Updated: 12/31/2020 by Computer Hope
The F2 key is a function key found at the top of almost all computer keyboards. The key is most often used in Microsoft Windows to rename a highlighted file or icon. F2 also has many uses depending on the computer and program, as mentioned below.
How to use the F2 key
Open the program that uses the key and press F2. If the F2 key also has an icon on the key, it indicates the key has a secondary function. To use the secondary function, press and hold down the Fn key, and while continuing to hold the key, press F2.
If when pressing the F2 key the secondary function is performed (e.g., mutes audio), the function keys are the secondary function. For example, on an Apple computer, to press F2, hold down the fn key, and press F2.
If the FnLk (function lock) is enabled, the keyboard acts as if the Fn key is being pressed until it is unlocked.
Information about what the secondary function may be is found on the below secondary function of F2 section.
Where is the F2 key used?
The following list is all of the locations the F2 key can be used with information about how it’s used.
In Microsoft Windows and Windows program, when an icon, file, or folder is highlighted or selected, pressing F2 renames the file. For example, you could open a folder in Explorer, select a file, and press F2. Once pressed, the file is highlighted, and you can type a new name for the file.
If multiple files are selected when you press F2 to rename a file, all selected files take on the new name. For example, if you had three different named files selected, press F2, and rename a file to “test,” all three files use that name and become “test (1),” “test (2),” and “test (3).”
In Microsoft Excel, F2 edits the active cell. For example, you could use the arrow keys to navigate to a cell containing text you want to edit. Once the cell is highlighted, press F2 to edit the cell and then add text or otherwise edit the text in the cell.
Pressing Ctrl+F2 displays the print preview window in Microsoft Word.
Pressing Alt+Ctrl+F2 opens the open document window in Microsoft Word and allows you to select a document to open in Word.
In Notepad++, pressing Ctrl+F2 creates a bookmark on a line in a file. Pressing F2 cycles through the available bookmarks in a file.
Enter BIOS setup
On many PCs, as the computer is booting, you’ll see an option to press the F2 key to enter setup. Pressing F2 when this message is displayed enters the BIOS or CMOS setup.
The secondary function of F2
For laptop keyboards and desktop computer keyboards with the Fn key, each function key has two functions. Unfortunately, there’s no standard to what each key uses as its secondary function, so every keyboard is different. Below is a list of different keyboards and their secondary function for the F2 key.
Apple keyboard F2 key
On Apple keyboards, the default F2 key primary function increases the screen’s brightness. Pressing the fn+F2 for the secondary function is F2.
Cooler Master keyboard F2 key
On Cooler Master desktop keyboards, the F2 secondary function is one of the following options depending on the model.
- With a single-color keyboard backlight keyboards, FN+F2 decreases the backlight brightness.
- With a multiple backlight colors (RGB) keyboard, FN+F2 adjusts the red color levels.
Dell keyboard F2 key
On Dell laptop keyboards, the F2 key secondary function is to mute and unmute the volume.
HP keyboard F2 key
On Hewlett-Packard laptop keyboards with a brightness or sun icon on the F2 key, the secondary F2 function decreases the screen brightness.
Lenovo ThinkPad F2 key
On the IBM and Lenovo ThinkPad keyboards with a speaker icon next to a minus, the F2 key secondary function turns down the volume.
Logitech keyboard F2 key
On Logitech keyboards with a two box symbol on the key, the F2 key secondary function switches between open applications in Windows or opens Mission Control on macOS.
Microsoft Surface F2 key
On the Microsoft Surface laptops, the F2 key secondary function is to increase the screen brightness.
Below are links to related keyboard shortcuts and individual key pages.
Fn, Function keys, Keyboard, Keyboard terms