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How to Make Your Keyboard Light Up

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Need to see your keyboard in the dark? Turn on the backlight on your Windows or Mac computer. If supported, you can enable the light using a keyboard shortcut, a built-in app, or your keyboard’s dedicated app. We’ll show you your options.

Make Your Windows Keyboard Light Up

On Windows, you can use either a keyboard key or the built-in Mobility Center app to turn on your keyboard’s backlight. Here are both ways for you.

Use a Keyboard Shortcut

The key you use to activate your keyboard’s backlight depends on your device manufacturer. However, the most commonly used keys are F5, F9, and F11. If pressing these keys doesn’t light up your keyboard, press and hold down the Fn key and then press those keys.

Press a key to activate the keyboard's backlight.

There are manufacturer-specific keys that you can use to turn on your keyboard’s backlight. Here’s a list of some of those keys:

  • Asus: Press the F7 or Fn+F7 keys. If that doesn’t work, try F4 or Fn+F4. On gaming models, use the Fn+Up Arrow key.
  • HP: Press the F5 or Fn+F5 keys.
  • Lenovo: Press the Fn+Spacebar.
  • Dell: Press F10, Fn+F10, Fn+F6, Fn+F5, or Fn+Right Arrow keys.
  • MSI: Use the dedicated backlit button on your keyboard or utilize the SteelSeries Engine or MSI Center software.
  • Samsung: Press the Fn+F9 keys. If that doesn’t work, install the Samsung Settings app on your machine.

Use Windows Mobility Center

To activate your keyboard’s backlight using a graphical method, then use the Windows Mobility Center app. You can open it by pressing Windows+X and selecting the app on the list.

Select "Mobility Center" in the list.

On the “Windows Mobility Center” window, in the “Keyboard Brightness” section, drag the slider to the right. This will activate your keyboard’s backlight.

If you don’t see the “Keyboard Brightness” section, your keyboard probably doesn’t support the feature. In this case, you can try your keyboard manufacturer’s app (if they have one) to see if that allows you to turn on the backlight.

Make Your Mac Keyboard Light Up

On a supported Mac, you have three ways to activate your keyboard’s backlight.

One way is to press the dedicated increase brightness key on your keyboard.

Press the increase brightness key.

The other way is to access Control Center, select “Keyboard Brightness,” and drag the slider to the right.

Drag the "Keyboard Brightness" slider.

If your Mac has a Touch Bar, then in the expanded Control Strip, press the increase brightness button to light up your keyboard.

In addition to that, your Mac has an intelligent feature that can automatically adjust your keyboard’s backlight. To enable it, head into Apple Menu > System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard and toggle on the “Adjust Keyboard Brightness in Low Light” option.

To make your keyboard backlight turn off after a specific time period, use the “Turn Keyboard Backlight Off After [Time Period] of Inactivity” option.

Intelligently control a Mac's keyboard backlight.

Your keyboard’s light is now turned on, allowing you to see the keys even in dark. Happy typing with it!

RELATED: What Do the Mac Keyboard Symbols Actually Mean?

What to Do If Your Keyboard Won’t Light Up

Not all keyboards are backlit. If pressing a keyboard shortcut or selecting the backlight option in an app doesn’t light up your keyboard, your device isn’t supported. It’s also possible the backlight is simply broken.

In either case, your best option is to get an external keyboard lamp. There are many to choose from, but the BenQ Screenbar Plus has great reviews and comes with an adjustable dial so you can type with the perfect amount of light wherever you go.

BenQ ScreenBar Plus LED Computer Lamp

This USB-powered lamp brightens up your keyboard and the front area of your computer. You can manually adjust its brightness, or let its sensors determine the best light for your situation.


Did you know you can get more done with your keyboard by assigning macros to it? Check out our guide to learn how.

RELATED: 5 Convenient Macros to Assign to Your Keyboard

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