Tips To Use the Function Keys on a Gaming Keyboard Like a Pro

A standard keyboard comes with 101 keys. The keys are divided into groups based on their functions. These groups include alpha-numeric keys, control keys, navigation keys, numeric keys, and function keys. Each group of keys is important and has specific uses, and many of these special keys can be used in conjunction with the function key on a gaming keyboard.

Function keys on a gaming keyboard are not just for professional gamers, but also for regular computer users. They provide quick access to various features such as taking screenshots, hiding the cursor, or displaying details related to FPS and Ping. For example, the F12 key can take screenshots when playing League of Legends, F2 to take a screenshot when playing Minecraft, F1 to hide the cursor or palm, and F3 to see game details.  

Function keys are in the top row of keys on your keyboard, and they’re easily identified by an “F” and a number (F1, F2, F3, and so on). These keys perform shortcuts to certain functions (hence their name), and they have different actions assigned to them depending on what app you’re using. In a web browser, F5 refreshes the current web page, but in PowerPoint, it starts your slideshow. Some function keys are more universal, like F1 to open a help window in most apps. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what the function keys are on the keyboard and what they’re used for. We’ll also talk about how to use these keys to play certain games. Finally, we’ll address reasons why the function keys are important for gaming and how to assign specific actions to function keys. 

The function keys on a gaming keyboard are found in the top row of keys of a keyboard.
Function keys are in the top row of keys on your keyboard, and they’re easily identified by an “F” and a number. Image Source: Amazon.

What Are the Function Keys on a Keyboard Used For?

Function keys on a keyboard are used to perform specific tasks. Unlike other keys, the function keys can be used to control the operating system of a computer. 

Function keys often have alternative uses. When pressed, they perform a specific function; however, when combined with a modifier key such as Shift, Alt, or Ctrl, they perform an alternate function. The F-keys’ functioning varies depending on the program. For some keyboards, the function keys will only work when combined with the Fn key. This is frequently determined by the keyboard and operating system.

According to this article from, Function keys have printed icons on their key caps that explain their functions, and each function key is used to execute different instructions when using your computer. They are known as enhanced function keys and allow you to quickly access routinely used commands, which can boost your productivity and performance. These commands are usually displayed above or on the keys. According to this article from Microsoft, the functionality of each key differs from program to program. 

This YouTube video by SoftTech Tutorials explains how to enable and disable the function keys when using Windows 10.

The function keys can be used to execute various commands while using a keyboard for typing and for gaming.
The function keys as highlighted can be used to control the operating system of a computer. Image Source: Amazon.

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Generic Uses of Keyboard Function Keys

Function Key Uses
F1 Used by programs for opening Help
F2 Used for renaming files and folders 
F3 Used to search for files and content in various apps
F4 It’s pressed simultaneously with the Alt key to close an active program
F5 Used for refreshing the contents of the web pages you visit using web browsers
F6 Doesn't have a standard use in Windows 
F7 Doesn't have a standard use in Windows
F8 If you use Windows 7 or earlier, pressing the F8 key during the boot process will display the Windows startup menu
F9 Doesn't have a standard use in Windows
F10 Used to enable the menu of a program
F11 Used to display the current web page in full-screen mode when pressed inside a web browser
F12 Used by web browsers to open the developer tools

Why Do You Need Function Keys for Gaming?

The function keys are important keys on the keyboard and are used in various popular games. However, their importance is relative to each game. 

Function keys on a gaming keyboard play a vital role in enhancing the gaming experience. They can be programmed as shortcuts to increase speed and efficiency in gameplay. Additionally, they provide quick access to important game information, making them a must-have for serious gamers as they are essential for certain games. 

Most gamers are unaware of how important function keys are, and those who use smaller keyboards can assign functions to other keys. 

Below are a few reasons you might need the function keys for gaming: 

Some games would be difficult to play without the function keys that are found on a gaming keyboard.
Function keys offer more input options and specific commands on the keyboard. Image Source: Wikipedia.

