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Function Keys in Mac OS 9 by Cindy O'Hora

At the top of many keyboards are function keys. They are each labeled with the letter F and a number. These keys can be used to automate activities in your Mac. You can assign actions to F Keys, customizing your computer to how you work.

Here is how:

1. Go: Apple Menu ... Control Panels ... Keyboard.

2. Click on the Function keys button at the bottom of the box.

3. The Hot Function Keys box offers 12 slots. Each of them probably says "Nothing Assigned".

4. Open your AppleWorks folder. Drag the AppleWorks icon to the box next to F1. You'll see the icon and the title AppleWorks appear in the slot.

5. Click okay. Close the Keyboard control panel.


Using the key:

Hold down the option key and hit the F1 key. AppleWorks will promptly launch!


You can eliminate the necessity of using the option key.

Return to the Hot Function Keys Panel and unclick the Function Keys Setting box.


Harnessing this feature:

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If you are working with a specific program, drag ... drop it (as described above) on to one of the function keys. Direct everyone to use the key for access. You will eliminate students wandering in the computer. When you are finished using the program, you can deactivate the hot F key or redirect to another program.


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You can add Internet Location files internet location file iconto F keys. Make one for the web site you are using in class. Attach it to an F key. It will launch IE (if installed) and take you to the site.

If you are using Netscape (which does not support Internet Location files):

1. Open the bookmark file.

2. Drag the site's bookmark to the Desktop.

3. Drag ... drop the bookmark's icon to the function key you desire. Don't trash the icon or you'll loose the connection.

If a student wanders away from the site, hit the F key to put them right back. No need for mousing to the bookmark, or back button clicking or worse yet reentering the whole address after an accidental shut down.


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Apply your email program to an F key. You can then eliminate its alias on the desktop or quit burrowing in all those folders to find it.


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Connect a project you are currently developing or your most frequently used database to one.


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Finally, make an attention getting sound file. Attach it to an F key. Stop shouting to be heard. Just hit the key. I suggest you change it on occasion for continued effectiveness.

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©2001 Cynthia O'Hora All rights reserved. posted 7/2001 by Cindy O'Hora

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