Function Key Shortcuts

Function Key Shortcuts

So what are the function keys and what do they do? They are the F1-F12 on the top of your keyboard and again, are referred to as ‘Function 1’ or ‘Function 11’ and yes, ‘Eff-7’.  John Grillo wondered this for years thoughout my years of owning a computer and one day just decided to play around with them  and see what they did. And after years of playing around, here are some basic functions for the function keys. Keep in mind, they vary based on context of the operating system (Windows 7 and above, for this example) and the program (John Grillo like using MS Word). Feel free to experiment. Oh, and most of this is they keys functioning by their lonesome. Adding [CTRL] or [ALT] does different things.

If you have any function keys above F12, that means you’re using a MAC. Using a MAC is a bigger problem.

And now without further ado, another set of shortcuts for your keyboard!



  1. Should summon a given help file…since always, in nearly all programs. Haven’t seen it not be the case yet.
  2. Enter CMOS during boot on some systems
  3. And can open the task pane.



  1. One of my favorites! Let’s you quickly rename files in windows. Just click that file and then press [F2]. Also works for cells in Excel.
  2. Ctrl + F2 displays the print preview window in MS Word (I have used Word for decades and only just now discovered this).
  3. Alt + Ctrl + F2 opens document window in MS Word
  4. Also a key that should let you enter in the boot menu or CMOS set-up.



  1.  Winkey + [F3] opens advanced find in MS Outlook.
  2.   [SHIFT] + [F3] changes text in Microsoft Word from upper case to lower case. OR it puts a capital letter at the beginning of every word. (Well, it’s nice to have options…)


  1. Repeat the last action performed (MSWord since 2000).
  2. Alt + F4 closes the program window currently active in Microsoft Windows.


  1. Refresh the active window, if on the interwebz.


  1. Move cursor to the address bar! Should work in all main browsers [ALT]+[D] does this as well.
  2. Starts a slideshow in powerpoint.


  1. I love this key. In Word, it usually does spelling and grammar check in Word.
  2. Shift + F7 runs a Thesaurus check on the word highlighted.


  1. Commonly boots into safe mode.
  2. Access the Windows recovery system.. but may require a Windows installation CD.


  1. Much more highly dependent on programs than most other function keys.
  2. Users have little, if any, use of this key in Windows, but if you press this key in MS Word you will update the selected fields.
  3. Send/receive email in MS Outlook.
  4. Refresh document in MS Word
    1. [SHIFT] + [F9] = Switch between a field code and its result.
    2. [CTRL] + [F9] = Insert an empty field.
    3. [CTRL] + [SHIFT] + [F9] = Unlink a field
    4. [ALT] + [F9] = Switch between all field codes and their results
    5. [ALT] + [SHIFT] + [F9] = Run GoButton or Macrobutton from the field that displays the field results.


  1. Activate the Menu bar in the active app
  2. Enter CMOS setup in some machines
  3. [SHIFT]+[F10] = Summons context menu, like a right-click
  4. On mine, it puts the machine into airplane mode.


  1. Ctrl + F11 as computer is starting to access the hidden recovery partition on many Dell computers.
  2. Enter/Exit full screen mode in many browsers.


  1. Acts as ‘Save as’ menu for nearly all Microsoft products, be they MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access
  2. Ctrl + Shift + F12 prints a document in Microsoft Word.
  3. Ctrl + F12 opens a document In Word.
  4. Open browser debug tool. A must for any web developer


And that’s all. My source is me, in my several years as a jr. systems administrator, the computer kid in the neighborhood any my own research. Don’t take my word for it though! Try it on your own.