The F Keys. The F should not stand for forgotten.

Do me a favour will you, look at your keyboard.

I mean really look at it, examine it closely, and ignoring all the dust, crumbs and dandruff strewn over it, I want you to focus on those keys you never think to use, the Home key, the End key and the top row of F keys that you prop your pen against.

Well, it might simply be that you’re overlooking those keys because you don’t know what they do or realize how useful they can be.

Actually I exaggerate, some of them are useless on their own and and we shall ignore them like the dried up sneezes that also customise our keyboards, but as for the others, it’s at least worth knowing what they do.

Let’s start with The F keys, the F actually standing for Function, although you can function perfectly well without most of them.

But the ones most worthwhile are :

The F1 key – The ‘Help’ key. The button to press when you need a little guidance about the program open at the forefront of your screen. Mind you, for most programs it would help if there was another button to press to help you make sense of the help they so unhelpfully try to help with.

The F2 key – The ‘Rename’ key. Very convenient. Click on your target, press this button and you’re able to instantly rename that folder with those dodgy pics in it – VAT Receipts 09/10. (Note to my Mrs, only an example my dear, only an example.)

The F5 key – The ‘Refresh’ key. Used in tandem with any web browser. Handy for confirming the webpage you’ve loaded is the latest version, for reloading a page that mis-loads and for repeatedly stabbing angrily when a page is taking far too long to load.

The F6 Key – The ‘Transfer Focus To The Address Bar In A Browser’ key. Big deal you may think but handily removes that trip to the mouse to do the same thing and then back to the keyboard. My personal favourite and if it’d made sense to put this on top of the list I would have.

The F11 key – The ‘Full Screen’ key. If your TV had its menu perpetually at the top of the screen you wouldn’t put up with it, and you don’t have to when you’re web surfing. Hit this to make the top toolbar disappear and hit it again when you need it.

And as for those other keys you never use…

The Home key – This one is contextual and its effect will depend on the program you’re using at the time. But I’m only talking about web browsers here, so if you’ve scrolled to the bottom of a looooong webpage, hit this and whammo, you’re instantly back to the top again.

The End key – Guess what, this one does the opposite. Can’t face that long scroll to the bottom of a webpage, this will drop you there quicker than a mouse shaped breeze-block.

So now you know, and for F’s sake, clean all that crap out of your keyboard!

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