Short for Function, Fn is a key found on most laptop keyboards and some desktop computer keyboards to perform special functions such as turning up the screens brightness, adjusting speaker volume, etc.
As you can see in the image above, this laptop has an Fn key with a green and blue Fn. Keys with symbols of the same color indicate that their secondary function will be activated by pressing that key with the Fn key. In this example, pressing and holding down the Fn key, along with the up or down arrows, would adjust the laptop screen brightness.
Tip: The Fn key should not be confused with the Function keys F1 - F12 found on computer keyboards.
Where is the Fn key found on the keyboard?
On laptop computers, the Fn key is almost always located on the bottom left-hand side of the keyboard, next to the Ctrl key.
Apple desktop keyboards
Other desktop computers
Most other full-sized desktop computers do not have an Fn key. For those desktop computer keyboards that do have an Fn key, it is often found around the spacebar.
My Fn key does not have multiple colors
Not all Fn keys are color coded. For computers with a white or black Fn key, it still performs the same function and can be pressed in combination with other keys that have pictures on them. For example, pressing the Fn key and a key with a sun on it should adjust the brightness. Pressing the Fn key and a key with a crescent moon should put the computer to sleep.
What if my keyboard does not have an fn key?
If your computer did not include a keyboard with the Fn key, it is likely not needed unless you wanted to perform the functions that are done in conjunction with the key. However, keyboards with the Fn key or multimedia keyboards can be added to the computer to give the keyboard the ability to perform additional features if supported by your computer.
Why does the Fn key not work?
For the Fn key and the function key to work it must be supported by the computer and device. For example, if you are pressing the Fn key and the brightness key to increase the brightness it only works on the laptop screen and not an external monitor connected to a laptop. The same goes for special functions such as opening a browser window, printer, and audio controls.
Tip: On desktop computer keyboards with an Fn key that lights up when enabled you need to make sure the key is enabled (illuminated) before pressing the corresponding function key.