Mystery Solved:  Comprehensive List of What The F1 – F12 Keys Actually Do

Have you ever found yourself wondering what those F1 – F12 buttons at the top of your keyboard do? If you are like most computer users the answer is, yes! Most users know the basics of these keys like screen brightening and volume control, but believe it or not these tiny keys are capable of so much more.

(Keep in mind that some of these function key shortcuts are different depending on the brand and model of computer being used.)

Function Key F1

  • Almost always used as the help key
  • Opens help menu when pressed with Windows button
  • Hides or displays ribbon menu in Excel/ Word when hit in conjunction with Control button

Function Key F2

  • In Microsoft Office, Alt + Ctrl + F2 opens the Document Library
  • Enables editing of the selected folder or file name within Windows Explorer
  • In Microsoft Excel, it allows editing of the active cell
  • Ctrl + F2 triggers a print preview in Microsoft Word

Function Key F3

  • In Windows Explorer, it opens the search feature
  • In Microsoft Word, Shift + F3 toggles between lowercase, uppercase, and all caps
  • In web browsers like Firefox and Chrome, it opens the find feature
  • On an Apple computer running macOS X, it opens Mission Control

Function Key F4

  • Alt + F4: Closes the active window
  • In Windows Explorer: Places the cursor in the address bar, allowing for navigation

Function Key F5

  • Starts slideshow in PowerPoint
  • Refreshes Internet browser pages
  • Ctrl + F5 will completely refresh a web page, clearing the cache and downloads all content again
  • Opens Find and Replace in Microsoft Office

Function Key F6

  • Goes to the next page in a split screen in Microsoft Word
  • Ctrl + Shift + F6 lets you easily switch between Word documents

Function Key F7

  • Alt + F7 does a spelling and grammar check in Microsoft Word
  • Shift + F7 opens Thesaurus in Microsoft Word

Function Key F8

  • In Excel, enables extend mode for arrow keys.
  • Enables safe mode in Windows
  • Displays a thumbnail image for all workspaces in macOS

Function Key F9

  • Refreshes document in Microsoft Word
  • Sends and receives emails in Outlook
  • Ctrl + F9 inserts empty fields into Word
  • Displays thumbnail for each window in a single workspace in macOS 10.3 or +

Function Key F10

  • Opens menu bar
  • Ctrl + F10 maximizes window in Word
  • Shift + F10 does the same thing as a right-click

Function Key F11

  • Exits and enters full-screen mode in browsers
  • Shift + F11 adds a new spreadsheet in Excel
  • Hides all open windows and shows the desktop in macOS 10.4 or +

Function Key F12

  • Opens Save As in Word
  • Shift + F12 saves Word document
  • Ctrl + F12 opens Word document
  • Ctrl + Shift + F12 prints Word document
  • In macOS 10.4 or + F12 shows and hides the dashboard