How To Use F Keys on a Laptop

Chris Campbell09 Mar 2022

In the function row of modern laptop keyboards, there is a multi-purpose group of keys. These keys can be programmed to do specific actions associated with the audio volume, playback, and hardware functions. They can also be used as the traditional F1-F12 keys, but not simultaneously. By default, these keys execute specific activities, but you could choose to utilize them as ordinary F-keys, for instance, for laptop gaming. Instead of pressing and holding the Fn key each time you touch a key, you may customize what they do by default.

What Are the F Keys on a Dell Laptop?

On Dell laptops, the F1-F12 keys are frequently used to change brightness or volume, but they are capable of so much more.  The F-keys have a wide range of functions by nature, but we've narrowed down the most common ones:

  • F1. The most popular usage of the F1 key is to request assistance, which applies to practically every device. This might be the Settings menu or a support web page.
  • F2. In all modern versions of Windows, the F2 key is often used to rename a highlighted icon, file, or folder.
  • F3. The F3 key performs several roles. The most prevalent one is probably for picking the search bar when on the desktop.
  • F4. In File Explorer and most browsers, including Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, F4 launches the address bar.
  • F5. The most frequent use of F5 is to reload the present web page, which applies to all modern browsers.
  • F6. In most current browsers, pressing F6 places the pointer above the address bar, making it easy to find.
  • F7. The F7 key is used as a shortcut for the integrated spelling and grammar check in several Microsoft applications, notably Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
  • F8. The F8 key is widely used before starting a Windows computer to access additional startup modes.
  • F9.  When you are using Microsoft Word, pressing F9 will reload your document.
  • F10.  The F10 key will bring up the menu bar or equivalent choices in the majority of open Microsoft programs.
  • F11. This is the most popular way to turn the full-screen mode on and off in most current web browsers. This also applies to several pre-installed Windows applications.
  • F12. The F12 key will launch the 'Save As' box on its own, but it has a variety of uses in Microsoft Word.

How To Enable F Keys

The function keys are enabled by the F lock key. As a result, it acts as a switch button on your keyboard. Pushing it, like the caps lock key, permits the function keys to execute their specialized roles.  The F lock key allows users to switch between alternate and standard functions. When the F lock is disabled, other features such as help and undo become available. When the F Lock button is turned off, the normal functions such as F1 and so on can perform their intended functions.

How To Press the F Keys on a Laptop

Laptop makers utilize the Function key on compact keyboards. The Fn key functions similarly to the Shift key in that you need to press and hold it while another key is pressed. Its function is to merge two keys and therefore conserve space on the keyboard. All computer and keyboard companies use it for the same purpose:

  • On your keyboard, look for the Function (Fn) key. This key is most likely to be found on the left bottom side, adjacent to the Ctrl key. The letters "Fn" will most likely be tinted a different color from the rest of the keys, with blue being a popular choice.
  • Find your keyboard's combined Function keys. The Function keys will very certainly be integrated with the F1 through F12 keys and will be tinted in the same color as the Fn key.
  • Press and hold the Fn key while simultaneously pressing and releasing one of the paired Function keys. Instead of the usual command, the Function command will now be executed.

F Keys Not Working on a Laptop

Function keys make it easier and faster to complete a variety of activities. You'll be able to turn on your Wi-Fi, increase the volume of your speakers, and do a variety of other tasks by pressing the appropriate sequence of keys. However, there are situations when despite hitting the correct key combination, you do not achieve the desired outcome.

If your Function keys aren't working, here are some quick solutions that will allow you to enjoy their convenience once more.

Check that the Fn keys are not locked.

The Fn keys usually cease working when someone mistakenly presses the Fn lock key. The Fn lock key also affects other toggle keys making it simple to determine if the Fn keys are locked. Look for an Fn, F lock, or F Mode key on your keyboard. Depending on your laptop, you should either push once or press for a few seconds. If it doesn't work, try pressing the Fn and Esc keys simultaneously. Then, try one of the Function keys.

Inspect Your Keyboard

If some Fn keys continue to function, it may be time to clean your keyboard. If it's been a while since it was last cleaned, there might be dust accumulation that prevents it from working normally. As long as you have the necessary equipment and are skilled enough, you can clean your laptop on your own.

Disable Filter Keys

The Filter Keys function in Windows is intended to prevent repetitive keystrokes. However, deactivating it may improve the operation of the Fn keys:

  • Launch the Control Panel.
  • Choose Large Icons and Small Icons from the View by menu.
  • Select the Ease of Access Center option.
  • Pick Make the keyboard easier to use from the Explore all settings list.
  • Untick the Turn on Filter Keys option under the Make it easier to type area.
  • Finally, hit Apply > OK.

Your laptop keyboard's function keys enable you to get so much more out of your keyboard. It allows you to execute multiple functions swiftly without moving your mouse or exiting out of the programs you're currently running.

Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

Thanks for reading! I'm Chris, an avid tech fanatic that enjoys keeping up with the latest laptop models. Hopefully my tips & tricks can help you out!

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