function key


Also found in: Dictionary, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

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).
References in periodicals archive ?
As you work along in Word, you'll notice from time to time the assortment of function keys will change depending on what you're doing.
Pressing a function key will move the cursor to the next spot in the article at which a pop-up of any kind is available.
Specifically, the SpacePilot PRO features a new color LCD Workflow Assistant, second-generation QuickView Navigation technology, Intelligent Function keys, and an improved design for enhanced comfort and control.
On the positive side, the function keys necessary to perform operations are conveniently displayed onscreen and the functions are consistent across the program.
The customizable function keys allow users to create their own keyboard templates for many of the commands, menu items and toolbar choices in eSignal, including keystroke assignment for virtually every advanced chart toolbar function.
The NVP 200 QC Series of DROs feature dedicated function keys, die cast casing, multiple datum memory, feature memory, fiber optic edge detection, automatic form recognition and linear and non-linear error correction.
The option of relegendable function keys provides the opportunity for performing specific tasks with specialized software.
Users affix these labels to their function keys to remind them what they have set up their function keys to do.
I personally like one with the function keys on both the top and the left.
Function Keys: Function keys are the special "F" keys on the computer keyboard, labeled F1 through F10 or F12.
Instead of hard-to-use thumbwheels and obscure function keys that require stacks of user manuals and reference guides to figure out, this controller is intuitive and clear, according to the manufacturer.
All alphabetical keys, as well as the most frequently used symbols and function keys, are either inside the "walls" or just outside the walls.