How to use the top-row keys as function keys on a Chromebook

The Google Cloud blog shared a fantastic, detailed post on how to set up a Pixelbook for coding in the cloud. I personally prefer to install local tools in the Chrome OS Linux container for my CompSci classes, so I skimmed through the blog post.

But I did learn something that will save time on my coding, even though I do it locally: Enabling the top-row keys of any Chromebook to act as function keys, i.e.; F1, F2, etc….

I had no idea until today that there was a setting for this. You’ll find it tucked away in Settings, Device, Keyboard:

Wait a second, you might be thinking: I don’t have a Launcher key on my Chromebook like the Pixelbook does.

You’d be correct in thinking that. I’m on my new Acer Chromebook Spin 13 and of course, there’s no Launcher key. For non-MadeByGoogle Chromebooks like mine, the setting dialog will say “Hold the Search key to switch the behavior of the top-row keys.”

Now, I can take advantage of some special functions in my Integrated Development Environments when coding. And if you use any Linux apps, you might find a need for the traditional function keys too.

2 thoughts on “How to use the top-row keys as function keys on a Chromebook

  • September 3, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    Does this go all the way to f24?

  • September 3, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    Kevin you can also change the default behaviour of the keys without that setting by using the launcher key to get the function key only with the launcher key pressed, so basically the inverse of having that setting turn on.


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