function key

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Related to Function key 1: Fn key

function key

[′fəŋk·shən ‚kē]
(computer science)
A special key on a keyboard to control a mechanical function, initiate a specific computer operation, or transmit a signal that would otherwise require multiple key strokes.

function key

(hardware)
(From the IBM 3270 terminal's Programmed Function Keys (PF keys)) One of a set of special keys on a computer or terminal keyboard which can be programmed so as to cause an application program to perform certain actions.

Function keys on a terminal may either generate short fixed sequences of characters, often beginning with the escape character (ASCII 27), or the characters they generate may be configured by sending special character sequences to the terminal.

On a microcomputer keyboard, the function keys may generate a fixed, single byte code, outside the normal ASCII range, which is translated into some other configurable sequence by the keyboard device driver or interpreted directly by the application program.

function key

A set of keyboard keys that are used to command the computer. Typically 12 keys labeled F1, F2, etc., their purpose is dependent on which operating system and application are running at the time they are pressed. Each key can be made to perform up to seven separate operations: the key pressed alone or with one or more of the Shift, Control and Alt keys held down at the same time. On the Mac, the Command and Option keys are the Control and Alt key counterparts.


Across the Top
Function keys (F keys) are typically located in a horizontal row across the top above the numeric keys. They may also be only on the left side or repeated on the left side of the keyboard.







Special Function Keys
Many keyboards have additional keys for launching applications, playing media and opening folders (see special function key).







A Different Function Key
Although "Fn" stands for "function," the Fn key is entirely different from F1, F2, etc. Holding down Fn activates a dual-purpose key (see Fn key).