Along the top of your keyboard is a row of keys numbered F1 to F10 or F12. Even though you may never use them, they do have function. In fact, the F stands for Function and they are called Function keys.
Below is a list of what each key does. After the list is a trick that you can use Function keys for. Most of the items on the list below apply only to Windows and Windows' programs, especially Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer.
Some programs have their own set of functions that they have assigned to the Function keys. You can find these in the menu of the program. The menu items which are assigned a function key have the corresponding function key designated after the item name. If you press that function key, you can perform that function without using the menu or buttons. The program's help or manual should also tell which functions are assigned to the function keys. You might want to try each one of these as you read through them.
Function Keys for Windows
* F1 – Opens Help for the currently displayed program (this does not work on all programs).
* Windows Logo key and F1 – Opens Windows' Help.
* F2 – Highlights the name of a selected object for renaming in Windows Explorer, desktop, and some other Windows' programs. First, you need to select an item that can be renamed (like, a file or shortcut). After pressing F2, you can then type what you want to rename the object to.
* F3 – Brings up Search in Windows Explorer.
* F4 – Drops down the Address bar in Internet Explorer showing your previous locations. This allows you to scroll down and select one.
* Alt and F4 – Closes the currently displayed program.
* F5 – Refreshes the view in Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer (in other words, it looks at the source again and reloads the contents), and other programs. In MailWasher it checks the mail (which I guess would be a kind of refresh).
* F6 – moves the cursor around the structure of a program. Pressing it may cycle you from window to window or from place to place within the program. In Windows Explorer it moves you from the left pane to the right pane and back. This is similar to what the Tab key does.
* Alt and F6 – Switches between multiple windows in the same program (for example, when the Notepad Find dialog box is displayed, ALT+F6 switches between the Find dialog box and the main Notepad window).
* F7 – does not have any functionality in Windows. It may be used in individual programs.
* F8 – accesses Safe Mode if pressed at the right time while the computer is starting. Safe Mode is a trouble-shooting mode, which will start the computer with minimal drivers.
* F9 – does not have any functionality in Windows. It may be used in individual programs.
* F10 – Changes the focus to and from the menu. Pressing the Alt key will also do this. Once the focus is on the menu items, you can use the arrow keys to navigate to an item and the Enter key to select it.
* Shift and F10 – brings up the popup menu in Windows Explorer much like right clicking on an item does.
* F11 – Switches between regular screen mode and full screen mode. Full screen mode is like a maximized screen but with more screen space and less toolbar controls
* F12 – does not have any functionality in Windows. It may be used in individual programs.
You may have noticed that some of the Function keys are not used (F7, F9, F12) in Windows. That doesn't mean that they can't be used. You can assign them or any other key combination to quickly run programs that you frequently use. Here are instructions for doing that.
- Locate the shortcut of that program. The Start menu is a good place to find shortcuts (every icon in the Start menu is a shortcut). If the program doesn't have a shortcut, create one.
- Right click on the shortcut and select the Properties item from the popup menu.
- The Properties dialog will open. Go to the Shortcut tab.
- Put the curser in the Shortcut key textbox and press the Function key or key combination (like Alt + Ctrl + 2) which you want to use to start the program.
- The Function key name or key combination name will appear in the box.
- Click on the Apply button (or the OK button) and close the dialog.
After you have done this, whenever you press that Function key or key combination, that program will start. Please note that if you use a Function key or key combination that is already used by Windows or other programs, it will no longer work in Windows or the other programs as it used to and will instead start your program.
To disable this, follow the above instructions but press Backspace or Delete in the Shortcut key textbox.
The Function keys are there to make your life easier. Now you can start using them.
Author – Ray Geide of Ray's Computer Tips and many top computer software
Super Win Software, Inc.