Function Key

What Does Function Key Mean?

A function key refers to one of the twelve keys present on the top row of a common PC keyboard. Labeled from F1–F12, these function keys are responsible for performing shortcut tasks like printing or saving files. Different operating systems, for example Windows and Mac OS, have separate uses for function keys.


A function key is also known as a soft key.

Techopedia Explains Function Key

Function keys are present on all modern Mac and Windows keyboards. On some laptop keyboards, however, they are not separate keys but are sub-functions of other keys and can be activated with the help of a separate key, usually the Fn key. In the top row of a regular keyboard, function keys help with the performance of various functions; for example, Microsoft Windows users can press ALT + F4 to close the program currently active. Apple computers did not have function keys in earlier models, but current keyboards feature the function keys on the top row similar to the standard PC keyboard.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…