What does fn on a keyboard mean and what does it do?

What does fn on the keyboard mean?

Fn means “function” and it can be used to form key combinations with other keys for control purposes.

The Fn button is usually found on laptop keyboards or other compact layout keyboards, and it allows you to compact the keyboard layout and combine separate function keys. Of course, you can also find traces of it on some multi-function keyboards, but at this time its function is to lock the Fn function key – F-lock. Most keyboards have at least 12 function keys, usually called F keys, which are usually located at the top of the keyboard. Through the combination of Fn and F1 to 2, you can adjust the notebook screen brightness, sound volume, turn off the screen display, Disable the trackpad, turn on/off Wi-Fi, etc., or supplement the keys that desktops have but laptops omit.

Similar to keys such as Ctrl, shift, and Alt, the Fn key is a modifier key. On laptops, the Fn key is generally in the second position from the bottom left, and on a full-size keyboard or otherwise, it may be in the second position to the right of the space bar. Usually, pressing the Fn key alone has no effect. It needs to be pressed in combination with F1 to F12 to work.

Also, in many cases the F1 to F12 function keys do not function the same. The specific function of the Fn function key is defined by the operating system or the currently running program. Below is a list of some of the features that are commonly available in most Microsoft applications, but not all programs.

Common functions of F1 to F12 on Windows:

  • F1: If you are in a selected program and need help, press F1. If you’re not in any program, but in Explorer or on the desktop, pressing F1 will bring up the Windows Help program. If you are working on a program and want to get Windows help, you need to press Win+F1. Press Shift+F1 and the help message “What’s This?” will appear.
  • F2: If a file or folder is selected in the Explorer, pressing F2 will rename the selected file or folder.
  • F3: Press F3 on the resource manager or desktop, and the “Search File” window will appear, so if you want to search for a file in a folder, you can quickly open the search window by pressing the F3 key directly. And the search scope is already set to that folder by default. Likewise, pressing it in Windows Media Player brings up the “Add to library by searching computer” window.
  • F4: This key is used to open the address bar list in IE. To close the IE window, you can use Alt+F4 key combination.
  • F5: Used to refresh the content of the current window in IE or Explorer.
  • F6: You can quickly locate the address bar in Explorer and IE.
  • F7: It has no effect in Windows, it works in the DOS window, it displays some DOS commands that have been used recently, that is to say, after you enter some commands in the command line, the system will automatically record it, but it needs to be recorded again. When entering the same command, directly press the up and down arrow symbols to call up the corresponding command. Similarly, F7 is to list all the used ones, and the record will be cleared after closing the window.
  • F8: Can be used to display the boot menu when starting the computer. Some computers can also press this key at the beginning of the computer startup to quickly call up the startup setting menu, from which you can quickly choose whether to boot from a floppy disk, a CD-ROM, or directly from a hard disk, without having to enter the BIOS to modify the boot sequence. In addition, you can also accept Microsoft’s installation agreement when installing Windows.
  • F9: Also has no effect in Windows. But in Windows Media Player it can be used to quickly lower the volume.
  • F10: Used to activate the menu in Windows or programs, press Shift+F10 to display the right-click shortcut menu. In Windows Media Player, its function is to increase the volume.
  • F11: Can make the current explorer or IE become full screen.
  • F12: Also has no effect in Windows. But in Word, pressing it quickly pops up the save as file window.

What the Fn key does on Lenovo laptops:

  • FN+Esc: close/open the camera
  • FN+F1: Put the computer into sleep mode
  • FN+F2: Turn off/on the LED screen backlight
  • FN+F3: Switch to other connected display devices
  • FN+F4: Toggle between widescreen and normal mode
  • FN+F5: Invoke the wireless device on/off control interface
  • FN+F6: Enable/disable trackpad
  • FN+F8: Enable/disable numeric keypad
  • FN+F9: Play/Pause Media Player playback
  • FN+F10: Stop Media Player playback
  • FN+F11: Skip to the previous track
  • FN+F12: Skip to the next track
  • FN+PgUp/ScrLk: enable/disable scroll lock
  • FN+PrtSc/SysRq: System request key
  • FN+Up/Down key: Increase/decrease display brightness
  • FN+Right/Left Arrow: Increase/decrease computer volume
  • FN+PgUp: Move the cursor to the beginning of the line
  • FN+PgDn: move the cursor to the end of the line
  • FN+Nmlk: enable/disable numeric keypad

What the Fn key does on a MacBook:

  • Fn+Left direction: Home key
  • Fn+right direction: End key
  • Fn+up direction: PageUP
  • Fn+Down direction: PageDOWN
  • Fn+delete key: delete forward
  • Fn+Esc: close/open the camera
  • Fn+F1: Put the computer into sleep mode
  • Fn+F2: Turn off/on the LED screen backlight
  • Fn+F3: Switch to other connected display devices
  • Fn+F4: toggle between widescreen and normal mode
  • Fn+F5: Invoke the wireless device on/off control interface
  • Fn+F6: Enable/disable trackpad
  • Fn+F8: Enable/disable numeric keypad
  • Fn+F9: Play/Pause Media Player playback
  • Fn+F10: Stop Media Player playback
  • Fn+F11: Skip to the previous track
  • Fn+F12: Skip to the next track
  • Fn+PgUp/ScrLk: enable/disable scroll lock
  • Fn+PrtSc/SysRq: system request key


How do I lock and unlock the Fn key?

If your keyboard has an Fn lock or F lock key, pressing it will turn the Fn key on or off. Sometimes Fn lcok is printed directly as Fn lock, and sometimes it is printed as Fn with a small lock, depending on your computer model. When Fn lock is on, the F1 to F12 function keys work.

How do I use the Fn key on my laptop?

To use the Fn key, just press the Fn button and press its key combination to use the Fn shortcut normally.

Why are my Fn keys not working?

In many cases, the Fn key doesn’t work because the Fn lock key is accidentally pressed. Just hit Fn lock and press it again to unlock the Fn key.

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