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Tech Shortcuts: How to Use the ‘F’ Keys on Your Keyboard

Being a web designer working with entrepreneurs and small businesses who may not have had a web presence in the past means that I wear a lot of hats. I’ll never design your website and hand it off with an “okay this is your problem now” attitude. I collaborate with my clients from start to finish. I have solutions to many of your problems, and resources to solve the rest. Anyway, all of this to say, the past few days on my blog have focused on branding, colors, and elements that you need for a website to be effective, and today I’m getting back to my roots, sharing some tech skills that’ll make your everyday tech interactions a little bit easier.

Does anyone really know what the F keys are for on your keyboard? I mean, I didn’t have any real clue until a few hours ago when I was considering the ways in which I can change my computer display — there’s an F key for that.

So I decided to learn, mostly because I hate *little* frustrations that are like a splinter under your nail. And you know what one of these little frustrations is for me? When you hit one of those darn F keys on accident and something dramatic happens on your computer screen and you’re not sure which F key you hit so that you can turn the dial back to where you were before this disaster, and now you’re possibly stuck with a screen that’s sideways trying to Google search for answers before you absolutely lose your sh*t.

That’s the kind of straw that will break the proverbial camel’s back.

So I’m here! To explain what the F keys do, in hopes that next time you accidentally hit one, you’ll be able to find this post quickly and fix the disaster before your camel is all crumpled up on the desert floor.

Functions of the F keys on your Windows keyboard:

Across platforms these functions may vary, so keep in mind you may not see the result each time you use a certain key, depending on what is open on your keyboard, but these are some good rules of thumb to keep you organized and sane if your fingers often fumble on those keys causing weird things to happen.

F1: Brings up a help window in the active application on your screen
F2: Use this one to rename a selected object
F3: Opens a search bar, particularly in your internet browsers
F4: for use in Windows Explorer, to show address bar list
F5: Use this one to update an active application, such as refreshing a browser
F6: This rotates through the available elements on the screen you’re on

F7: Kind of random, performs a spell check in Microsoft Word
F8: Extends selection in Microsoft Office
F9: Updates fields in Microsoft Office
F10: Activates menu bar options
F11: Enter and Exit Full Screen mode in applications that have this feature
F12: Opens “Save As” feature in Microsoft Office

On some keyboards, especially those on laptops, the F keys generally serve dual functions, so as to save space on the laptop keyboard setup. To access these secondary features click the “FN” button which should be located near CTRL, ALT & the Windows key. On my laptop these secondary features are noted by a symbol on the F key which indicates another feature and include things like volume control, airplane mode and screen brightness, to name a few.

That’s it for today folks, short, sweet and to the point.

Still struggling to understand something about your computer keyboard? Reach out today and let’s schedule a strategy session to get you on track with your tech needs.

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