Function keys appeared with the release of IBM PC / XT personal computers in 1983, and served as shortcuts to commonly used functions.
Over the past thirty years, their purpose remains the same.
The main purpose
The actions performed by pressing each of the twelve function buttons may differ depending on the operating system or applications, but there are universal destination.
The first keyboard PC / XT, where there are function keys, ten were only, and they were located in two rows on the left.
F1 - it is the key to call for help. It works virtually anywhere - from the old text to modern applications in Windows operating systems, in many GNU / Linux distributions. The exception is, perhaps Mac OS.
F2. It is a common feature - editing. In the Windows Explorer, press the F2 renames a file, some file managers - opens the file for changes. Besides the F2 key is opening the BIOS settings along with Del.
F3. The main purpose - the search challenge, whether it's searching in Windows Explorer, the browser on a web page or in an open document. Similarly, the working combination Ctrl + F.
F4 - varies from program to program. In some browsers, Windows Explorer, and moves the cursor in the address bar with the simultaneous display of history.
F5. Universal purpose - function refresh. It refreshes the contents of the browser, console management, conductor, file manager and many other programs.
Useful when working with a combination of browser - Ctrl + F5. It allows you to refresh the page without using the cache.
F6 is not a standard feature. In browsers action similar to F4, but the history is not displayed. Often used to switch between controls like the Tab key.
F7, F8, F9 - appointment depends on the program or operating system. When you start Windows, press F8 brings up a menu with boot options, and activates F9 system recovery.
F10 - call menu, not the only, but quite often the appointment, with the combination of Shift + F10 is the shortcut menu, similar to the right mouse button.
F11 - the most common purpose - to switch between windowed and full screen modes.
F12 in Mac OS by default causes the widget toolbar Dashboard. Also, this allows the OS to use the F9 key, F10, F11 to Expose - windowing technology.
Function keys are often used incombinations with so-called modifier keys - Shift, Ctrl and Alt. For example, Alt + F4 will close the application, and Ctrl + F4 its individual elements - tab window file.
In addition, you can find the button on laptopsThe Fn, in conjunction with the functional keyboard it can control the sound, brightness or contrast screen, powered radio modules Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, disabling the touchpad, and many others. Specific combinations depend on the manufacturer and model of the laptop.