The most USELESS keys on a QWERTY keyboard – and unknown shortcuts

The most USELESS keys on a QWERTY keyboard – and the sneaky shortcuts you’re not using

  • Typing on a keyboard may have become second nature for many of us
  • But would you know what the Scroll Lock key does or what the Menu button is?
  • MailOnline has compiled a list of unused buttons on a keyboard and what they do

Typing on a keyboard has become second nature for many of us, with some masters able to do it with their eyes shut.

But, if asked what the Scroll Lock function is or what the Menu button does, could you answer?

While alphabet, numerical and punctuation keys may be familiar to most QWERTY keyboard users, there are several buttons that fly under the radar.

Many of these are often useless when performing daily tasks, but occasionally they can be hidden gems for sneaky shortcuts. 

MailOnline has compiled a list of the more mysterious buttons on the QWERTY keyboard and whether they can do anything for you.

Alphabet, numerical and punctuation keys may be familiar to most keyboard users 

The most useless keys  

Scroll Lock 

Located near the top right side of your keyboard, the Scroll Lock function is often overlooked.

And when pressed, it’s likely that you will not see any visible effect on your screen as a result.

Can this be useful?

Just sometimes – the button can be used to alter the behaviour of certain program functions, such as scrolling abilities.

Generally, when using Excel, the arrow keys can be moved to scroll up or down one cell at a time when Scroll Lock is disabled.

But when turned on, arrow keys can be used to scroll through the worksheet area more quickly – moving one row up/down or one column left/right at a time.

With its niche purpose, the Scroll Lock key may not prove useful unless Excel is used regularly. 

Scroll Lock is found next to Pause [Break] which is also rarely used, according to Microsoft

Pause [Break] key 

Sat in the top row of the keyboard, this button is also hardly ever used at all, according to Microsoft.

Much like Scroll Lock, it will not usually have any effect when pressed while browsing the internet or typing on Word.

Can this be useful?

Very rarely, the Pause [Break] key can – unsurprisingly – pause a program that is running.

Together with Ctrl, it can also stop running programs altogether, whether it be games or certain commands. 

Even still, Microsoft claims that it is mainly used on older programs, with more up-to-date software overlooking it.

Tilde key 

How often do you notice the Tilde button wedged beside ‘1’ and beneath the Esc button?

The squiggly-looking key at the top left side of the keyboard generally types  a ‘`’ symbol or a ‘¬’ when holding Shift.

The two symbols are most commonly used by mathematicians, with ‘¬’ used to represent logic negation Boolean algebra.

On the flip side, the backtick symbol (`) is generally used by computer programmers as a typographical mark.

Can this be useful? 

Unless you work in these professions, it is unlikely this key will come in any use to you. 

Tilde key:  This squiggly-looking symbol which types a ‘`’ symbol or a ‘¬’ when holding Shift

Insert Key

Often represented as Ins, the Insert key is likely to have no visible effect when tapped while browsing online.

Yet, perhaps unknowingly, users are actually toggling between different text settings that can be applied while typing.

By default, typed text usually appears in front of pre-existing text when writing something in a Word document.

But when Insert is tapped, this typing style can change, allowing users to delete and overwrite pre-existing text.

Can this be useful?

The Insert key may save computer users from hitting the Delete button, but it’s arguably not vital for time-saving.  

Insert: Can also be displayed as an Ins symbol and generally may not do much when pressed

READ MORE: Windows 11 is DITCHING an almost 20-year-old feature – and users are NOT happy about it 

Print Screen is a button on PC keyboards that takes a screenshot and automatically copies it so users can paste it anywhere (file photo)

The sneaky keys you’re not using 

Menu Key 

This key can be found beside Ctrl near the bottom right side of a keyboard.

Like no other button on the qwerty, this key’s symbol is usually a mini page or a few lines that appear to be text. 

When pushed, it has the same effect as a right click, opening a context menu for the current application being used.

Although this key is often forgotten about, it can be useful for those who find clicking on a laptop mousepad slightly tricky.

With this tool, computer users can dodge the pad altogether, as arrow keys can also be used to scroll through each menu option.

The Enter button can then be pressed to select a chosen option, with your hands not once leaving the keyboard. 

Function Keys 

Some users may already be familiar with these hidden gems, but if you’re not, here’s a quick rundown of what the Function keys can do.

Lined up at the top of a keyboard, these F keys run from one through to 12  and can provide quick shortcuts on a day-to-day basis.

The Menu button can be found beside Ctrl near the bottom right-hand side of a keyboard

The Menu symbol is often just a few lines or an image that appears to be a page

F1: Help

Need a hand? Pressing the F1 key can open up a help system window when searching the web. 

Here, Google can provide advice on numerous topics including the deletion of your internet history, creating a personal profile or managing an account.

F2: Renaming

As the name suggests, F2 can quickly allow documents to be renamed when looking through files and folders.

Just visit the This PC menu, click on a folder and press F2 to rename it. 

Function keys run from one to 12 and are found at the very top of a qwerty keyboard

F3: Searching

At some point or another, it’s likely that you have wanted to find a specific key term amidst endless pages on Microsoft Word.

Pressing F3 can open up a search bar to achieve just this – providing the same effect as holding the Ctrl button and letter F together.

F3: This key can be pressed to open up a search bar if you’re looking for certain key words

F4: Closing

Any window you have open – whether it is an internet browser or a Microsoft program – can be closed without using a mouse.

All you need to do is press F4 and the Alt key simultaneously and the window should immediately shut. 

F5: Refresh



Need to quickly refresh a web page? Just hit F5 and this can happen within just seconds. 

The tool may come in handy when a site appears to have crashed.  

F6 and F10: Cursor mover and selection tool

Unsurprisingly, F6 can be used to move a cursor between different subjects in a window.

When first pressing it, the cursor may select the search bar at the top of an internet browser.

Hit it again, and you’ll see the cursor move to something else – whether it be a tab or an option in the Favourites bar. 

On Microsoft Word, F6 can also be used in conjunction with Ctrl and Shift to switch between documents. 

Similarly, F10 can highlight a number of options in a Microsoft document when tapped. 

These options will be labeled with letters of the alphabet, which can then be pressed on a keyboard to select the associated option. 

F7, F8, and F9: Volume

All three of these keys can alter the volume when watching something in Windows Media Player.

While sound levels can be reduced with a tap of F8, they can also be completely muted by hitting F7.

Pressing F9 can instead turn the volume up a notch while using the software.

Despite this, some of these buttons have other unique functions that may come in handy.

Hitting Alt and F7 at the same time can be used to check spelling and grammar while using Microsoft Word.

F7 can also be tapped to open a Thesaurus in Word too when pressed in conjunction with Shift.  

Much like F5, the F9 key can be used to refresh a page as well, but it is primarily used for Microsoft Word.

F11: Full screen mode  

Computer users can enter and exit full screen mode of Google and other browsers when F11 is tapped.

This is a simple tool that could prove useful when you are looking to enlarge the size of a clip being watched in a web page.

F12:  Save As

When using Microsoft, this tool can be used to open up a Save As box, allowing users to store the latest version of a file being made.

The End key is located beside the Delete button and is often useful when typing in a document 

End Key 

The End key is another handy tool that you may be missing out on.

Found next to the Delete function, this tool is primarily used when typing up text in a document.

Hit the button, and the cursor will instantly move to the end of a text line.

It achieves the same effect as holding down the right arrow, but can do this so much quicker. 

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