The F1 to F12 Function Keys and their Usage

The function keys F1 through F12 may have a variety of different uses or no use at all. Depending on the installed operating system and the software program currently open will change how each of these keys operate.

A program is capable of not only using each of the function keys, but also combining the function keys with the ALT and/or CTRL keys, for example, Microsoft Windows users can press ALT + F4 to close the program currently active.

Below is a short-listing of some of the common functions of the functions keys on computers running Microsoft Windows. As mentioned above not all programs support function keys and/or may perform different tasks then those mentioned below


  • Almost always used as the help key, almost every program will open the help screen when this key is pressed.
  • Windows Key + F1 would open the Microsoft Windows help and support center.
  • Opens he Task Pane – a window with options that opens to the right in an MS Office program


  • In Windows commonly used to rename a highlighted icon or file.
  • Alt + Ctrl + F2 opens a new document in Microsoft Word.
  • Ctrl + F2 displays the print preview window in Microsoft Word.


  • Often opens a search feature for many programs including Microsoft Windows.
  • Shift + F3 will change the text in Microsoft Word from upper to lower case or a capital letter at the beginning of every word.


  • Open find window.
  • Repeat the last action performed (Word 2000+)
  • Alt + F4 will close the program currently active in Microsoft Windows.
  • Ctrl + F4 will close the open window within the current active window in Microsoft Windows.


  • In all modern Internet browsers pressing F5 will refresh or reload the page or document window.
  • Open the find, replace, and go to window in Microsoft Word.
  • Starts a slideshow in PowerPoint.


  • Move the cursor to the Address bar in Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
  • Ctrl + Shift + F6 opens to another open Microsoft Word document.


  • Commonly used to spell check and grammar check a document in Microsoft programs such as Microsoft Word, Outlook, etc.
  • Shift + F7 runs a Thesaurus check on the word highlighted.
  • Turns on Caret browsing in Mozilla Firefox.


  • Function key used to enter the Windows startup menu, commonly use to get into Windows Safe Mode.


  • Opens the Measurements toolbar in Quark 5.0.


  • In Microsoft Windows activates the menu bar of an open application.
  • Shift + F10 is the same as right-clicking on a highlighted icon, file, or Internet link.


  • Full-screen mode in all modern Internet browsers.


  • Open the Save as window in Microsoft Word.
  • Shift + F12 save the Microsoft Word document
  • Ctrl + Shift + F12 prints a document in Microsoft Word


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