Which key allows you to stop a function or action

Which key allows you to stop a function or action
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, shutterstock
Haven’t you always wondered what those little function keys at the top of your keyboard do? You’ve probably only used them to adjust your volume or screen brightness, but they actually do a lot more. Keep in mind that some of these function key shortcuts are different depending on the type of computer you have. You are also able to change these features, and some computers come with pre-set functions for these keys that you have to change manually.

So before slamming the keyboard in frustration trying to get them to work, go into your settings and see how your computer has been set up. Pressing the fn button with the F keys will typically enable them to work. These 11 other keyboard shortcuts will make your life easier, too.

Here’s the answer to the mystery of those function keys. You’ll be surprised by how much they can do.


  • Opens help menu when pressed with Windows button
  • Hides/displays ribbon menu in Excel and Word when hit with Control button


  • Alt + Ctrl + F2 opens Document Library in Microsoft Office
  • Allows you to edit the selected folder or file name in Windows Explorer
  • Edits the active cell in Microsoft Excel
  • Ctrl + F2 displays a print preview in Microsoft Word


  • Opens search feature in Windows Explorer
  • Shift + F3 lets you change from lowercase to uppercase to all caps in Word
  • Opens find feature in Firefox and Chrome
  • Opens Mission Control on an Apple computer running macOS X


  • Alt + F4 closes window
  • Places the cursor in the address bar in Explorer


  • Starts slideshow in PowerPoint
  • Refreshes Internet browser pages
  • Ctrl + F5 will completely refresh a web page, clearing the cache and downloads all content again
  • Opens Find and Replace in Microsoft Office


  • Goes to the next page in a split screen in Microsoft Word
  • Ctrl + Shift + F6 lets you easily switch between Word documents


  • Alt + F7 does a spelling and grammar check in Microsoft Word
  • Shift + F7 open Thesaurus in Microsoft Word


  • In Excel, enables extend mode for arrow keys
  • Enables safe mode in Windows
  • Displays a thumbnail image for all workspaces in macOS


  • Refreshes document in Microsoft Word
  • Sends and receives emails in Outlook
  • Ctrl + F9 inserts empty fields into Word
  • Displays a thumbnail for each window in a single workspace in macOS 10.3 or later


  • Opens menu bar
  • Ctrl + F10 maximizes window in Word
  • Shift + F10 does the same thing as a right-click


  • Exits and enter full-screen mode in browsers
  • Shift + F11 adds a new spreadsheet in Excel
  • Hides all open windows and shows the desktop in macOS 10.4 or later


  • Opens Save As in Word
  • Shift + F12 saves Word document
  • Ctrl + F12 opens Word document
  • Ctrl + Shift + F12 prints Word document
  • In macOS 10.4 or later, F12 shows and hides the dashboard

Now that you know what all those function keys do, make sure you know these 15 common computer mistakes you should have stopped making already.

Which key allows you to stop a function or action
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Which key allows you to stop a function or action

Which key allows you to stop a function or action
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Which key allows you to stop a function or action

The Ctrl key: explanation and important shortcuts

The Ctrl key only has a function when it is combined with other keys. There are a variety of Ctrl key shortcuts which enable you to perform common commands in programs or in the operating system with exceptional speed. These can save time because you no longer need to access a function using the mouse or accessing it via the menu. We have compiled an overview of the most important shortcuts for...

The Ctrl key: explanation and important shortcuts

Which key allows you to stop a function or action

Fn key: How to enable or disable the Fn button

Did you know that on very small keyboards there is a numeric keypad you can activate? You can access this along with other useful functions by using the Fn key. If you want to be able to use these functions without having to use a keyboard shortcut, all you need to do is enable or disable this key. In this article, we’ll show you how to do this and which specific functions you need to be able to...

Fn key: How to enable or disable the Fn button

Which key allows you to stop a function or action

Alt key: basics and important key combinations

On its own, the Alt key has no assigned function. In combination with other keys, however, it allows quick access to commands in Windows and its programs. By using these key combinations, you can save time and work more efficiently. We’ve summarized the most important shortcuts and key combinations for using the Alt key.

Alt key: basics and important key combinations

Which key allows you to stop a function or action

The Shift key – functions and keyboard shortcuts

The most important function of the Shift key is to switch between uppercase and lowercase letters. These two keys on the bottom left and right side of the keyboard originate from the days of mechanical typewriters. The Shift keys on your keyboard have a range of other interesting functions on your Windows PC. In this article, we’ll walk you through them.

The Shift key – functions and keyboard shortcuts

Updated: 02/07/2022 by Computer Hope

Which key allows you to stop a function or action

Located near the top-right of most PC keyboards, sharing the break key (as shown here), the pause key may be used to temporarily halt a computer process. For example, the pause key could be used to momentarily stop a computer game, like Deus Ex or the Call of Duty games, while the user steps away.

Depending on the program or the specific action desired, users may need to press Shift or Ctrl plus the pause key to pause a program or game. On a computer with the Microsoft Windows operating system, users can also press Windows key and Pause to bring up the System Properties window.

The most common use for the pause key today is to pause the screen output from the BIOS when a computer is first booting up.

The Pause key may be abbreviated as Pa or Pause and is found with the other control keys on the keyboard. Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the Pause key highlighted in blue.

Which key allows you to stop a function or action


On Apple computer keyboards, the Pause key may be missing and have an F15 function key instead.

Where is a Pause key on a laptop keyboard?

Which key allows you to stop a function or action

The Pause key on a laptop is often part of another key near Backspace, as shown in the picture. If a laptop uses two keys as one key, you must press Fn with the second key you want to use. On a laptop, the Scr Lk, Pause, and Break functions are usually part of another key and are in blue text.

To use these keys, press Fn and the key with the blue text you want to use. In the example picture, Pause is part of the Insert key, so you would need to press Fn and Insert to execute the Pause functionality.


With laptops there's no standard placement for the Pause key. Your laptop may not have the same configuration as shown in the picture. However, all PCs follow the same steps mentioned above.


Smaller, more compact laptops may not include a Pause key.

How to resume from a pause

If you're using a program where the Pause key pauses the program or the output (e.g., pressing pause as the computer boots). You can resume from the pause by pressing the Enter.

  • Computer keyboard keys and explanations.
  • Keyboard help and support.

Break, Control keys, Keyboard terms, Pause