Keys from F1 to F12 (first row of your keyboard) are generally referred to as function keys. Their function depends on the type of operating system installed or the software program which is currently active.
Sometimes these function keys are used in combination with ALT or CTRL or SHIFT key. For example, the most common combination with windows is ALT + F4 which closes the currently open window. Let’s go through a list of uses of these function keys.
It is widely used as a shortcut to help program. It opens the concerned help screen depending on which software program is open.
It switches to CMOS setup when you are BIOS setup is currently open. In Microsoft Windows Windows Key (super key) + F1 will launch help and support centre.
When pressed in a Windows system, it renames the highlighted file/folder.
When in Microsoft Word, ALT + CTRL + F2 opens the document window and CTRL + F2 gives a print preview.
It launches a search program in the Windows system, it is common for other software programs also.
In the Windows command line, it will repeat the last command. In Microsoft Word, SHIFT + F3 will toggle the case of the selected word or the first letter of the word. In Microsoft Outlook Windows Key + F3 launches Advanced find window.
In a MAC OS X machine, it opens Mission Control.
It used to open find a program in an older Windows system (Windows 95 to XP). It opens the address bar when pressed in Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer. In MS Word 2000 it performs the last action.
As said earlier, ALT + F4 closes the currently active window. If there is an open window inside an active window, it can be closed by CTRL + F4.
F5 refreshes the current web page in all major browsers. In Microsoft word, pressing this will open the find, replace and go to the window. In PowerPoint, it will launch the slideshow.
It takes the cursor to the address bar in modern Internet browsers. In MS Word, CTRL + SHIFT +F6 switches to other MS Word document.
It launches Spelling and Grammar check in MS Word, Outlook, etc. while SHIFT + F7 launches a thesaurus check on the highlighted word. In Mozilla Firefox, it toggles Caret browsing.
This function key is commonly used to enter into Window Safe Mode at system startup.
When pressed in Quark 5.0 it opens the measurements toolbar. It shows all opened windows when pressed in MAC OS X 10.3 or later. On a MAC OS X machine pressing F9 + Fn will launch Mission Control.
It takes the focus to the menu bar of the currently active window in a Microsoft Windows System. SHIFT + F10 acts like a right-click on a highlighted file or folder.
On few HP and Sony computers, it is used to gain access to the hidden recovery partition. It also shows all open windows for the current program when pressed in MAC OS 10.3 or later. Also used to enter CMOS setup.
This is used to enter full-screen mode with all major Internet browsers. On Dell computers pressing CTRL + F11 will give access to the hidden recovery partition.
Pressing F11 on MAC OS 10.4 or later will hide all open windows for a current program and show the desktop.
In MS Word it shows Save As window. SHIFT + F12 saves the current MS Word document. To print a Word document, CTRL + SHIFT + F12 can be used.
It can also be used to preview the page in Microsoft Expression Web. It launches firebug in all modern Internet Browsers. On Mac OS 10.4 or later it will show/hide the dashboard.