Laptop Keyboard Functions

By Darla Ferrara

Updated September 28, 2017

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In many ways, the keyboard functions on a laptop are similar to keys on a standard keyboard. The difference comes in the use of the “F” keys, or functions keys. The actual activity and icons of these keys may vary by the design of computer. The “FN” key works as a modifier. It changes or modifies the function of another key, like a fancy “shift” key. When pressing this modifier key in conjunction with a function key from the top row of your laptop computer keyboard, you can control some of the processes of the computer.

Wireless Off/On

Press the FN key and the F1 key at the same time. This will toggle the wireless service on your laptop on and off. The icon may look like a vertical line with half circles imitating radio waves.


The mute button for most laptops is included with the F3 key. When you press the FN key at the same time as the F3, your sound will mute. The icon will appear as a speaker with an “X” over it.


Clicking on the F4 key with the FN key will turn the volume of your laptop down. Press the F5 key with the FN key to turn the sound volume of the laptop up. The icon is a speaker with arrows giving direction.

Touch Pad Toggle

The touch pad on your computer is the small square you run your finger over to move the cursor on the screen. To toggle it on and off, press the FN key while pressing F6. The picture that represents the function on the key looks like a computer mouse.


Pressing the F8 and F9 with FN will adjust the brightness on the screen of your laptop. F8 dims the screen, while F9 makes it brighter. The icons are suns with up and down arrows.


The F10 key plus FN works if you have an external monitor attached to your laptop. This key will allow you to toggle between the two screens. After plugging the external monitor into your laptop, you must use this function so the computer will activate the external screen, turning off the built-in screen on the laptop. The image on the button represents a monitor.


F11 is designed to put your computer fan into silent mode. When you press the FN key and F11 together, this will lower the speed of your fan, making it quieter but less effective. This works well if you are not using your computer for high performance applications. The icon will show a fan.


The F12 key puts your computer into a sleep mode when pressed with FN. This is a shortcut to save energy if you will not be working on the computer for a while. The icon represents a moon.


For information on your specific laptop, you should refer to your user's manual.