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Get More From the Microsoft Surface Keyboard With Hidden Shortcuts

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Some compromises had to be made for the Surface Pro and Surface RT’s keyboards. As is the case with many portable devices, space is at a premium, and certain non-essential keys had to be shifted to secondary function positions or dropped altogether.

One thing that can seem a little strange to start with is the default function of the F keys. The keys F1 to F12 are all present, but these keys’ primary functions range from adjusting volume to calling up the Charms bar.

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Of course, the F1 to F12 keys can also be used as traditional function keys, but you’ll need to hold down the Fn key – so to close the current selected window, rather than using the standard Alt + F4 keyboard shortcut, you’ll instead have to press Alt + Fn + F4 simultaneously.

It may be that you would prefer to have access to the F keys without the need to press an extra key. There is a hidden Function Lock option that can be toggled by pressing Fn + Caps at the same time. Toggle on and off as required – you’ll still be able to access the second function of any given key by holding down Fn when you press it.

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There are also a number of undocumented keyboard shortcuts. They are not unique as the same option can be accessed with dedicated keys or via a secondary function, but it is helpful if you want to have the option of accessing a particular key’s function without having to re-map your keyboard – the secondary functions of the cursors keys is very useful, for example, and keeps a number of navigation keys in one place.

Fn + Del - Increase screen brightness

Fn + Backspace – Decrease screen brightness

Fn + Left - Home

Fn + Right - End

Fn + Up - Page Up

Fn + Down - Page Down

One of the various keys that is notable by its absence is Print Screen. If you want to be able to copy a screenshot to the clipboard without the need for a screen capture tool, just hit Fn + Space. Add the Alt key into the equation to limit capture to the currently selected window – so Alt + Fn + Space.

Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Twitter and Google+.

  • Published 08/23/13

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