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New hot-keys and functionality coming to Surface keyboards next week

If you are a Surface owner who misses using the function row without having to reach for the “Fn” key every time, don’t worry - Microsoft has you covered.  A new update, coming next week, for Microsoft’s Touch Cover and Type Cover keyboards will allow users to lock the top row of keys into their “F1-F12” states.  Simply hit “Fn + Caps” and the behavior of the top row of keys will be swapped, hit it again to return back to default.

In addition, Microsoft will be adding a collection of new hotkey combinations that will allow users to perform the actions of missing keys such as: Print Screen, Home, End, Page Up/Down, and more. A full list of the updated hotkeys can be seen after the break.

Fn + CapsLocks F1-F12 into being function keys.
Fn + <Spacebar>Print Screen
Fn + <Spacebar> + AltPrint Screen for the in-focus app only
Fn + DelBrightness Up
Fn + BackspaceBrightness Down
Fn + <left>Home
Fn + <right>End
Fn + <up>Page Up
Fn + <down>Page Down

Are you happy to see these latest updates for Microsoft’s Surface keyboards or could you care less about the upcoming functionality? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Surface Blog

46 Comments
  • I really want a Surface Rt tablet, but I'm waiting to see what the second generation will offer.
  • Same here. Hoping to see significantly upgraded hardware with Version 2.
  • Yeah this late in the game waiting definitely seems like a good idea. Strong possibility for a snapdragon 800 at least
  • Likely to be a tegra 4 ....current generation has tegra 3 .. . Tegra looks very promosing based on the demos in taiwan Snapdragon 800 will on few RT tablets though
  • As an owner of a first generation Surface RT, I think you are smart to wait for the second generation.
    Wait, no, what I meant to say was, you should buy *my* Surface RT from me for the full retail price I paid on October 26th so that I'll have my money back to spend on gen 2 ;-).  
    Surface RT is okay, just a little sluggish for web browsing.  Life may be better with Win RT 8.1, but I don't think browsing will get faster.
  • Its good to see that they are thinking deeper about how users interact with their devices.
  • Agree
  • I don't really use function keys too much, but it will be nice to lock them when I do. 90% of my Surface use is touch screen.
  • Enabling F1 - F12 option is already available in one of the on-screen keyboards. Just hit the on-screen Fn key and the numbers change to function keys.
  • Sadly, it seems they've copied some of the Mac OS shortcuts (Command + Left/Right/Up/Down).  I'm happy for the ability to use these, though.
  • Considering that on a PC CTRL-Arrows have triggered similar functions for the better part of 30 years, I doubt seriously they said, "Hey, let's do what Apple does!"
  • Function + Arrow Key for End, Home, Page Up and Page Down have been the standard on all my windows laptops without dedicated keys for them. I don't see how it's copying Mac.
  • Can they bring back ctrl-enter for sending mail? It is less awkward than alt -s and it existed before a firmware update... Thanks
  • As you probably know, that's a program change, not a firmware change.
  • Funny, on my 386SX laptop, that's what the function corresponds to in the arrow keys. It seems to be an industry standard, not an Apple invention to be copied by everyone else. I lent my surface pro out for testing and yes, developers were confused initially about the function keys behavior. Nice to see a fix coming so quickly, looks like they made it especially for me, but I won't think that. I know there were others before me ;)
  • Im wanting a surface too but want to see what the next gen has to offer, no point spending £400 with new ones around the corner.
  • To anyone intested, Surface pro's are selling for about $600 with a cover in some cases on eBay. These are practically steals.
  • As a couple points of reference:
    1) They are not selling for that price when the bidding wraps up - usually they are close to retail or higher.
    2) Anyone who buys a no warranty Surface Pro on ebay really deserves what they get.
    3) The old line regarding buyers beware should flash on a screen anytime somoene thinks they are getting a steal on ebay.  
     
  • The Surface keyboard already has dedicated Home/End/Pg Up/ Pg Down buttons.
    Perhaps they are just adding that additional functionality to the arrow keys, but it is not correct to say that the keyboard is currently missing the Home/End/Pg Up/ Pg Down buttons (besides, on my laptop the arrow keys don't have additional fn functions).
  • Exactly what I was thinking.
     
