The F3 key is a function key found at the top of almost all computer keyboards. The key is most often used to open the find or search feature of a program or operating system. F3 also has other uses depending on the computer and program, as mentioned below.
How to use the F3 key
Open the program that uses the key and press F3. If the F3 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 F3.
If when pressing the F3 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 F3, hold down the fn key, and press F3.
If the FnLk (function lock) is enabled, the keyboard acts as if the Fn key is being pressed until it is unlocked.
Information about what the secondary function may be is found on the below secondary function of F3 section.
Where is the F3 key used?
The following list is all of the locations the F3 key can be used with information about how it's used.
- Apple macOS X
- Windows Explorer
- Microsoft Outlook
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Windows
- Windows command line
- Other F3 uses
Apple macOS X
The F3 on an Apple keyboard opens Mission Control on an Apple computer running the macOS X operating system.
In Windows Explorer, starts the search function.
Windows key+F3 opens the Advanced find window in Microsoft Outlook.
Shift+F3 changes the text in Microsoft Word from upper to lowercase or a capital letter at the beginning of every word.
The F3 button no longer does anything in Windows 10 on the desktop.
Windows command line
Other F3 uses
- In programs not mentioned above, F3 is often used to open up a search or find and sometimes used to find the next search value.
The secondary function of F3
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 F3 key.
- Apple keyboard F3 key
- Cooler Master keyboard F3 key
- Dell keyboard F3 key
- HP keyboard F3 key
- Lenovo ThinkPad F3 key
- Logitech keyboard F3 key
- Microsoft Surface F3 key
Apple keyboard F3 key
Cooler Master keyboard F3 key
On Cooler Master desktop keyboards, the F3 secondary function is one of the following options depending on the model.
- With a single-color keyboard backlight keyboards, FN+F3 increases the backlight brightness.
- With a multiple backlight colors (RGB) keyboard, FN+F3 adjusts the green color levels.
Dell keyboard F3 key
HP keyboard F3 key
Lenovo ThinkPad F3 key
Logitech keyboard F3 key
Microsoft Surface F3 key
Related keyboard shortcuts and keys
Below are links to related keyboard shortcuts and individual key pages.