You may also be interested in learning about the different gaming keyboard types and how to choose the right one. If so, be sure to check out our related article to learn more.

Reason 1. Function Keys Make Gaming Faster

Function keys have a dedicated row at the top of the keyboard for some keyboard sizes, according to this article from This makes them easily accessible. Players will easily and quickly reach the function keys for games with actions mapped to some of them. Our gaming keyboard diagram guide lists the three most popular keyboard layouts and shows the position of the function keys on each one. 

Reason 2. Function Keys Make Accessing Game Details Faster

The alternative for gamers who use keyboards like this that don’t come with function keys is to use the FN key with another key. A second choice will be to map the use of the function key as designed in the game to another key. Both of these options often require time and much effort. Hence, simply going for a keyboard with dedicated function keys makes accessing game details faster. If you are interested in buying a fast gaming keyboard like this that will improve your speed and accuracy when gaming, then take a look at our article about choosing the fastest keyboard. 

Reason 3. Function Keys Are Important For Certain Types Of Games

The option to remap the use of some function keys to other keys often doesn’t entirely solve the need for function keys in certain games. It’s possible, but it’s not entirely advisable. Function keys are preferable for key-bind-heavy games like Dota 2, MMO, and RTS (Warcraft, Starcraft, etc).

You might also find interest in learning how to choose a gaming keyboard for someone with big hands. Be sure to read our related article to find out more. You may also be interested in adding a gaming keyboard stand to your gaming setup. If so, our related article will give you all the information you need to find the right one.

The Use of the F1 to F12 Keys on the Inspiron 15 7000

Function keys on a gaming keyboard are not just for gaming purposes, they also provide alternate characters and perform ancillary operations. Like other keys on the keyboard, the function keys display two symbols, one for when the key is pushed and the other when shift is pressed. This allows for quick access to various features and characters.   

The symbols at the bottom of the function keys, found in the top row of the keyboard, indicate that these keys are function keys for multi-media control. To activate the task indicated by the icon, press that function key along with the  Fn key.

In order to provide gamers and regular computer users with more keyboard functionality, certain keys with specific keystroke combinations enable more functionality with the limited number of keys available and provide a good user experience. Our article that discusses how many keys are on a gaming keyboard explains the various keyboard configurations and what keys might be left off the keyboards in specific designs. 

Summary of Function keys

Function Key Used With Fn Key - For Multimedia Control Command
Image: F1 key Image: Fn+F1 Mute audio
Image: F2 key Image: Fn+F2 Decrease volume
Image: F3 key Image: Fn+F3 Increase volume
Image: F4 key Image: Fn+F4 Play previous track/chapter
Image: F5 key Image: Fn+F5 Play/Pause
Image: F6 key Image: Fn+F6 Play next track/chapter
Image: F8 key Image: Fn+F8 Switch to external display
Image: F9 key Image: Fn+F9 Search
Image: F10 key Image: Fn+F10 Toggle keyboard backlight (optional)
Image: F11 key Image: Fn+F11 Decrease brightness
Image: F12 key Image: Fn+F12 Increase brightness

How To Use Gaming Keyboard Function Keys To Play Games

Have you ever wished you could perform some moves with just one or a combination of keys on your keyboard when playing games? Well, beyond just being used to increase the brightness of your screen or mute audio, the function keys of your keyboard can also function as hotkeys in games. For example, our article about E-gaming keyboard shortcuts explains some of the most popular key combinations and how they assist with speed when gaming. 

In Counter-Strike use the F1 and F2 keys to automatically buy equipment and re-buy previous equipment respectively. In Dota 2, use F1 to select the main hero, and use F9 and F10 to pause spectators and show the broadcaster’s menu respectively. Finally use F12 to take a screenshot in League of Legends.

The function keys are often used with other keys to execute the actions in some of these games.