    For 98% of the users, they'll never use these shortcuts except when they accidentally hit certain key sequences confusing them and requiring them to spend 45 minutes searchng how to turn off function lock.
    The only function key I ever use is F5 for page refresh.
  • I imagine if you lock the function keys, it will negatively affect the F9-F12 keys, thus requiring the Fn-Arrows.
  • Hmm I hope the next keyboard iteration includes these as actual buttons.
  • Can we assume this will be an item thats updated as part of the monthly patch tuesdays? Any word on any other items like support for Nvidia's companion core?
  • I remain amused at those who think there will ever be an update to use the fifth core. I hate to tell people but that is not just a simple switch t turn on. It is closer to a rewrite of OS code. It has never been promised (only rumored by people with too much time on their hands) and will probably not happen. It is not as if that fifth core has ever been much more than marketing anyway. Having used various tablets, Tegra 3's with and without it enabled have just about the same effective battery life.
  • Thank you Microsoft!
  • Clever. Love Surface RT. Slim is sexy.
  • Love my Surface RT and looking forward to 8.1 but I've never been a big F key user. This is lost in my use scenario.
  • Likewise... I'm a huge keyboard junkie and F2/F3/ALT-F4/F5 constantly... the Function key has been a pain. But, I love the new Fn-Spacebar and Fn-Arrows too.
  • It would be nice if the update fived the issue the last mail update created to my work exchange e-mail. Using old version now till it gets fixed.
  • Thank you Microsoft. This will make debugging in Visual Studio a LOT easier.
    Question: Does the Touch Cover support function keys? I always thought no, and was one of the two reasons I went with the Type Cover.
  • The article seems to suggest it does, but I don't know for sure.
  • Currently only On-screen keyboard does. After this update, the touch cover will too.
  • Yes. The Touch Cover does support function keys, but they are somewhat hidden. There's a Function Key (Fn) in the lower right of the Touch Cover. Hold this down and tap any of the keys on the ESC row.
     
    For example: Fn + Mute = F1, Fn + Volume Down = F2, FN + Volume Up = F3 and so on.
  • HALLEFRIGGENLUJAH!!! This is just what the doctor ordered!! :)
     
    However... I would also love it if I could actually right-click properly on my Type Cover... half the time I try and it still left clicks the first 2-3 times.
  • Loving this update, I am really missing my Print Screen button on Surface, even though you can do the volume dows + win key combination.
    Better late than never.
     
  • To much thinking, I remember how many people hated the to hold control key on apple to show the right click menu....people hated that.....microsoft is starting to be like what apple use to be
  • Uh, this already exists.  I can switch the funcationality on my Surface Pro with Type or Touch covers.
  • Cue Beavis n Butthead: Heh, heh, heh, heh...he said Fn...heh, heh...
  • The touch cover already does support function key guys! You press the Fn key and a key on the top row.
  • Not what this report is saying.  The default behavior of the FN keys is for Windows 8 functions (Pause/Play, volume, Search, Charms bar, etc.)  If you want a Function key to be pressed, you must press FN+Mute for F1, FN+Vol Down for F2, and so on.  If you want to change that behavior, press FN+CAPS and that changes the default role of the Function keys.
     
    But, this has been present since the last Surface firmware update.  I can change the default key mapping with FN+CAPS TODAY with either the Type or Touch Cover.
  • Yes! I can use Visual Studio without 3 fingers again...
  • Microsoft is really making a lot of improvements with the windows 8 OS, I use my surface pro for university assignments and stuff like that and I have never regretted getting the pro despite of the average reviews it got by other websites and channels on youtube. IMO the OS has a lot of potential, and once you get past the learning curve of windows 8 you really start liking it.
  • PRINT SCREEN!  YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
     
  • Is REPLY broken in these comments? When I click REPLY in a message, IE asks me if I want to open a file named 412670.json. No matter how I respond, I do not get the chance to reply.
  • REPLY actually works fine in Google Chrome. In IE 10, it doesn't work. Maybe it is a security setting in my browser, I don't know.
  • My caveat is this:  There seems to be no explicit way to shutdown a Metro app, other than alt-f4.  needs something like the X on regular desktop apps.  switching away from a Metro full-screen doesn't close it, and it occupies memory, even if you're not using it.