For many laptops, pressing Fn+Up Arrow will increase the brightness of the screen (decreasing battery life), while pressing Fn+Down Arrow will decrease the brightness of the screen (increasing battery life, but also increasing how much you need to squint to read the screen).
Take a look around on your keyboard and see if you can find this icon (probably in blue):
For many Dell laptops, it’s the End key in the upper right.
Press Fn plus that key, and your speaker will be muted.
Don’t try it now! But for many laptops (not all), Fn+Esc allows you to Suspend your computer, switching it to a mode where the hard drive and screen are disabled in order to save battery power.
(Usually closing the screen accomplishes the same task, but sometimes you want to leave the screen open.)
Not every laptop uses this keystroke, but most seem to.
If you’re on a plane or in a hospital, you should disable your wireless receiver. Or suppose you’re riding in a train or car and you know there’s no wireless signal, you’ll increase your battery performance if you disable the wireless receiver.
Hit Fn+F2 and it’ll toggle wireless on and off. (Practice it a few times so you can recognize how the icons in the system tray appear, so you’ll know to switch it back on if you ever disable it by accident.)
This week we’ll talk about some common laptop shortcut keys.
Most laptops have an “Fn” (or “Function”) button, usually in the lower left, and quite often color-coded in blue. This Fn button usually is used to get alternate keystrokes, necessary because a laptop keyboard usually has fewer keys than a desktop keyboard, so more keys have to do extra duty. For example, the “J” key usually doubles as a 1 on the number pad, so Fn+J produces a 1.
On many laptops (but by no means all), the function keys across the top center double as special laptop controls when used with the Fn button.
You’re no doubt familiar with the Fn+F8 key to toggle on the external monitor. This isn’t universal, but it’s pretty common. (I’ve also seen laptops that use Fn+F7 for the same purpose.)
Usually Fn+F8 cycles between the following three modes:
- Laptop monitor only
- Laptop monitor plus external monitor
- External monitor only