I just used a Thinkpad for the first time ever. It's weird; the Ctrl and Fn keys are swapped. Why is this? How can I fix it?

  • 1
    can you just pull the keys off and put them back in so input matches what you press? – Jonno_FTW Dec 3 '09 at 13:06
  • 1
    no, they are in the 'right' place, they do match the input, just the Fn & CTRL keys are swapped in the official Lenovo Thinkpad design. – Molly7244 Dec 3 '09 at 15:00
  • @Lord Go you, and edit! :P – slhck Nov 9 '11 at 23:24
  • Thanks, @slhck! I actually briefly hit exactly 2000 a few days ago, and promptly received a downvote on an old question. – Pops Nov 9 '11 at 23:25

Simply a foolish design. I'm using Thinkpad X200, and I've hated it for long.


this is by design, however, future Thinkpad models will have the option to swap the Fn and Ctrl key in the BIOS.

Lenovo Adds BIOS Option to Configure Ctrl and Fn Key Functions in Future ThinkPad Notebooks

  • 2
    What's the reason behind this design? – Daud Ahmad Khokhar Dec 7 '09 at 12:33
  • i really don't. although i remember reading a blog/article once about the process leading ultimately to this decision but i don't recall any details, sorry. – Molly7244 Dec 7 '09 at 13:22

Are you opposed to learning a new replacement for CTRL?

Someone screwed up keyboards a long time ago. Apple and Sun had it right. As everyone knows CTRL should be where Caps Lock is. I've kept this configuration the same as long as I can remember.

enter image description here

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]
"Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,3a,00,1d,00,1d,00,3a,00,\

This may help with the Fn key confusion.


this is indeed by design.
if there is not enough light you don't have to search for the right keys and instead just press the most left bottom key and the most right top key for the keyboard light embedded in the top of the display.

i don't think there is an official "right" way for the position of the "fn" key.
other notebooks for example have the "del" key among others in, in my opinion, ridiculous places.


Lenovo conducted a usability study and this won, apparently. (I used to work for them and this is what we were told.)

All the machines that have this now have the ability to swap it in the BIOS.


Probably because some engineer thought it was a good idea. Honestly, the only way you're going to get a better answer is to ask IBM... or find it on an IBM employee's blog.

  • 2
    Not because some engineer, but because some manager went crazy. Engineer would never do such a thing. – Tomas Jul 19 '13 at 14:51

Evidently IBM's ThinkPad was the first to have an Fn key, so, pedantic as it may be, it's everyone else that swaps it.

As for why, one rationale is for turning on the ThinkLight keyboard illumination in the dark, which is Fn+PgUp: the lower-left corner and the upper-right corner.

Note that Apple also has Fn before Ctrl.

Reference: Why is the FN key on the outside left instead of CTRL?


My Gateway MX6448 is the same way. Drives me crazy when I'm using the HP from work (Cntl is the farthest left on the bottom) then go and use my Gateway. Didn't really think twice about it when I first got the Gateway about 3.5 years ago, but I am going to be much more critical of keyboard layout from now on.

*sigh* Live and learn...

EDIT: Just an aside, I haven't found any magical tricks (like was mentioned with the Lenovo light above) that would make sense for Gateway switching key order. I think they did it just to annoy me. IT'S A CONSPIRACY!!!


So that you don't have to stretch your little finger so much using Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V.

Actually for me personally, it's a great feature: try doing Ctrl-Z with one hand on a German keyboard (with the Z and Y keys swapped), and you will appreciate why :)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.