Below is a list of games, each with a list of function keys that can be used to perform certain actions:

1. Counter-strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a multiplayer first-person shooter released in 2012 by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment. It is the fourth installment in the Counter-Strike franchise. Below is a list of function keys used as hotkeys in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Keys Use
F1 Automatically buy equipment 
F2 Re-buy previous equipment
F4 Report a bug
F12 Take a screenshot

2. Dota 2

Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena video game where millions of players worldwide enter the battle as one of over a hundred Dota Heroes in a 5v5 team clash. By default, the game uses default hotkey settings but the game makes other hotkey templates available. Below are hotkeys unique to the function keys for several aspects of the game:

UNT Action

Key Use
F1 Select main hero

Spectator Control

Key Use
F9 Spectator pause
F10 Open broadcaster menu

Game Stats

Key Use
F4 Opens a stat window
F5 Displays all players’ items
F6 Displays gold graphs of both teams
F7 Displays spectator graphs of team
F8 Displays fantasy points of all players from the current game

Toggling Vision

Key Use
F1 Toggle to show the vision of both teams
F2 Toggle to show Radiant team's vision
F3 Toggle to show Dire team’s vision

Shop Actions

Key Use
F2 Select courier
F3 Transfer items
F4 Toggle shop panel
F5 Purchases the next item in the Quick Buy
F8 Purchases item in the sticky

3. League of Legends

League of Legends, sometimes known as League, is a multiplayer online combat arena video game created and distributed by Riot Games in 2009. Riot's creators were inspired by Defense of the Ancients, a custom map for Warcraft III, and wanted to create a standalone game in the same genre. League currently has over 8  million players worldwide. If you love League, then below are hotkeys you can use in your next game.

Keys Use
Alt+Q or Q+F1 Cast champion's 1st ability on self (must be a support spell)
Alt+W or W+F1 Cast champion's 2nd ability on self (must be a support spell)
Alt+E or E+F1 Cast champion's 3rd ability on self (must be a support spell)
Alt+R or R+F1 Cast champion's ultimate ability on self (must be a support spell)
F2-F5 Move the camera to the corresponding ally champion (camera must be unlocked)
F12 Take a screenshot
Certain function keys on a gaming keyboard can be used to execute commands when playing League of Legends.
League of Legends currently has over 8  million players worldwide. Image Source:

How to Assign Function Keys On a Keyboard – Logitech Gaming Keyboards

The function keys on a gaming keyboard, like every other key on the keyboard, have specific default functions. However, alternate functions can be assigned to them using the operating system of the computer, generic software or the custom software of the keyboard brand. 

To assign function keys on a Logitech gaming keyboard to specific tasks, first install Logitech Setpoint Software, then activate it and navigate to the My Keyboard tab. To reassign a task to an F-key, highlight the F-key in the “Select HotKey” section, select the task in the “Select Task” section, and click the “Assign” button. 

To customize a Logitech keyboard like this one, you need to download and install the Logitech Options software here. This software comes with a lot of features to enable users to modify the speed of the cursor and adjust scrolling, create custom shortcut keys, as well as disable and enable keys. You might find our article, which guides you through the steps to reset your Logitech keyboard, an interesting read. 

Logitec has very useful software to help assign different functions to the function keys found on Logitech gaming keyboards.
The Logitech G-series keyboards are best used with their Logitech Options software to enhance functionality. Image Source: Amazon.

Follow these steps to assign functions to the function keys on a keyboard:

Step 1. Open the Settings Window

Double-click the Keyboard Settings icon as seen on the desktop. then click the “My Keyboard” tab. Upon doing that, a series of tabs will appear on the left. 

First, open the settings window and navigate to “MY Keyboard."
The Logitech Options software allows for customized keyboard settings. Image Source:

Step 2. Navigate From the Settings Page To Assign New Functions to the Function Keys

Select the keyboard F-key Settings. A window will be displayed showing F-keys to which tasks can be assigned. Next, select the F-key list and highlight the F-key to be reassigned. Next, select the Task list and highlight the new task. Once done, click OK to save the new F-key assignments.

Different tasks can be assigned to the function keys of your gaming keyboard.
The F-key settings dialogue box allows users to assign specific functions to the F-keys. Image Source:


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