Everything about Function Keys in Keyboard. 24 Fn Keys?

fn keys function

Have you ever put an eye on F1 – F12 Keys on keyboard and thought why they exists? What actually they does and why they are important? Why they do different tasks in PC and Laptops? Why there is separate Fn key in laptops? Do you know there were 24 Function keys in older IBM PCs? Hold on, you’ll be getting answers for all of this below. Let’s start without any further delay.

What are function keys?

F-Keys, also called function keys, are the special keys which performs the specified tasks defined by the operating system or running program. In order to perform more functions, these can be combined with Alt and Ctrl Keys.

Laptop and Desktop Keyboard

function keys on laptop
Laptop Fn Keys
fn keys on desktop f1 - f12
Desktop Fn keys

On smaller keyboards and laptops, function keys can be engaged to perform some predefined functions like volume, screen brightness, airplane mode etc. A separate fn key is provided there to perform operations of function keys.

If F1 keys bis provided with volume up function, if we press F1 in combination with Fn key, help page will appear, which is the common role of F1 key.

function key
Fn Key on Laptop

On the other hand, larger keyboards or desktop keyboards are provided with standalone Fn keys.

Function of Function Keys

F1

F1 is the help key. Pressing F1 in specific program will launch the help page of the running program.

Pressing F1 in combination with Windows key will launch Windows help and support center.

F2

F2 is used to rename the selected file and folder in windows

Ctrl+F2 opens the print preview window in Microsoft Word.

F2 is also used to edit the active cell in Microsoft Excel.

F3

It opens the search in Windows and moves the cursor automatically to search panel to type something there.

Uppercase and Lowercase switch in Microsoft Word. Turns the selected text in lowercase in combination with Ctrl and turns the selected text in uppercase in combination with Shift.

Shift + F3 = UPPERCASE

Ctrl + F3 = lowercase

In MS-DOS and Command Prompt, F3 repeats the last command.

F4

Closes the currently opened task in Microsoft Windows in combination with Alt Key. (Alt+F4)

Expands the address bar and moves the cursor automatically there to type something in.

Ctrl + F4 closes the active tab in Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge

Repeats the last action performed in Microsoft Word

F5

The refresh button. Does the job of refreshing in Windows and Web Browsers.

Ctrl + F5 clears the cache and force refreshes the active page

In MS Word, opens Find, Replace and Go to window

In MS Powerpoint, starts the slideshow

F6

Moves the cursor in address bar to type something in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and other browsers.

F7

Used for spelling check function in Microsoft Word

Shift + F7 runs a Thesaurus check on selected text

F8

It is very useful in Apple Computers. i.e. MacOS. It displays a thumbnail image of all workspaces

In Windows Startup Menu, it is used to Launch Windows in Safe Mode

F9

In Microsoft Word, refreshes the document

Helps sending and receiving mails in Microsoft Outlook

In Apple Computers, or macOS, displays the thumbnail image of all windows in the active workspace

F10

In Windows, activate the menu bar to quickly jump on menu options with a single button.

Right clicks on selected file, text or link, in combination with Shift Key. (Shift + F10)

In MacOS, shows the image of all active windows in the opened program

F11

Helps entering and exiting fullscreen mode in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and other browsers.

Used to explore Hidden recovery Options in various laptops and PCs

Shows the desktop and hides all open windows in MacOS

F12

Helps opening the ‘save as’ window in MS Word

Helps opening the ‘Open’ window in MS Word, in combination with Ctrl

Does the job of saving document in MS Word, in combination with Shift key, exactly same as Ctrl + S

Ctrl + Shift + F12 opens the print window in MS Word

In MacOS, F12 shows and hide the dashboard

The story of 24 Fn Keys

Older IBM Keyboards had 24 Fn keys, however newer keyboards only have 12 Dedicated Fn keys and 6-7 Fn keys with dedicated functions.

PrintScreen, Scroll Lock keys and the pause key took place of F13, F14, F15 keys.

F16, F17, F18 and F19 keys took place above numpad in newer keyboards.


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Author: Prateek

Technology Enthusiast, Computer Science Student

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