What is the FN key for and how to change its behavior

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Anyway, depending on the approach or type of use of the equipment as such, sometimes we find that the keyboard does not come complete on a physical level. It is true that we can make use of the rest of the keys through other methods, but not directly as with the full keyboard. This is something that, for example, we find in mini desktop PCs or laptops.

Well, as we said before, next we want to focus on a somewhat peculiar key that we find on some occasions, the FN key. In fact, it could be considered as one of the great unknown in this sense without knowing that it can be of great help to us.

What is the FN key

The first thing we must be clear about is that we will not see this in all the more or less current keyboards that we find ourselves with today. On the other hand, it should be clear that we should not confuse the FN key that we are talking about here, with the Function keys that have been with us for so many years. These are the usual F1, F2, F3, etc., which we normally find at the top of the keyboard.

f1 f2 keys

These serve us, depending on the Program in which we are, or the operating system, to make direct calls to certain functions of the software. Hence precisely its name, since if we get used to its use, we can work in a more fluid and comfortable way. However the FN key is actually something else different.

At this point, it is worth mentioning that the aforementioned FN key is used mainly on laptop keyboards. In the same way, it is usually implemented in smaller keyboards where the function keys can also have a more specific function than usual. In this way, these F1, F2 and successive ones, thanks to the FN key, acquire a utility and an even higher value, as we will see below.

How to use and utilities of this key

We tell you all this because thanks to the key we are talking about in these lines, we will be able to make more effective use of the pc keyboardespecially if it is portable. Say that on these keyboards the FN key is separated from the rest of the function keys. However, the truth is that they generally work together.

In this way we can affirm that its use is extremely simple and affordable. To do this, we just have to keep it pressed to indicate to the system that we want to use the special action of the function key that we press next. So instead of executing the standard action of that function, will run the special and related to the FN. To give you an idea, these special actions may vary depending on the keyboard, or the manufacturer of the laptop.

At this point, we will tell you that this key we are talking about is used to perform specific tasks together with those of function. Among these we find actions such as changing the brightness of the screen, raising or lowering the volume, activate airplane mode, change power mode, deactivate the touchpad, hibernate the PC, etc.

FN keys

Therefore and as you can imagine, it gives us direct access to a series of useful functions. Otherwise, we might have to navigate through endless menus and settings.

How to change the behavior of the FN key

Despite all its usefulness, there are users who prefer to customize its operation a little more. This is something that by default we will not be able to carry out from within operating system. With this, what we want to tell you is that, for example, Linux does not have a specific function to change the behavior of certain keyboard keys. But for that, as for many other things, we can use third-party software solutions, as we will see.

And there are programs that we can download and install on the PC that will be very helpful in this regard. Specifically, we are talking about programs that are responsible for changing the mapping of the keys that we want, in this case, FN. So that we understand each other, in the event that we want to change the behavior of a certain key on the keyboard, we can assign another so that its use is more comfortable for us. For all this we can make use of a good amount of specific applications for this, like the ones shown below:

  • KeyTweak: first of all, we can use a proposal of this type called KeyTweak. This is a free program that we can download from this link and that it will be of much help to us in these tasks that we comment on. Thus, in the event that we are in the situation that we have commented to you, changing the behavior of the FN key, this will help us. Furthermore, its use is extremely simple and intuitive. We have nothing but map out the destination key with the FN key by clicking on the corresponding number that we see in the Interface.
  • Keymapper: on the other hand we find this other similar solution. This is an application that we can download from here and that will help us to change the functionality of the FN key. For all this we must use its simple user interface by clicking on the FN key, for example, on the virtual keyboard that appears on the screen. Then we drag this key on top of another that we want to reassign or remap. Thus, with this simple movement, we achieve that the source key is reassigned to the destination key, that is, FN to any other that we want.