the F-key

I’m very sure you are pretty familiar with your keyboard, but have you ever stopped to notice the twelve F-keys on top? It is often wondered why they are there since they are rarely, for some people even, never used.

Sadly the answer is less impressive as you may have hoped. The F keys are actually function keys. They have a variety of different tasks (I hear you saying “D’uh”), depending on the context you are using them in. It may very well be possible that they have no use for you at all. Depending on which software you are using or which operating system you are using, the function of the keys differ.

Software programmers tend to streamline everything, so they usually give each F key a typical function. Let me show you the list of most commonly used functions:

F1: Is almost in every program the button to bring forth the help screen
F2: Makes the name of a file editable or a cell in excel for example. By pressing the F2 key you avoid of having to right click a file and selecting the rename option. You don’t want to wear your mouse out ;-).
F3: Opens up the search window most of the time.
F4: Opens the address bar in most browsers. Pressing alt combined with F4 will close the current window.
F5: The most famous of the F keys. When this key is pressed in an internet browser the current page is refreshed.
F6: Allows you to instant edit the address bar in a web browser.
F7: Doesn’t really have a default OS function. For as far as I know at least. But in MS word for example this does a spell check
F8: Also no real OS function here, but you can open the windows boot menu when starting up your computer
F9: Same here, no common use. For mac users this opens all windows (oh sweet irony)
F10: Shift + F10 is the same as right clicking a file. Opens the menu bar or an open application (in most applications)
F11: In most browsers, this enables full screen.
F12: No real OS function here. Opens the save as window in word. Or if you are using firefox, it opens firebug.

On modern day computers these are the 12 F keys available. In the past, IBM computers had 24 of these keys. But they haven’t been used in a while. As you may have noticed, because you keyboard also only has 12 F keys ;-).


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