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Is there a keyboard shortcut for toggling between Function and classic F keys?

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Depending on what you're trying to do, you may be able to cut out the keyboard shortcuts altogether and completely automate this. KeyRemap4MacBook allows you to set key re-mappings based on what application you're currently using.

I am using a setting that switches F1 through F12 to standard Function keys whenever I'm using RDC (Windows Remote Desktop). Any other time they operate like their icons (brightness, volume, play, etc).

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This was just want I was looking for. – GreenKiwi Sep 7 '11 at 16:29
how can you make these settings application depending? I can enable it only global. – Pfitz Dec 5 '12 at 10:45

There might be an easier way, but the following comes to mind:

  • Turn on Universal Access.
  • Create an AppleScript or Automator App that toggles this via the UI.
  • Bind that app to a key combo.
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I believe you can use the FN key in combination with your desired F1 through F12 keys, to use the standard F key functionality.

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You can create application specific shortcuts by creating a custom setting in your private.xml file. Check out the reference documentation for details, or my example below where I'm rebinding the Consumer keys back to Function keys when in PhpStorm (to use the debugger).

<?xml version="1.0"?>
    <!-- PhpStorm & EAP Version -->
    <!-- ============================================================ -->
        <name>Switch to normal function keys when in PhpStorm</name>
        <appendix>Change consumer keys to function keys in PhpStorm</appendix>
        <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::BRIGHTNESS_DOWN, KeyCode::F1</autogen>
        <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::BRIGHTNESS_UP, KeyCode::F2</autogen>
        <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::EXPOSE_ALL, KeyCode::F3</autogen>
        <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::LAUNCHPAD, KeyCode::F4</autogen>
        <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::VK_CONSUMERKEY_KEYBOARDLIGHT_LOW, KeyCode::F5</autogen>
        <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::VK_CONSUMERKEY_KEYBOARDLIGHT_HIGH, KeyCode::F6</autogen>
        <autogen>__KeyToKey__ ConsumerKeyCode::MUSIC_PREV, KeyCode::F7</autogen>
        <autogen>__KeyToKey__ ConsumerKeyCode::MUSIC_PLAY, KeyCode::F8</autogen>
        <autogen>__KeyToKey__ ConsumerKeyCode::MUSIC_NEXT, KeyCode::F9</autogen>
    <!-- I want to use these while in PhpStorm
        <autogen>__KeyToKey__ ConsumerKeyCode::VOLUME_MUTE, KeyCode::F10</autogen>
        <autogen>__KeyToKey__ ConsumerKeyCode::VOLUME_DOWN, KeyCode::F11</autogen>
        <autogen>__KeyToKey__ ConsumerKeyCode::VOLUME_UP, KeyCode::F12</autogen>
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Super awesome, very helpful, thanks! I did have to make a few changes on my system: F1 is ConsumerKeyCode::BRIGHTNESS_DOWN, F2 is ConsumerKeyCode::BRIGHTNESS_UP, F5 is ConsumerKeyCode::KEYBOARDLIGHT_LOW, and F6 is ConsumerKeyCode::KEYBOARDLIGHT_HIGH. All discovered using Karabiner's event viewer. – jbyler Feb 24 at 10:04

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