What is F12?
F12 is a function key on a computer keyboard, often used for various purposes, such as accessing advanced features, developer tools or system-level functions. The symbol "F12" is usually printed on the key, which is typically found on the top row of the keyboard and is sometimes accompanied by other function keys, such as F1-F11. The specific use of the F12 key varies depending on the software used. Still, its primary function is to provide quick access to a range of tools and options that are not normally accessible through the standard user interface.
How to use the F12 key?
The F12 key can be used in various ways, depending on the software you're using. Here are some common uses of the F12 key:
- Developer Tools: In web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge, pressing F12 opens the developer console. This powerful tool allows developers to inspect and debug their web applications, view error messages, and test the behaviour of their code.
- Save As: In Microsoft Office applications, pressing F12 opens the Save As dialogue box, allowing you to quickly save a document as a different file type, such as a PDF, Word document, or Excel spreadsheet.
- System-Level Functions: In some operating systems, such as Windows and Linux, the F12 key can access system-level functions, such as screen captures, system settings, and configuration options. For example, in Windows, you can use the F12 key to take a screenshot of the entire screen or to capture a specific window or region.
- Gaming: In some video games, the F12 key can be used as a game shortcut, allowing players to perform specific actions, such as opening the in-game menu or accessing cheat codes.
- BIOS: On some computers, pressing the F12 key during boot-up will take you to the BIOS setup, where you can make changes to the system settings, such as changing the boot order or setting a password.
Note: The specific use of the F12 key may vary depending on the software you're using, and some software may not use the F12 key at all. You can usually find information using the F12 key in the software's documentation or by searching online. Additionally, some keyboard manufacturers may have customized the F12 key to perform specific actions, so it's always a good idea to check your keyboard's documentation to determine its exact use.
The F12 key often has a secondary function, indicated by an icon on the key itself. To access this secondary function, the user must press and hold down the Fn key while also pressing the F12 key. This allows the user to access a different, secondary set of functions assigned to the F12 key.
For example, on an Apple computer, the secondary function of the F12 key might be to mute the audio. The user would hold down the fn key and press the F12 key to perform this action.
Note: Some keyboards have a function lock (FnLk) option, which allows the user to lock the keyboard so that it acts as if the Fn key is being pressed continuously. All function keys will perform their secondary function in this mode unless the function lock is turned off.
F12 location on the keyboard
The F12 key is typically located near the top-right corner of a standard computer keyboard, along with the other function keys, F1 to F11. The exact placement of the F12 key may vary depending on the keyboard manufacturer and model, but it is usually located in a consistent position relative to the other function keys.
The location of the F12 key is important because it allows quick and easy access to its various functions, such as the developer console in web browsers or the Save As dialogue box in Microsoft Office applications. Having the key in a consistent location makes it easier for users to remember where to find it and to perform its functions without having to search for it each time.
Uses of the F12 Key in Different Applications and Operating Systems
The F12 key is a versatile tool that can be used in several different applications and operating systems, including:
- Apple macOS: On Apple computers running the macOS operating system, the F12 key can access system-level functions, such as screen captures, system settings, and configuration options.
- Boot: During the boot process of some computers, the F12 key can be used to access the boot menu, allowing the user to select a different boot device, such as a USB drive or CD/DVD, to boot from.
- Microsoft Excel: In Microsoft Excel, the F12 key can quickly bring up the Save As dialogue box, allowing the user to save a workbook as a different file type, such as a PDF, Excel Workbook, or CSV file.
- Microsoft Expression Web: In Microsoft Expression Web, the F12 key can preview the current Page in a web browser, allowing the user to see how the Page will look and function in a real-world environment.
- Microsoft Word: In Microsoft Word, the F12 key can quickly bring up the Save As dialogue box, allowing the user to save a document as a different file type, such as a PDF, Word document, or Rich Text Format (RTF) file.
- Windows Photo Gallery: In Windows Photo Gallery, the F12 key can be used to access the Slide Show view, which allows the user to view a slideshow of their photos, complete with transitions and music.
These are just a few examples of the many locations where the F12 key can be used. The functions that can be performed using the F12 key may vary depending on the device, operating system, and application used. Regardless of the specific use case, the F12 key is a convenient and frequently used tool for many users.
The Alternate Functions of the F12 Key
Each function key, including the F12 key, has two different uses. The F12 key on laptop and desktop computer keyboards with the Fn key often have a secondary function. However, there is no standardization for the secondary function of each key, so the secondary function of the F12 key can vary greatly from keyboard to keyboard.
- Apple keyboard F12 key: The secondary function of the F12 key on Apple keyboards is the F12 key itself. This means that by pressing the "fn" key + F12, the user will activate the F12 key function, which is typically not used for any specific purpose in this configuration. The default primary function of the F12 key is to turn down the audio volume.
- Cooler Master keyboard F12 key: On Cooler Master desktop keyboards, the F12 key has a secondary function that enables or disables the Windows key. This allows users to turn off the Windows key if they accidentally press it and exit their game or application.
- Dell keyboard F12 key: On Dell laptop keyboards, the F12 key's secondary purpose is to mute and unmute the audio volume. By pressing "fn" + F12, the user can quickly turn the volume on or off as needed.
- HP keyboard F12 key: The secondary function of the F12 key on laptop keyboards made by Hewlett-Packard is to enable or disable aeroplane mode. This allows the user to quickly turn off all wireless connections on their laptop for flights.
- Lenovo ThinkPad F12 key: The F12 key's secondary use on keyboards featuring a star symbol from IBM and Lenovo ThinkPads is to launch a user-defined shortcut. This can be customized through the Lenovo Keyboard Manager, allowing the user to access frequently used programs or files quickly.
- Logitech keyboard F12 key: In media players that support it, pressing the F12 key will fast-forward or move to the next track on Logitech keyboards with two right arrows pointing in a line. The F12 key serves as an insert key on Logitech keyboards that have a "ns" key.
- Microsoft Surface F12 key: The F12 key on Surface computers serves as the Page Down key in addition to its primary use. This allows users to quickly move down one Page in a document or web page without using the scroll bar or arrow keys.
No F12 Key on Smartphones or Tablets
The F12 key is primarily found on laptops and desktop computer keyboards. However, most smartphones and tablets do not have a physical keyboard, so they don't have an F12 key. The functionality that the F12 key provides can be accessed differently on smartphones and tablets.
For example, you can access developer tools in a web browser on a mobile device by using a combination of taps and swipes rather than the F12 key. Additionally, some mobile operating systems, such as Android, have a developer mode that provides more detailed settings and options. This mode can be accessed by entering a code on the device or tapping a sequence of buttons.
Note: Some external keyboards designed for mobile devices may have an F12 key. These keyboards connect to your device through Bluetooth or a wired connection and can be used for various tasks, including typing, gaming, and programming.