Flipping Function Keys!

The problem with function keys on a MacBook or MacBook Pro is that they are one-trick ponies; they are either regular or special F-keys, but not both. With FunctionFlip, you can have complete control over those flipping function keys.

On the keyboard of a MacBook or MacBook Pro, function keys can either be standard or special. As standard function keys, they control certain features of OS X, such as Exposé and numlock. They can also be special function keys to trigger hardware controls such as screen brightness, volume, and keyboard backlighting when they are pressed in tandem with the Fn key. For example, if I want to decrease the brightness of the keyboard backlight, I have to press Fn+F9; if I press F9 alone, Exposé is triggered instead.

In OS X’s Keyboard & Mouse preferences, you can set special features to be triggered either with or without the Fn key. But what if you want to reduce some finger-work, and use only some F-keys with the Fn key, but not others?

This is where FunctionFlip comes in. FunctionFlip lets you ‘flip’ the function keys on your MacBook or Macbook Pro between standard and special mode, allowing you to set which F-key you wish to use alone to access those hardware controls. Since I hardly trigger Exposé via the keyboard (I prefer using an Active Screen Corner for that), I’d much rather have F9 and F10 adjust the keyboard backlight directly. Now I can quickly adjust brightness of the keyboard backlight by pressing either F9 or F10, and trigger Exposé only when I press Fn+F9.

What I absolutely love about FunctionFlip, besides the fact that it is a free application, is that it installs itself as a Preference Pane and works its magic invisibly in the background. Give FunctionFlip a try; I guarantee you’ll like the goodness of the one-finger convenience it brings.