How To Know if Your Laptop Has a Backlit Keyboard
A backlit keyboard is arguably one of the most underrated features of a laptop. Many people would buy a laptop without considering it, and some don’t even know if their keyboard has this feature. So, how would you know if your laptop has a backlit keyboard?
- How To Find Out if Your Laptop Has a Backlit Keyboard
- 1. Find the Model Number and Search for it on the Manufacturer’s Website
- 2. Try Different Key Combinations for Keyboard Lighting
- Should You Invest in a Laptop With a Backlit Keyboard?
- 5 Possible Workarounds for a Laptop Without a Backlit Keyboard
- Is It Possible To Have a Backlit Keyboard on a Laptop Without It?
The easiest way to know if your laptop has a backlit keyboard is to look for the illumination icon on one of the keys. Manufacturers have different positions for it, but it looks like a turned-on lightbulb. There may also be two more keys to control its brightness.
In this article, I’ll talk about everything you need to know about a backlit keyboard for a laptop, including whether it’s possible to replace a regular keyboard with a backlit keyboard.
Keep reading because we’ll also discuss some workarounds if your laptop doesn’t have a backlit keyboard.
How To Find Out if Your Laptop Has a Backlit Keyboard
Different manufacturers use varying key combinations to enable or disable keyboard lighting. This combination is hard to figure out in some laptops, so you have to try different ways before getting it right.
Additionally, there can be two versions of the same laptop model, one with a backlit keyboard and the other without, further complicating things.
So, let’s talk about some of the easiest ways to find out if your laptop has a backlit keyboard.
1. Find the Model Number and Search for it on the Manufacturer’s Website
This is a surefire way to determine whether your laptop has a backlit keyboard.
It’ll also save you from spending a lot of time trying to determine the key combinations that can enable or disable the keyboard lighting.
All you need is the laptop model you’re using, and the following steps will be easy.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Check the underside of the laptop. Most laptops have a sticker on the bottom containing all the necessary information. Take note of the model number or the model name for your computer.
- Go to the manufacturer’s website and search for that model. Remember, some laptops have different variants, so you need to search for the exact model rather than something that looks similar.
- Open the specifications page for your laptop. This is where you’ll determine whether your computer has a backlit keyboard. If it does, you can start looking for the key combination to enable it. If it doesn’t, you’ll need some workaround to use your laptop without a backlit keyboard (we’ll talk about this later).
- Look for the manual file on the product page. This can be a PDF file or a web page containing all the information you need for the laptop. This manual will also show you the key combination to enable, disable, or adjust the keyboard lighting.
2. Try Different Key Combinations for Keyboard Lighting
This step can be complicated because a manufacturer can have different key combinations for different laptops.
Considering the number of laptop manufacturers, the list of exact combinations for keyboard lighting is too long to try out one by one.
So, the best way to do this is to check the keys individually and look for an illumination icon (or a turned-on lightbulb icon).
When you find the icon on the keyboard, you might need to press it together with the Fn key to enable the keyboard lighting.
Unfortunately, not all laptop keyboards will have this icon visible, so you’d have to try the most common key combinations to test it out.
Here are the most common key combinations that enable or disable the backlit keyboard:
- Fn + F4 key.
- Fn + F5 key.
- Fn+ F6 key.
- Fn + F7 key.
- Fn + F9 key.
- Fn + F10 key.
- Fn + F11 key.
- Fn + right arrow key to increase brightness. Fn + left arrow key to decrease brightness.
- Fn + up arrow key to increase brightness. Fn + down arrow key to decrease brightness.
Note: If none of these combinations worked, try to see if your Fn key is locked. If it’s locked, you can press the keys without the Fn key. If it’s unlocked, your laptop may not have a backlit keyboard.
Should You Invest in a Laptop With a Backlit Keyboard?
If you already have a working laptop, spending money to get another just to have a backlit keyboard may not be the best solution.
Even if you’re looking to buy a new laptop, choosing the more expensive variant for the sake of a backlit keyboard may still not be a good choice.
Using a laptop with a backlit keyboard is a nice-to-have feature, but it’s unnecessary for most people.
In fact, I can only think of two situations where a backlit keyboard will be essential for a laptop user:
- People who are working in dark areas or late at night. If you’re working in a dark area, the only illumination you’ll get will come from the monitor. In many cases, this won’t be enough to clearly see the keys on the keyboard, making a backlit keyboard necessary.
- People who are doing fieldwork. When you’re out on the field, you’ll be working in an uncontrolled environment that may require you to have a backlit keyboard. You may also have to work while traveling, resulting in a poorly lit environment that makes it hard to see the keys on your laptop.
Besides these two situations, the lack of a backlit keyboard usually isn’t a dealbreaker. It shouldn’t be the main feature that you consider when looking for a computer or if you’re considering an upgrade.
In fact, even if your work environment falls under both categories, replacing your laptop just to have a backlit keyboard may not be the best way to go.
