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Taber
Paper Tape
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎12-16-2012
Location: USA
Views: 1,990
Message 1 of 3

Keyboard Function Keys - Enhance via Bios or Driver Update?

I have had a Yoga for several weeks now and find it to be a great machine. One feature that I usually always look for in a laptop is the ability to use the function (Fn) key with the arrow (direction) keys. Some manufacturers assign volume or brightness to the arrow function keys, however, my preference is to use them for advanced cursor management in which the Home (left), End (right), Page Up (up), and Page Down (down) keys are mapped.

 

The Yoga currently has no alternate function key capabilities assigned to the arrow keys. So I wonder what the possibility of these being added as a future driver/bios update might be..? Smiley Happy

 

(I find that many other manufacturers have been adopting such a function key layout with their laptops.)

 

Link to picture

 

In my opinion, volume and brightness belong as functions of the F1-F12 keys, which is the case for the Yoga. Also, there is an actual dedicated volume button on the left side, so volume is definitely covered. Smiley Happy

 

Additionally, I was pleased to find an existing setting in the Bios that allows the F1-F12 keys to be toggled for use as standard "F" keys. As a software developer, I regularly use these keys for debugging (as well as for many other application specific shortcuts). So I do commend the designers for implementing this as a user preference in the Bios. (Given this precedent, perhaps the same option could be added for arrow key function behavior..?)

 

The Yoga was first Lenovo computer I have ever purchased. In the past I usually choose Sony Vaio laptops for build quality and features, but they've been leaving much to be desired with their designs lately.

 

I certainly knew about the Yoga arrow function key limitation before purchasing, but when comparing features with all other available Windows 8 touch screen models at the time (and even now), I still chose the Yoga. (At least the Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys have dedicated positions on the far right side of the keyboard, which I found to be a valid compromise.) I like the solid build quality of the Yoga, the nice clear/bright display with excellent viewing angles from any orientation, full size hdmi port and SD card reader, and especially the innovative convertible design. Again, well done Lenovo! : )

 

Moderator note; picture(s) totalling >50K converted to link(s) Forum Rules

mikey94025
802.11n
Posts: 105
Registered: ‎10-31-2012
Location: San Francisco
Views: 1,961
Message 2 of 3

Re: Keyboard Function Keys - Enhance via Bios or Driver Update?

I think that the existence of real Home/End/PageUp/PageDown keys is why they didn't bind those functions to the arrow keys (as with the keyboard examples in your picture).  I have used the nifty SharpKeys utility with such keyboards on my older laptops to custom map those functions to specific function keys, so perhaps it will allow you to map Fn-Up as you wish on the Yoga:

 

http://www.randyrants.com/sharpkeys/

 

 

Taber
Paper Tape
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎12-16-2012
Location: USA
Views: 1,945
Message 3 of 3

Re: Keyboard Function Keys - Enhance via Bios or Driver Update?

Thanks for the suggestion about customizing function keys, however, since the keys currently do nothing there's nothing to be re-mapped. (Such as VolumeUp => Page Up.)

 

As far as I can tell, use of the Fn key actually blocks the arrow key press events on the Yoga, so not even Up, Down. Left, Right presses are received by the OS if/when the function key is pressed. (This be can verified in any basic text editing program such as Notepad. Additionally, I wrote a program to display any/all received key events and confirmed no event occurs in such cases.)

 

The keyboard firmware or driver must be receiving the key state changes but simply ignores any arrow key event if the function key is pressed. I suspect any change to this behavior would have to come from the firmware or driver, which currently intercepts the hardware button presses before the OS may have a chance to redirect them. So I think the Lenovo hardware/software guys would have to enable this, which I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. Smiley Happy

 

I like the use of the function key in conjunction with the arrows because that way I don't need to move my fingers off the arrow keys in order to move the text cursor to the beginning or end of a line. (I certainly still find the fixed Home and End keys on the keyboard necessary.)

 

(Oh, and I apologize for inserting an image >50k, I didn't know the forum rules concerning a maximum image size.)

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