Function keys

Updated: 04/12/2021 by Computer Hope
F1 function key being pressed by a finger

The function keys or F keys are lined across the top of the keyboard and labeled F1 through F12. These keys act as shortcuts, performing certain functions, like saving files, printing data, or refreshing a page.

For example, the F1 key is often used as the default help key in many programs. The F5 key is used in an Internet browser to refresh or reload a web page. The function of these keys can differ by operating system and by software program.

Where are the function keys on the keyboard?

Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the function keys (F1 through F12) highlighted in blue.

Keyboard function keys

In the past, Apple Macintosh computers did not have function keys. However, their new keyboards include F1 through F12 or F1 through F19 keys at the top. MacBooks with a Touch Bar also do not have function keys.


Some early IBM computer keyboards had two rows of function keys, with the second row containing F13 - F24. For additional information with function keys, see: What are the F1 through F12 keys?


The function keys should not be confused with the Fn (function) key found on laptop computer keyboards, Apple keyboards, and other keyboards with special functions.

What row are the function keys on?

The function keys are on the function key row, which is above the number key row and is the highest row on a keyboard.

How many function keys are on a keyboard?

Today's traditional PC keyboards have 12 function keys, F1 through F12. Some specialized PC keyboards have 24 function keys, F1 through F24.

Many Apple desktop computer keyboards with a number pad have 19 function keys, F1 through F19.

F, F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, F8, F9, F10, F11, F12, Function, Hardware terms, Key, Keyboard, Keyboard shortcut, Keyboard terms