How do Function keys work?



Function or F keys on your PC’s keyboard are keys that allow your computer to perform additional functions. On a larger keyboard, they may sit all by themselves at the top of the keyboard. On smaller ones, they sometimes share space with other keys.

The keys beginning with F at the top are functions keys.  Some keyboards also have additional functions that are activated when you press an Fn key. On this keyboard, there are blue keys that additional function keys.


For example, on the pictured keyboard, if you press the blue Fn key and then press a key with a blue icon on it, you’ll get the action shown in blue. If the blue Fn key is not pressed, the key performs its standard function.


In the keyboard I’ve used to demonstrate below, depressing the Fn key could allow you to use some of the center keys like a number keypad.


Or to shut the WiFi off and on. I used to do that accidentally all the time.


What the blue Fn key does will depend on your laptop. Those can vary from keyboard to keyboard. There should have been a key with the documentation for your laptop. If there isn’t, you may be able to look it up on the manufacturer’s website.

The standard F1 thru F12 keys perform different functions depending on the program you’re using them in.

Esc will usually get you out of whatever window you’re in.

F1 will pull up help for many programs.

F2 allows you to rename an object on the desktop.

F3 opens a search box in a browser

F4 will display an address bar in a browser

F5 will refresh the current window.

F6 will cycle through various elements on the screen and select them.

F7 performs various functions depending on the program.

Again, each of these keys performs a specific function depending on the program you’re using. And then we get into the keyboard combinations where you press Shift or Ctrl first. The options are almost endless and it’s probably best to learn them program by program. Microsoft’s support pages having handy guides for the Office Suite.









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