offers better information.
F2 is used to edit information windows. Usually used to rename a highlighted icon, file, or folder. In Excel, you will edit the active cell.
F3 is used to bring up the search window in most programs. This is a great feature that we should be using often to search documents for specific information, instead of paging through the entire document.
The F4 key isn’t all that useful unless you’re working in an Office document. What it’ll do is copy you last action such as everything you’ve just typed and paste it in front of you. Can also be used to open the address bar in Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer.
This is probably the only key most of you are familiar with – Refresh. Any webpage you’re viewing will instantly reload (which is great when a webpage loads with an error). In Word, it’ll open an advanced search feature.
Need to change the webpage you’re on quickly? Press F6, and your cursor will immediately move to the webpage address bar (no need to remove your hand from the keyboard.
Note: On laptops, this’ll generally reduce the speaker volume.
For Word, you can quickly bring up the spellcheck feature with this key.
Note: On laptops, this’ll generally increase the speaker volume.
The Function F8 key used commonly known and used to enter the Windows startup menu on boot up, if you are wanting to access Windows Safe Mode.
This key can also be used in Word documents – it’ll equate to a single mouse click per click.
1 click = select
2 click = select group
3 click = select all
Keep in mind, a lot of the function keys are going to increase productivity by allowing you to keep your hand on the keyboard. This is great for people who hate moving their hands back and forth.
F9 will refresh application based information. This works well with ‘live’ documents, like shared word docs. If someone is editing the document while you’re in it, and you want to see what changes were made before proceeding – press this key. This key is also often used in Microsoft Outlook to force send and receive emails.
Note: On laptops, this will generally reduce the laptop brightness.
This key will activate the menu options. Ever find yourself in a situation where the menu bar at the top of a window is missing? (File, Edit, View, Favourites, Tools) This button will bring them back up granting you further information.
Note: On laptops, this will generally increase the laptop brightness.
F11 is used primarily to make a window full screen.
F12 is used to open the ‘Save as’ feature in word documents.