Num Lock

Updated: 05/22/2017 by Computer Hope

Num LockShort for numeric lock or number lock, the Num Lock or Num Lk key is located on the top left corner of the numeric keypad of the keyboard and enables and disables the numeric pad.

Turning the Num Lock on allows you to use the numbers on the keypad and turning the Num Lock off enables the key's other functions, such as using the keypad as an arrow pad. The picture shows what the Num Lock key with a LED may look like on a keyboard.

Where is the Num Lock key?

Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the Num Lock key highlighted in blue on the numeric keypad.

Num Lock key

Where is the Num Lock key on an Apple keyboard?

An Apple Mac computer keyboard with a number pad only functions as a number pad and has no alternative set of keys as the keyboard shown above. Therefore, Apple keyboards do not have a Num Lock key. Typically, a "clear" button is in the same location as the Num Lock.

Where is a Num Lock key on a laptop keyboard?

Laptop control keysIf you have a laptop with a numeric pad, the Num Lock key is in the same location as the keyboard shown above. However, most laptop keyboards do not have a numeric pad to help keep the laptop more compact. For laptops without a numeric keypad that has a Num Lock key, it is often part of another key around the Backspace key as shown in the picture.

If a laptop is using two keys as one key, you must press the Fn key with the second key you want to use. In our example picture, the Scr Lk, Pause, and Break are all blue and a different color than the other keys. To use these keys, press the Fn key and the key with the blue text you want to use. With our example picture, if you needed Num Lock you'd press the Num Lk key by itself and to use Scroll Lock press and hold the Fn key and the Scr Lk key at the same time.

Note: When it comes to PC laptop's there is no standard placement for these keys. Your laptop may not have the same configuration as shown in the picture. However, all PC's follow the same steps mentioned above.

How to turn on and off the Num Lock

To turn on the Num Lock press the Num Lock button and make sure the Num Lock LED light is on. Once the Num Lock key has been pressed, it will stay on until it is pressed again. To turn off the Num Lock press the Num Lock button and make sure the Num Lock LED light is off.

Why does Num Lock keep turning on?

By default, most computers turn on the Num Lock key each time the computer boots, because it is more likely you'll need to use numeric keypad numbers. For example, if your login password has numbers and you used the numeric keypad to enter those numbers it would fail without Num Lock being enabled.

Num lock keys

Below is a chart with additional information about what each numeric keypad key does when Num Lock is enabled and disabled. For example, pressing the "2" key on the numeric keypad when Num Lock is enabled enters the number "2" and when Num Lock is off, it will arrow down one line.

Note: The below information is only for keyboards with numeric keypad and does not apply to the number keys on the top row of your keyboard.

Key Num lock enabled Num lock disabled
0 0 Ins
1 1 End
2 2 Down arrow
3 3 PgDn
4 4 Left arrow
5 5 Nothing
6 6 Right arrow
7 7 Home
8 8 Up arrow
9 9 PgUp
. . Del

Keyboard terms, Number, Numeric keypad, Togglekeys