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How do the function keys work on Windows 10?

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The keys F1-F12 are typically utilized to control the volume or brightness on Windows 10 PCs, but there’s more they’re able of doing.

The function keys have been in use for as long as the keyboard. They’re believed to have been introduced in the IBM 3270 back in 1972 and have been a staple on laptops and PCs since.

But, despite their long time in the market, the F1-F12 keys are still a mystery to most of us. Many laptop makers have incorporated the keys with common functions such as brightness and volume adjustments. In this instance, you’ll need to press the ‘Fn’ button to activate the function originally. However, without the restrictions on the space of extra keyboards, these typically aren’t used. The only exception is gaming, in which they are often utilized for a particular control.

The F-keys can perform a range of functions that they are defaulted to and we’ll only look at some of the most popular functions in this article.


A: The F1 key’s most frequently used function is to request help. This is a feature that works on nearly every device. It could mean the Settings menu or a webpage that offers help. Also, pressing the Windows button while pressing F1 typically will open Windows Help and Support Center.

When using Microsoft Excel, the F1 can be used in conjunction along with Alt or Shift key to open a fresh tab in Excel.


The F2 key can be used to change the name of a highlighted icon, folder, or file across all versions of Windows. If you’re using Microsoft Excel open, it edits the cell that is active and when combined by using Alt and Ctrl will show the screen titled “Open Document” within Microsoft Word. The same program using only Ctrl and F2 opens the preview window for printing.


The F3 key can be used for a range of uses. The most popular one is to select the search bar you are on your desktop. You can also launch the search feature from the File Explorer and repeat the previous command within the Command Prompt window.

Ctrl +F3 changes the highlighted text to lower-case when using Microsoft Word, while Shift + F3 switches with upper or lower cases – This can be modified to add a capital letter at the beginning of every word.


It is the F4 is the key to opening the Address Bar of the File Explorer and most browsers which include Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. Alt and F4 will close the active window while Ctrl +F4 closes the particular tab.


The most commonly used function of F5 is to refresh the page currently on the internet that is applicable to every modern web browser. It is also applicable to an entire folder within any file application, which will refresh the contents list. If you’d like to take it an extra step, Ctrl + F5 will clear the cache, and force your browser to download the webpage.

When using Microsoft Word, one tap of the F5 key will start the ‘Find and Replace window. In PowerPoint, it will open the slideshow at the beginning, and Shift +F5 will begin it from the active slide.


F6 moves the cursor across the address bar of all contemporary browsers. This makes it simple to find. When using Microsoft Word, Ctrl + Shift + F6 open the new document, assuming you have the application open.


Many Microsoft applications (including Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook) make use of the F7 key to access shortcuts to access the built-in spelling and grammar check. The difference is that highlighting a term by pressing Shift + F7 will search the thesaurus for the word.

F7 is a key to enable Caret Browsing (where the cursor is added to websites to allow text selection with only your keyboard) on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. It also allows you to access layers menus within Adobe Photoshop.

The Command Prompt app, F7 shows a list of all commands that have been entered into the particular window.


This key is typically utilized before the Windows PC begins to allow you to open advanced startup modes You may need to press it several times to activate it. This is where you’ll be able for you to begin Windows using Secure Mode.

It is also possible to open the “Find and Replace” feature within Windows’ TextPad app.


If you are working with Microsoft Word, F9 will refresh your document. It also causes Microsoft Outlook to ‘Send and receive’ any emails that are not yet received.


The F10 key opens the menu bar or similar options in most open Microsoft applications. When you press Shift and F10 on a highlighted document the link, icon or file will work similarly to a right-click.


The F11 option is by far the most commonly used method to switch fullscreen mode to off and on in all contemporary web browsers. It is also available on certain pre-installed Windows applications.

Certain PCs only use F11 to open the recovery partition hidden behind it, some others use it in conjunction with the Ctrl key.


The F12 key can perform many features for Microsoft Word. When used on its own when you press it, the ‘Save As’ window will be displayed, but Ctrl + F12 can open a Word document via File Explorer. Shift +F12 functions similarly to using Ctrl + S for saving the file when Ctrl + Shift + F12 prints a document using standard settings.

F12 is also able to launch developer tools in numerous web browsers, in addition, to accessing the list of bootable devices when pressed prior to the device booting up.

There are a variety of options to personalize the F keys or to add additional functions, but it could be quite complicated. We suggest trying these functions if you’ve not tried them before and see the ones you use regularly.

However, unfortunately not every one of the items on that list is accessible on all Windows 10 devices, but they provide a general picture of what you could be expecting. It is also possible to consider how to change the layout of your keyboard for Windows 10.


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