The 'Fn' keys, F1 to F12, are very useful and handy in more than one way. By default, they help you trigger shortcuts on different apps. For instance, if you press
F11 in Chrome, it will make the browser full-screen. These shortcuts perform different tasks in each app.
On the other hand, they also act as multimedia and essential operation keys. When you press the 'Fn' row keys along with the 'Fn' key, you can change your screen brightness, adjust volume, toggle the keyboard backlit, control media (play, pause, next track, previous track), and much more depending on what the device manufacturer has assigned them for.
What is 'Fn Lock'? Many computers have a 'Fn Lock' key, which toggles the Fn row keys between multimedia and normal key operation. This way, you do not have to lose out on the multimedia functions of the Fn row while also having easy accessibility to Fn keys at the same time. However, they are not available on each and every computer.
How Do I Enable the 'Fn' Lock? Typically, you can press
Esc key along with the
Fn key on your keyboard to toggle the 'Fn Lock' on or off. However, the 'Fn Lock' key might vary by device manufacturer.
You can easily identify the 'Fn Lock' key by a lock icon with 'Fn' text on it. If you are still not sure, you can always head to your device manufacturer's website to learn more about it.
1. Change the Fn Keys from UEFI Settings
- Head to the Start Menu and click on the 'Settings' app.
- Click on the 'System' option from the left sidebar.
- Select 'Recovery' from the right section to proceed.
- Click 'Restart Now' on the 'Advanced Startup' option. This will restart your PC immediately and boot up your PC in the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).
- Once the computer restarts, select the 'UEFI Firmware Settings' option.
- Choose 'BIOS Setup' on the next screen.
- On the subsequent screen, head to the 'Configuration' tab.
- Navigate to the 'Hot Keys/Action keys' option and press
Spacebarto change values or click to switch the toggle. There are typically two options to select from, 'Enable' or 'Disable'. For your ease of convenience, here's a gist of what these values mean:
- Enable: When 'Hot/Action keys' are enabled, the Fn keys will act as multimedia keys by default. To use the Fn row, you will need to press the
Fnkey along the desired (F1-F12)key.
- Disable: If the feature is disabled, the Fn row will act as normal keys by default. To use them as multimedia keys, you will need to press the
Fnkey along with the multimedia key.
- To apply the changes, find the key mentioned for 'Save and Exit' on the screen; typically it is the
2. Use Microsoft PowerToys to Remap Fn Keys
Microsoft PowerToys allows you to remap the keys of your keyboard with any other keys or shortcuts. The software universally works with keyboards of all kinds and makes.
- Head to github.com/PowerToys using your preferred browser.
- Click on
.EXEfile following the 'Per User' option. This will open a File Explorer window on your screen.
- Click on 'Save' to download the PowerToys installer on your computer.
- Once downloaded, double-click on
.EXE.file to run the installer.
- On the installer window, check 'I agree to the license terms and conditions' and click on 'Install'.
- Once the installation is completed, you will be prompted of same on the installer window. Click 'OK' to close the window.
- On the PowerTools window, click on the 'Keyboard Manager' option from the left sidebar. Then, turn on the toggle for 'Enable Keyboard Manager' from the right section of the window.
- Click on the 'Remap a key' option. This will open an additional window on your screen.
- On the newly appeared window, click '+' to proceed. The key selection window will open.
- On the 'Remap Keys' window, click on the 'Select' option.
- Press the
Fnkey you wish to remap. The pressed key will be displayed on-screen. Then, click 'OK' to save and close the window.
- Click 'Select' under the 'To Send' column to set the key(s) you wish to map to the
- Once the key selection window opens, press the key(s) and click 'OK' to save and apply.
- You shall be able to see the key binding on the PowerToys window. You can change the
Fnkey or the assigned keys using their respective dropdown menus. To remap another key, click the '+' icon and repeat the above-mentioned process.
- Once you have mapped all the keys, click 'OK' to apply the changes.
In conclusion, the Fn keys provide useful shortcuts and multimedia controls, but determining the best configuration depends on your specific usage. Most PCs allow toggling between multimedia and normal key modes using the Fn Lock key. For those without this option, the UEFI/BIOS settings or third-party software like Microsoft PowerToys provide flexibility to remap the keys as needed.
Taking a few minutes to configure the Fn keys can enhance productivity and convenience when working in Windows 11. Testing different settings to understand how the keys function is recommended to find the optimal setup. With some simple adjustments, any user can customize these keys to best suit their workflow and preferences.