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  1. #1
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    Dell Latitude 3560 - Fn keys

    I am having a hard time finding out the functions of the Fn keys on my Delll Latitude 350 laptop. Does anyone know where I might find a "cheat sheet", or whatever to determine their use? On my old laptop, pressing shift+f5 used to take me where I left off editing a Word document. Alas, no more. Is it an issue with my old Word 2003 on this new laptop? The platform is Win7, if that matters. Thanks!

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    K32,

    The first thing to determine is the settings of the F-Keys in the BIOS.

    I've had Dells that came with the BIOS set so that the F-Keys were used for multi-media functions like speaker volume, mute, switching screens, etc. To get the FN keys recognized by software you had to hold down the key marked FN while tapping the appropriate Fn key, e.g. FN+F5.

    There is a setting in the BIOS that allows you flip this so that the Fn keys respond normally and you then have to hold down the FN key to get the multi-media functions.

    HTH
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    K32,

    The first thing to determine is the settings of the F-Keys in the BIOS.

    I've had Dells that came with the BIOS set so that the F-Keys were used for multi-media functions like speaker volume, mute, switching screens, etc. To get the FN keys recognized by software you had to hold down the key marked FN while tapping the appropriate Fn key, e.g. FN+F5.

    There is a setting in the BIOS that allows you flip this so that the Fn keys respond normally and you then have to hold down the FN key to get the multi-media functions.

    HTH

    The F-keys respond like they are set for multi-media functions. Pressing the brightness key alone (F11), for instance, causes the screen to brighten. Pressing the F-keys while pressing Fn causes other functions. Can I safely check these settings in the BIOS? I'm not real familiar with that.

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    Look at the Fn key. Is the Fn symbol a different colour? And are there symbols of that colour elsewhere on the keyboard?

    Let's say (just as an example) the Fn symbol is blue, and F2 has a blue crescent-moon on it. That would mean pressing <Fn+F2> would put the computer in Standby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by k32rem View Post
    The F-keys respond like they are set for multi-media functions. Pressing the brightness key alone (F11), for instance, causes the screen to brighten. Pressing the F-keys while pressing Fn causes other functions.
    It sounds like you already understand the difference between the normal F-keys and their multimedia functions (the blue or red symbols on the function keys), so we won't rehash that or what the <Fn> is for.

    It seems what's tripping you up, though, is what RG intimated: Dell likes to reverse the function/multimedia settings, or let you dynamically reverse them, so they're multimedia when used alone and the blue (or red) <Fn> key shifts to the normal F-key behavior instead of the other way around.

    By default, the 3560 allows the user to dynamically toggle the behavior of the F-keys with the <Fn><Esc> key combo. Your screen brightness test suggests the F-keys are set to their secondary (i.e., multimedia) functions, and accordingly you'll need to use the <Fn> key to get a normal F-key function--the reverse of what you'd expect. Perhaps you inadvertantly pressed <Fn><Esc> at some point, but press the key combo again to toggle them to back to their regular functions.

    In the event that doesn't work, perhaps the toggle is locked by the BIOS. Press <F2> at the POST screen to get into the BIOS Setup and look for the option to set the F-key behavior. Set it to "Fn Lock" if you want to be able to toggle with <Fn><Esc>, or "Disabled" to set the F-keys to their normal function and leave them that way. (Don't forget to save your settings when you exit Setup.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by k32rem View Post
    Does anyone know where I might find a "cheat sheet", or whatever to determine their use?
    Have you gone to the Dell website and checked to see if they have a downloadable user manual for that model? By the way, the title of the thread says 3560 but you say 350 in the body - I'm guessing you mean 3560.

    I've also had success in the past in just doing a web search manuals. There are a few sites that have scanned images.
    Graham Smith
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    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

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    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    You should be able to toggle the behaviour of the Fn keys by using the hot key combination <Fn> +<Esc> to switch between the default and alternate functions.

    Hope this helps...

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    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!! It worked. Thanks to all who contributed!

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