The F12 key is a function key found at the top of almost all computer keyboards. The key is often used to open Firebug, Chrome Developer Tools, or other browser debug tools. As mentioned below, F12 also has other uses depending on the computer and program.
How to use the F12 key
Open the program that uses the key and press F12. If the F12 key also has an icon on the key, it indicates the key has a secondary function. To use the secondary function, press and hold down the Fn key, and while continuing to hold the key, press F12.
If when pressing the F12 key, the secondary function is performed (e.g., mutes audio), the function keys are the secondary function. For example, on an Apple computer, to press F12, hold down fn, and press F12.
If the FnLk (function lock) is enabled, the keyboard acts as if the Fn key is being pressed until it is unlocked.
Information about the secondary function is found in the below secondary function of F12 section.
If the F12 key is not working on the keyboard, see: Some keys on my computer keyboard aren't working.
Where is the F12 key used?
The following list is all the locations where the F12 key can be used with information about its use.
- Apple macOS
- Internet browser
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Expression Web
- Microsoft Word
- Windows Photo Gallery
With an Apple running macOS 10.4 or later, F12 shows or hides the Dashboard.
Microsoft Expression Web
Preview a page in Microsoft Expression Web.
- Open the Save As window in Microsoft Word.
- Ctrl+F12 opens a document in Word.
- Shift+F12 saves the Microsoft Word document (like Ctrl+S).
- Ctrl+Shift+F12 prints a document in Microsoft Word.
Windows Photo Gallery
In the Microsoft Windows Photo Gallery program you can press F12 to start a slide show.
The secondary function of F12
For laptop keyboards and desktop computer keyboards with the Fn key, each function key has two functions. Unfortunately, there's no standard to what each key uses as its secondary function, so every keyboard is different. Below is a list of different keyboards and their secondary function for the F12 key.
- Apple keyboard F12 key
- Cooler Master keyboard F12 key
- Dell keyboard F12 key
- HP keyboard F12 key
- Lenovo ThinkPad F12 key
- Logitech keyboard F12 key
- Microsoft Surface F12 key
Apple keyboard F12 key
The default F12 key primary function on Apple keyboards is to turn down the audio. Pressing fn+F12 for the secondary function is F12.
Cooler Master keyboard F12 key
Dell keyboard F12 key
HP keyboard F12 key
Lenovo ThinkPad F12 key
Logitech keyboard F12 key
On Logitech keyboards with two right arrows pointing to a line, the secondary F12 function fast forwards or goes to the next track in supported media players. Logitech keyboards with "ns" on the key are used as an insert key.
Microsoft Surface F12 key
Where is the F12 key on my smartphone or tablet?
Related keyboard shortcuts and keys
Below are links to related keyboard shortcuts and individual key pages.