Functions of Keyboard Keys & Its Shortcuts

By Dominic Chooper on March 13, 2022

It is important for every frequent user of a computer that they know about the functions of the keys of a computer keyboard along with the shortcut keys.

The keyboard shortcuts are typically a combination of two or more keys that invokes a command in an operating system or software. With the use of a few keystrokes you can increase your productivity.

Since the keyboard is the most common input device of a computer, knowing about all the keys is essential. The keys of the keyboard and its shortcuts will save you from the hassle of using the mouse or accessing the menu frequently.


The Functions of Keyboard Keys and Its Shortcuts

Functions of Keyboard Keys

You can communicate with your computer with every keystroke made on the keyboard.

However, these keys do not only represent characters but also give specific commands to the software program when specific keys are pressed, either solo or in combination.

In order to know about all the functions of the keys of your keyboard, you will need to know about the layout first.

Considering that you are using a standard, full size, QWERTY keyboard, you will find that there are more than a hundred keys on it.

Some of these have single impressions while a few others have two impressions, and each of these have different functions to perform.

Typically, the keys of a standard computer keyboard can be classified into eight different heads such as:

Though the basic keys, such as the alphabets and a few others, are located in the space in all keyboards, the other keys may not have the same location. It all depends on the design of the keyboard.

However, here is the list of all the keys of a computer keyboard along with their functions and shortcut keys compiled just for you.

Alphabet Keys:

The alphabetic keys on the keyboard match the layout of a standard typewriter and include all 26 English alphabets from A to Z.

Number Keys:

The number keys are positioned on the top of the alphabetic keys, usually in the second row of the keyboard.

These keys include numbers 0 to 9. However, these keys also have punctuations and special characters marked on top that can be printed by pressing a key and the SHIFT key simultaneously.

There are different special characters marked and all may not be on top of the number keys.

However, the list of special characters marked on different keys of a keyboard includes:

Ø – greater than

Aero Keys:

You will find these keys placed at the right side of the alphabetic keys. This is a group of 4 keys such as:

Numeric and Logical Keys:

These keys are located at the extreme right side of the keyboard chassis on normal keyboards.

There are ten number keys from 0 to 9 positioned just like a calculator or a telephone dial pad but it is upside down.

There are also 4 arithmetic functions or logical keys for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

This is called the numeric keypad which can also be used to control the cursor. All you have to do is toggle the NUM LOCK key to use it as a cursor control pad.

Function Keys:

The function or functional keys are usually located at the top of the keyboard chassis.

Just as the name signifies, the function keys serve different functions both alone as well as in combination with some other keys of the keyboard.

As of now, there are 12 such keys available that are marked from F1 to F12 and each has different functions to perform such as:


This key with Windows key opens the Help menu.


In MS-Excel, this key edits the active cell.

In MS-Word, pressing Ctrl + F2 together displays a print preview.

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In MS-DOS, this function key repeats the last command.

In Windows Explorer, the key opens a search feature.

In MS Word, Ctrl+F3 lowercases the highlighted text and Shift+F3 changes the highlighted text from upper case to lowercase or changes the beginning letter of every word of the highlighted text to a capital letter.


Pressing the Alt+F4 keys together closes a currently active program in Microsoft Windows. Ctrl+F4 acts as a shortcut key usually to close a window or tab within a program.


This key refreshes or reloads a page or a document window.

And, pressing Ctrl+F5 keys together refresh a web page and clear the cache.

In MS-PowerPoint it starts a slideshow.


Pressing Ctrl+Shift+F6 is used to switch between word documents.


The F7 key is used to check spell and grammar in MS Word and Outlook and also to view the history of all of the commands entered in a window.


This key enters Windows startup menu that is usually used to access Windows Safe Mode.

In macOS, it displays a thumbnail image of the workspaces.


It refreshes a document in MS-Word.

It is also used to send and receive emails in MS Outlook.


It is used to enter BIOS setup when the computer is booting.

Ctrl + F10 maximize the window in MS-Word.


Ctrl+F11 helps in accessing the hidden recovery partition on several computers.


In MS-Word, Ctrl+F12 opens a document, Shift+F12 saves the document, and Ctrl+Shift+F12 prints the document.

On many computers this key is used to Get to Boot Menu.

Special Keys and Their Functions:

Multimedia Key:

These keys perform a few specific entertainment functions. However, these keys may not be included in a standard 104-key keyboard.

These keys include Play/Pause, Mute, Music Media Player, and Volume+ or Volume-.

Internet Key:

This key is very special and allows accessing Internet Explorer easily.

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Common Control Key Shortcuts:

Microsoft Windows Shortcut Keys:

Different programs may have different functions for the same type of short cut keys. Here are the few common shortcut keys for Microsoft Windows:

Microsoft Word Shortcut Keys:

Quite a few of these shortcuts used in Microsoft Word may be same as others but these are the most common ones used here.

Other Common Keyboard Shortcuts:

There are a few other shortcut keys that you can use by pressing the WINDOWS key in particular along with other keys. These are:

Excel Shortcut Keys:

Here are a few common shortcut keys used in MS Excel:

Shortcut Keys for Outlook:

Here are a few shortcut keys that will simplify things when you send an email through Microsoft Outlook.

So, make use of these shortcut keys from now on to complete your computing tasks with ease.


So, with that exhaustive list of different keys of a computer keyboard along with the functions and shortcuts, you now know how useful the keyboard can be.

If you remember these and use them often, you may not have to touch that mouse or track pad often as you did before reading this article.