Updated: 10/18/2022 by Computer Hope
F2 key

The F2 key is a function key found at the top of almost all computer keyboards. The key is used in Microsoft Windows to rename a highlighted file or icon. As mentioned below, F2 also has many uses depending on the computer and program.

How to use the F2 key

Open the program that uses the key and press F2. If the F2 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 F2.

If when pressing the F2 key, the secondary function is performed (e.g., mutes audio), and the function keys are the secondary function. For example, on an Apple computer, to press F2, hold down fn, and press F2.


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 the F2 section.


If the F2 key is not working on the keyboard, see: Some keys on my computer keyboard aren't working.

Where is the F2 key used?

The following list is all the locations where the F2 key can be used with information about its use.

Microsoft Windows

When an icon, file, or folder is highlighted or selected in Microsoft Windows and Windows programs, pressing F2 renames the file. For example, you could open a folder in Explorer, select a file, and press F2. Once pressed, the file is highlighted, and you can type a new name for the file.


If multiple files are selected when you press F2 to rename a file, all selected files take on the new name. For example, if you had three different named files selected, press F2, and rename a file to "test," all three files use that name and become "test (1)," "test (2)," and "test (3)."

Microsoft Excel

In Microsoft Excel, F2 edits the active cell. For example, you could use the arrow keys to navigate to a cell containing the text you want to edit. Once the cell is highlighted, press F2 to edit the cell and then add text or otherwise edit the text in the cell.

Microsoft Word

Pressing Ctrl+F2 displays the print preview window in Microsoft Word.

Pressing Ctrl+Alt+F2 opens the open document window in Microsoft Word and lets you select a document to open in Word.


In Notepad++, pressing Ctrl+F2 creates a bookmark on a line in a file. Pressing F2 cycles through the available bookmarks in a file.

Enter BIOS setup

On many PCs, as the computer is booting, you'll see an option to press the F2 key to enter setup. Pressing F2 when this message is displayed enters the BIOS or CMOS setup.

The secondary function of the F2

Each function key has two functions for a laptop and desktop computer keyboard with the Fn key. Unfortunately, there's no standard to what each key uses as its secondary function, so every keyboard is different. Below are keyboards and their secondary function for the F2 key.

Apple keyboard F2 key

The default F2 key's primary function on Apple keyboards is to increase the screen's brightness. Pressing fn+F2 for the secondary function is F2.

Cooler Master keyboard F2 key

On Cooler Master desktop keyboards, the F2 secondary function is one of the following options depending on the model.

  • With single-color keyboard backlight keyboards, FN+F2 decreases the backlight brightness.
  • With multiple backlight colors (RGB) keyboard, FN+F2 adjusts the red color levels.

Dell keyboard F2 key

The F2 key secondary function on Dell laptop keyboards is to mute and unmute the volume.

HP (Hewlett-Packard) keyboard F2 key

On Hewlett-Packard laptop keyboards with a brightness or sun icon on the F2 key, the secondary F2 function decreases the screen brightness.

Lenovo ThinkPad F2 key

On the IBM and Lenovo ThinkPad keyboards with a speaker icon next to a minus, the F2 key secondary function turns down the volume.

Logitech keyboard F2 key

On Logitech keyboards with a symbol of two boxes on the key, the F2 key secondary function switches between open applications in Windows or opens Mission Control on macOS.

Microsoft Surface F2 key

On the Microsoft Surface laptops, the F2 key secondary function is to increase the screen brightness.

Where is the F2 key on my smartphone or tablet?

Smartphones and tablets don't have keyboards like you'd find on a desktop and laptop and therefore don't have an F2 key.

Below are links to related keyboard shortcuts and individual key pages.

Fn, Function keys, Keyboard, Keyboard terms