Scroll, Home, Num …

There are many keys on the keyboard whose function is not immediately obvious. We explain what you can do with the F keys. And what other puzzling buttons mean.

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Anyone can type texts and numbers on the computer keyboard. But who really knows the meaning of all 102 keys? The big unknowns include the entire row at the top of the keyboard, which is labeled with the cryptic abbreviations F1 to F12. Even their designation “function keys” doesn’t say much about their actual use. We clarify – in our photo show.

The F keys are often assigned very useful and frequently used functions. However, the allocation varies from program to program. For example the F5 key: in a browser you use this to update the displayed website. This function is especially useful in combination with the Ctrl key. The browser will then reload the page directly and completely from the Internet, bypassing the cache. This prevents an old image of the page from being displayed from memory. This fast refresh is very useful for web pages whose content is changed at short intervals.

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However, in Outlook, the same key asks if new emails can be retrieved, checks drives or updates the Windows desktop view.

Traces of the past

Other keys on the PC keyboard undeservedly lead a shadowy existence. Even after years they are still rough and unused, while some keys already have a smooth greasy shine. print, roll and Break are one of these neglected keyboard buttons. Some useful features lie dormant among them.

The keys above the “arrow keys” block are hardly used anymore – they are remnants of old DOS and Terminal days. However, now and then they are also useful in modern Windows times, for example to record the screen contents.

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