How-to: Keyboards

How do I use the Fn key/F Lock key/Alternate command keys?

Keys with an Fn key or F Lock provide two sets of commands for many keys. This includes the top row of standard function keys (F1–F12).

Standard commands are labeled on the front of the keys (such as F3). Alternate commands are labeled on top of the keys (such as Redo). In some programs, the function of a standard command and an alternate command may be the same (for example, F1 typically displays Help for the active window, and on some keyboards, the alternate command for F1 is also Help).

Use the Fn key

  • On keyboards with an Fn key, hold down Fn and press the key to use the alternate commands.

Tips

  • You can also press and hold Fn while moving your finger up and down on the navigation pad to scroll within a document.
  • You can press and hold Fn while pressing keyboard letters M, J, K, L, U, I, O, P, /, ;, and 0 to match the physical layout of a numeric keypad.

Use the F Lock key

  • If your keyboard has an F Lock key, press it to toggle between the standard commands and alternate commands.
    When the F Lock light is Off, alternate functions work (Help, Undo, and so on).
    When the F Lock light is On, standard functions work (F1, F2, and so on).

Use alternate command keys

The following table specifies the default key assignments for the alternate command keys. You can reassign many of them using Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center.

Alternate command key
What it does
Help
Opens the Help system (if any) for the active window.
Undo
Cancels the previous action.
Redo
Cancels the previous Undo action.
New
Creates a new document in programs that support this command.
Open
Opens a document in programs that support this command.
Close
Closes the document or file that is in the active window.
Reply
Replies to the e-mail message that is in the active window.
Fwd
Forwards the e-mail message that is in the active window.
Send
Sends the e-mail message that is in the active window.
Spell
Starts checking the spelling in the active document, if the document's program has a spelling checker.
Save
Saves the file that is in the active window.
Print
Prints the file that is in the active window.