Why is Alt+F4 the hotkey for closing a window? Why not Alt+F5 or Alt+F3?

Raymond Chen

In a One Dev Question video, I discussed why Alt+F4 is the hotkey for closing a window. That explains why it’s a function key rather than an alphabet key, but why F4 specifically? Why not F5 or F3?

It’s F4 because that was the next key available.

The hotkeys according to CUA were as follows:

  • Alt+F10: Maximize
  • Alt+F9: Minimize
  • Alt+F8: Resize
  • Alt+F7: Move
  • Alt+F6: Switch windows within an app
  • Alt+F5: Restore
  • Alt+F4: Close

Most of these hotkeys died out over time due to disuse. The ones that remain active today are Alt+F6 and Alt+F4.

Wait, what about F11 and F12? Why were they skipped over?

The original IBM PC keyboard didn’t have F11 or F12 function keys. The function keys went up to F10.


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