There are a few workarounds (much cheaper than upgrading a laptop) if you really need to light up your keyboard.
5 Possible Workarounds for a Laptop Without a Backlit Keyboard
A backlit keyboard is a nice-to-have feature that will help improve your productivity even when working in dark areas or with limited lighting.
However, if the one you’re using doesn’t have this feature built-in, there are still a few workarounds to make your keyboard more visible and improve your productivity.
1. Glow-in-the-Dark Keyboard Stickers
This is the best and least expensive solution to light up your keyboard. The only disadvantage of these stickers is that they’ll cover the secondary keys that may have different functions.
I recommend glow-in-the-dark keyboard stickers because it has all the English keys and different keyboard options.
They also remain “invisible” unless you’re working in the dark, which gives a similar effect to having a backlit keyboard.
The best thing about glow-in-the-dark stickers is that they don’t obstruct or add unnecessary bulk to your laptop.
There are no devices to work with, and you don’t have to worry about mechanical or electrical failure, which may be common for the other workarounds I’ll discuss.
2. USB-Powered Gooseneck Lamp
This workaround is similar to having a table lamp that helps make your keys more visible. The only difference is that it’s small enough to be portable, and you can power it up with your laptop, allowing you to work wherever you want.
I recommend a gooseneck-style laptop clamp light because you can adjust its brightness and position.
You can also plug it into the USB ports of most laptops, making it seem like a part of your computer without taking up a lot of space.
Aside from lighting up your keyboard, a gooseneck lamp also provides an illuminated workspace that allows you to work on other tasks besides typing on your keyboard.
This makes it more useful than plain stickers, especially for people working in the field.
3. USB-Powered LED Light Bar
An LED light bar for a laptop is a device you attach to the monitor that emits light toward the keyboard. It works like a gooseneck lamp, but its position makes it more comfortable to work with, and it provides better lighting and features that aren’t possible with an ordinary lamp.
I recommend a screen light bar because it fits most laptops.
It also has dimmable LED bulbs that provide true natural light colors while preventing monitor glare, making it more effective and easier to create a well-lit working environment.
An LED light bar is more expensive than the two options I shared, but it’s still cheaper than a laptop with a backlit keyboard variant.
It also creates an environment that allows you to work on other tasks without requiring additional lighting, making it the perfect choice for many people.
4. Red Light Headlamp
Some people work in dark areas because it helps them focus better on their tasks.
An LED lamp may not be an option for these people because it eliminates the “night light” that helps them work better. If you also prefer this working condition, you may consider using a redlight headlamp.
An LED headlamp is the perfect solution because it includes white and red LED lights that can light up your keyboard without excessively illuminating your entire workspace.
It also includes an adjustable strap that makes it more comfortable, even for long hours.
The only disadvantage to using a redlight headlamp is the unnecessary bulk. It’s also not the best solution for many people, but it’s still a better and cheaper option than upgrading a laptop to have a backlit keyboard.
5. External Keyboard
An external keyboard that you can connect to your laptop is perhaps the least recommended option because you’ll need to bring two devices whenever you’re out for work.
However, getting an excellent external keyboard may also help you be more productive by allowing you to type faster and more comfortably.
There are a lot of different external keyboards you can use, and your choice depends on the features you want.
The only thing you may want to consider, which is almost a given in external keyboards, is a backlight feature that allows you to keep working in the dark.
This is the most expensive workaround for your laptop’s lack of a backlit keyboard and is also the least portable.
However, when it comes to comfort and productivity, nothing can compare to a proper keyboard with all the features you need.
A 60% keyboard with arrow keys would be my recommendation for an external keyboard and keeping it as portable as possible.
Is It Possible To Have a Backlit Keyboard on a Laptop Without It?
You can install a backlit keyboard on a laptop that doesn’t have one if you meet one of the following conditions:
- You’re using a laptop with the same motherboard as a laptop that has a backlit keyboard. If you have this, it’s possible to install a backlit keyboard because it has a slot for the ribbon that will power up the backlight. However, it’ll still require a lot of work and technical know-how because installing a keyboard backlight requires you to disassemble your laptop and put it all back together.
- You’re a computer engineer with extensive knowledge of modifying your laptop’s components. A backlit keyboard needs a ribbon slot that will deliver the power it needs for the lighting. So if your computer doesn’t have one, it will require extensive modification just to have this feature.
Even the most experienced computer engineers will have difficulty installing a backlight on a keyboard.
The risk of damaging the computer isn’t worth the benefits you can get from a backlit keyboard, so it’s best to try the workarounds in this article.
There are several ways to determine whether your laptop has a backlit keyboard. If you can find your laptop’s exact model, it’ll be easy to check its features and see if it has a backlit keyboard.
Trying different key combinations to enable the backlight may also work for you.
If the laptop you’re using doesn’t have a backlit keyboard, there are a few workarounds to keep working even in dark areas.
Remember, upgrading your laptop just to have a backlit keyboard should be your last resort.