How to Use the Function Keys

computer-keyboard-keys-blackDo you know what your F2 key does? Do you know where your F6 key is? Did you know that they are called “function keys”?

Today’s lesson is all about function keys; where they are, what they are, and how to use them. Maybe I’ll even add a thought or two about how not to use them.

In fact, let’s start with how not to use them. Don’t pour water on them, don’t expect them to mow your lawn, and don’t try sweet-talking them into behaving. It doesn’t work.

The function keys are lined up in a neat row across the top of your keyboard, beginning with F1, second to the left, and ending eleven keys later with F12. Does anyone want to guess what they do? Wait for it…

They perform functions!

I use one function key multiple times a day, every day, and have trouble functioning without it. (That pun was not intended, but it works, so I’m leaving it.)

That function key is F2. I tried counting today, and before losing track, I had already used my F2 function key to rename eight files and to edit three Excel spreadsheet fields. And the morning was not even over yet. (There were like a whole 10 minutes left before noon.)

I only use the other function keys once in a blue moon; some do not even perform specific functions except on laptops where they can be set to control volume, screen brightness, etc.

Similar to keyboard shortcuts, using function keys can add up to major time saved, but I will be the first to admit to a rather frustrating habit of accidentally hitting the wrong one. Most often I end up with an open “help” window open that I never wanted open. Maybe it’s trying to tell me something?

The actual functions of your function keys will vary depending on the operating system as well as the program active.

Function keys can be used alone, or in combination with other keys (Ctrl, Alt, etc.). Some keyboards have a Fn (function) key that allows for an even greater range of function key possibilities.

In my Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet, I included the function keys that perform specific functions in both Windows and Linux (KDE).

keyboard-shortcuts-cheat-sheet-previewTo download the sheet, please join my mailing list. If you have previously subscribed, you will have received the download link already.

Disclaimer: These shortcuts are standard for Windows and Linux (KDE), but may not work on all systems, such as in the case of non-English installations, etc.

Which function key do you use most often, and for what purpose?

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