Each key in modern keyboards is assigned multiple functions. Users can use multiple functionalities of each key using Alt, Shift and Ctrl keys. There is one more key, the Fn lock key, which enhances the keyboard functionality further.
Usually the Fn key is used with the F1 to F12 keys for multiple functions. These keys are used for different laptop functions like controlling volume using the keyboard shortcuts, adjusting screen brightness, turn keyboard light on or off etc.
This functionality can be enabled by pressing the Fn key and then the required function key.
Holding down the Fn key while using the secondary function keys can be a problem. It is like holding down the shift key while writing complete pages in capital letters. However, you can lock your Fn key to use the secondary function keys and then revert to normal settings whenever you need to.
It is like using the Caps Lock key – trigger it once to write in capital letters, and then trigger it again to revert to normal settings.
Let us show you how it’s done.
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Enable or Disable Lock Fn key through BIOS
You can change the default settings of your system whether to perform the primary function of each key by default or to perform the secondary. The preference is up to each individual, depending upon which function they use most – the primary or the secondary.
For example, I have the “Print Screen” secondary function, which I use a lot, on the “End” button. Therefore, I have set the BIOS settings to use the secondary function by default. Each time I press only the “End” button, it takes a screenshot of my display. However, if I ever need to use the End function, I hold down the Fn key and press the End button at the same time.
Navigate to the following in BIOS:
BIOS -> Advanced -> Function key behavior
Now select the default function key behavior. Selecting the “Function key” option would mean that pressing only the “End” button would result in End being used while selecting the “Multimedia key” option would mean that pressing only the “End” button would result in Print Screen being used.
Of course, these settings can be changed at any time by returning to BIOS. However, this is not an ideal situation because each time you need to change the settings, you would need to reboot your PC. Therefore, we have discussed another method that is both quicker and is easy to switch between the two options at the press of a button.
Lock Fn key using keyboard
Most of the modern laptops come with Fn lock button that allows you to lock your Fn key in a certain mode similar to CAPS lock or NUM lock. To check whether your laptop has this button, look for a key on the keyboard with a lock drawn on it and Fn written in between, like in the image below.
Usually, it is the Escape key which is the function lock button.
As mentioned earlier, the Fn Lock key is a trigger to lock the Fn key in a certain mode – either the primary key or the secondary key. To trigger the Fn lock, simultaneously press the Fn key and the Fn Lock key.
Each time you perform the key combination mentioned above, it will change the Fn default settings. For example, when you have a keyboard without a dedicated keypad, the numbers come down as a secondary function, as in the image below.
In such a scenario, if you wish to use the keypad without holding down the Fn key each time you want to enter a digit, press the Fn + Fn lock keys once and then continue to use the keypad as normal. When you wish to write in normal alphabets again, simply press the Fn + Fn lock keys again simultaneously.
Switching between the 2 Fn modes is so much simpler from the keyboard than it is from BIOS. You can now switch back and forth as many times as you’d like, without having to reboot your PC.
Nonetheless, not every laptop supports this function at the moment. Hence, you will need to check whether your keyboard has the Fn Lock key or not.