What Those F1 – F12 Keys Actually Do

Look at your computer’s keyboard and you’ll notice the cluster of function keys labeled F1 to F12. You might press them to adjust the volume on your computer, or for playback features on video applications.

Maybe you’ve never used these keys because you were unsure what they were for, so it’s time to unravel the mystery. Those keys perform multiple actions when used within operating systems and browsers, so get ready for a crash course in the function keys.

Add on to your existing knowledge of Ctrl + Alt + Del and other mouse-free advanced tricks. With this list below, you’ll be endowed with a set of shortcuts and easy fixes once you get the hang of them.


Activates the help menu immediately

On a Windows menu, when pressed with the Windows key it will bring up Microsoft’s help and support menu

Ctrl + F1 hides and displays ribbon menu in Microsoft Excel and Word


Enables you to edit a selected folder or file name in Windows Explorer

In Microsoft Office, pressing Alt + Ctrl + F2 opens the Documents Library


Allows you to search files in Window Explorer

Opens the Find feature in web browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome

Shift + F3 is used to change case in MS Word, including all caps, lowercase, or uppercase


Duplicates your action within a program like drawing a line

Alt + F4 closes active program windows quickly

In Windows Explorer, places the cursor in the address bar


Refreshes internet browser pages or the screen in Windows

Opens “Find and Replace” in Microsoft Office

Starts PowerPoint slideshow


Moves cursor to address bar in web browsers

For Microsoft Word, jumps to next pane in a split screen

Ctrl + F6 allows you to toggle between multiple Word documents


Shift + F7 prompts the Thesaurus function to open in Microsoft Word

Alt + F7 checks spelling and grammar in MS Word documents


Launches safe mode when Windows boots up

In MS Excel, enables Extend Mode for arrow keys

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