Learning to operate with your PC using only a keyboard is rewarding, as the productivity levels increase and the time to accomplish specific tasks reduces.
However, this requires the user to know all available “tricks,” such as “locking” the Function (Fn) button, which is specifically what we’ll talk about in the following guide.
To learn how to use the function keys without pressing the FN key manually on Windows, take a look at the methods below.
Let’s get into it.
Table of ContentsShow
Method 1: Using The Function-Lock Option
If you find yourself regularly using the function keys on your keyboard, it’s likely best to enable the function-lock feature so you don’t have to manually press the button each time you wish to activate a shortcut.
Some keyboards, mostly those on laptops, come with a Function (Fn)-lock key, that immediately switches the top-row keys to their function-enabled version. While enabled, you can use any of the shortcuts requiring the function key without having to manually press it.
When done, you can disable the fn-lock button and use your keyboard as usual, with the top-row buttons returning to their primary use again.
Note: If your keyboard doesn’t have a dedicated fn-lock button, there are still ways to enable this feature, and it’s usually by combining the Fn button with another one on your keyboard. Sometimes, the combination is Fn + Esc or Fn + CapsLk, but your device may require a different combination.
This helpful video lists all known shortcuts amongst popular laptop brands, and it may help you find your model and the required key combination to enable fn-lock.
It’s best to look this up specifically for your model to save time and be sure you’re using the right combination.
Method 2: Adjust BIOS Settings
Since we already mentioned fn-locking in the previous section, it’s important to include this method too, as it allows the user to tweak a setting within the BIOS and enable the fn-lock feature without requiring a dedicated button or a shortcut.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Restart your PC, and while it’s in the process of rebooting, press the required key combination to access the BIOS.
Note: Different motherboards require different shortcuts to access the BIOS. The best way to find out the combination for your model is by looking it up online. Another way is by paying close attention to what the screen says, as the required keys will be shown before the Windows logo appears during the boot process.
Usually, the shortcuts for accessing BIOS are F1 and F2 keys pressed rapidly, the DEL key pressed rapidly, F11 and F12 pressed rapidly, and others.
- Once in the BIOS, you should navigate to the section that allows modifying system settings. Once again, the BIOS interface will look different depending on your motherboard model. So, we provide the exact steps, but usually, what you should look for is a setting called “Action Keys Mode,” “Function Key Behavior” or “Hotkey Mode.” Enable this setting (or change its value, depending on how it is listed), save the BIOS changes, and reboot your PC.
Now, the FN function should be permanently enabled by default. So, if you’re using excel or any other software that requires you to constantly press the Fn button manually, you’ll now be able to work by pressing one less button.
If you ever wish to change this, go into the BIOS by following the same steps and revert the change.
Use The On-Screen Keyboard If The Fn Button Doesn’t Work On Your Keyboard
The FN button on your keyboard may not be working, so you’re wondering how to still use the features requiring this button and if it’s possible to do so.
The answer is yes, and the method used for this situation is the on-screen Windows keyboard.
Here’s what you can do:
- Press Windows + S to open the search box.
- Type in On-Screen Keyboard and press Enter.
Now the Windows On-Screen keyboard will open. Press the Fn button to toggle it and then any other button you wish to combine with, depending on the feature you require.
Although this is not the quickest and most optimal way to solve the problem, it can be a lifesaver when the Fn button specifically doesn’t work on your keyboard.
That covers everything you need to know about using the FN key on your computer without having to manually press it each time, as well as what to do in a situation when only that key doesn’t work on your keyboard.
Hopefully, the methods listed in this guide will help you improve your workflow and productivity, as they did for other users.