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OS X Mavericks: Use keyboard function keys

Use keyboard function keys

Most function keys on your keyboard serve as specific control keys, such as volume and brightness controls.

However, apps may also assign alternate functions to these same keys. For example, on some keyboards Exposé uses F9 and F10 to perform special actions. Some computers allow you to use the alternate function assigned to a function key by holding down the Function (Fn) key as you press the function key.

If you frequently use the alternate function of a function key, you can switch the keyboard so that the function keys perform the alternate function without your pressing Fn. You then hold down Fn to use a function key’s original hardware control function. If your keyboard doesn’t have an Fn key, try holding down the Control key.

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Keyboard.
  2. Select the “Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys” checkbox.

To use the numeric keypad on your keyboard, press the Num Lock (F6) key. The other letter keys are disabled and only the keys on the numeric keypad work. Press Num Lock again to return the keyboard to its normal state.

If your computer doesn’t have a numeric keypad, the U, I, O, J, K, L, and M keys may have numbers on them. Press the Fn key as you press these letter keys to use them as a numeric keypad.

Last Modified: May 8, 2014
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  • Last Modified: May 8, 2014
  • Article: PH13982
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