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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What are those F keys at the top of the keyboard?

So what do you use those F-keys on the top of the keyboard?  Well, those are called "function keys" and they are date back to the old days when computers used DOS. We don't use them much now but they can be used to perform shortcuts on your computer.

  • F1 is almost always a default for help in software programs.  If you use the Windows key + F1, it will open the Windows help and support center. 
  • F2 - Highlight an icon on your Windows desktop and press F2 to rename the icon. You can also rename the icon by right-clicking on the icon and then selecting rename, but what's the fun in all those steps?
  • F3 - From the desktop, F3 brings up the "find feature" to search your computer. If your Firefox browser is on-screen, it pops up the "fine feature" of the browser.
  • F4 - In the Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers, it will open the address bar.
  • F5 - F7 will start the spell check in Word and Outlook. In Word, it will start the "Find and Replace" feature.
  • F6 - Like F4, it goes to the address bar in your browser. On your desktop it will go to various parts of your workspace. Helpful if you loose your mouse and need to move around with your keyboard.  Not something that happens often but trivia that might be useful in the future.
  • F7 - Turns on Caret Browsing in Firefox and I.E. which basically means to navigate the webpage using arrow keys.  Press F7 again to turn this feature off.
  • F8 - Another little used but helpful function. Hold down F8 when you are booting your Windows computer to get into Safe Mode.
  • F9 - No programmed use in Windows but will update selected fields in Microsoft Word.
  • F10 -  Shows or highlights the menu bar in many programs including Internet Explorer and Firefox.
  • F11 -  Opens full screen or "Kiosk" mode for your browser.  How cool is that?
  • F12 - No programmed use in Windows but will open the Save As dialog in Microsoft Word. 
Of course, various programs may use the function keys for other purposes. The function keys can also be combined with other keys on the board for keyboard shortcuts. ☺ 




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