How To Use the Function (Fn) Keys on Your Laptop?

Fn is also known as a function key. The function key and F keys located at the top of the keyboard perform various shortcut functions. Fn key helps act effectively. Alongside the other keys, it performs multiple functions. The function keys include f1, f2, and so forth until f12.

Over the years, the usage of Fn keys has grown, more so with the advent of laptops. This is because Fn, along with the F keys, performs several shortcut functions.

laptop function keys
Function keys

Some of the functions performed using the combination of Fn and F key are:

  • Turning on or off of the laptop speaker
  • Altering the brightness in your monitor screen
  • Hibernate the system
  • Activate the standby mode using the function keys.

How do I use the Fn key/F Lock key?

The F lock key activates the function keys from f1 through f12. Thus, it functions as a toggle key on your keyboard. Like the caps lock key, clicking on it allows the function keys to perform their specific functions. For example, the F8 key increases the keyboard volume. If the button doesn’t work, you can activate it with the fn and f lock keys.

The F lock key enables users to toggle between alternate commands and standard commands. When the F lock is turned off, alternate functions such as help and undo are activated. When the F Lock button is switched off, the standard functions such as F1, F2, and so forth begin to perform their functions.

Fn key enables you to get F1-F12 keys to perform at any time. Moreover, the F lock button need not be disabled. For instance, you can press the F5 button to reload a web page. Furthermore, you can also access the secondary function by pressing Fn and F5. 

When the F lock button is on, only the standard functions are accessible, and you cannot perform the secondary functions of these keys.

List of What Those F1 – F12 Keys Do

The F keys, also known as function keys, are present on a keyboard. They perform multiple functions when used in tandem with specific keys. For example, alt and ctrl are vital keys that help perform various functions.

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Each F key has a specific function assigned to it. Thus, the Fn key helps determine the functionality of the F keys.

Learning shortcut keys is beneficial as they serve as alternative commands. These shortcuts can be applied when the mouse pad stops working or some of the keys malfunction. Shortcut keys help enhance your work productivity. They are efficient and help accelerate your work processes.

Here are some of the functions of the F keys below:


  • F1 acts as a help key in every program. When the F1 key is pressed, it will navigate you to the web browser.
  • A combination of the Windows key and the F1 key will open Microsoft’s help and support center.
  • In Microsoft Excel, pressing Alt + Shift + F1 will create a new worksheet.


  • It is used to rename selected files or folders in Microsoft Windows.
  • In the excel sheet, the active cells can be edited.
  • Print review can be viewed by pressing Ctrl and F2 simultaneously.


  • It is a shortcut key to search for files in programs and Microsoft windows.
  •  Selected text in MS- Word will transform to lowercase when Ctrl and F3 are pressed simultaneously.
  • In windows explorer, you can press F3 to activate the search function.


  • In Window Explorer, the address bar can be opened with this key.
  • A combination of Alt and F4 will close your active program in Microsoft Windows.


  • It refreshes your internet browsers or reloads your documents.
  • In MS-PowerPoint, it starts a new slide.


  • It allows the cursor to move to the address bar in internet browsers.


  • Opens the Microsoft program that helps correct grammar and spelling.
  • The Shift key and F7 will open the Thesaurus check on the selected word.


  • The F8 key opens the start-up menu in Windows.


  • In MS- Word, F9 refreshes the document.


  • You can do right -click through a combination of Shift and F10.


  • It exits the Fullscreen mode in internet browsers.


  • You can open a Word document by clicking on ctrl and F12 simultaneously.
  • When you press shift and F12 simultaneously, your Word document gets saved.
  • In MS- Word, click on Ctrl + Shift + F12 to print a document.

How to Choose Whether Your Function Keys are F1-F12 Keys or Special Keys

With today’s technological upgradation, most keyboards have specific keys that serve multiple purposes. The keys perform allotted actions such as altering the volume, brightness, and sound.

You can determine the function of your special keys or F1-F12 keys if the specified key doesn’t perform its standard function. If you want the F1-F12 keys to function normally, press the Fn and F lock keys.

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Lock function keys
Lock function keys

Another way is to reboot your computer. Today most of the keyboards have UEFI OR BIOS settings. To understand the process more, we will share a video by Filip Tech. Video tutorials are an excellent way to understand the process. You can apply the steps practically while watching the video.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I lock and unlock the Fn key?

If the function lock key is present on your keyboard, you can lock the Fn keys by pressing the function lock key and the Fn key. To unlock the Fn lock, repeat the action again. The Fn lock key is represented by a lock symbol and located under the Esc (Escape) key on most standard keyboards.

How do I turn on the Fn key?

To activate Fn (function) mode, press Fn and the left shift key at the same. When the Fn key light is on, you have to press both the Fn key and a function key to do the default action.

How do I enable the Fn key on my HP laptop?

Press Fn and the left shift key simultaneously to activate function mode.

Why is my function key not working?

If the function keys don’t work, it could be because you have a function lock or F-Lock key that needs to be turned on or off. With the F-Lock key, you can turn on or off the F keys (F1–F12) or their secondary functions. The F-Lock key may be labeled as the Fn key on some keyboards.


We hope that you found the article informative. If you want to share some more shortcuts to the function key, you are more than welcome. We would love to hear from you. And please share this with your friends and family if you like the article.

Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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