Blender requires F-keys such as F12 and numpad. The numpad emulation works for me, but I am unable to get the function keys such as F1, F4 and F12 working. For example, F12 should do rendering. So how can I use Blender with a MacBook?

4 Answers 4


You have two options; either hold down fn as L2G suggested, or switch to the F1 etc. keys to work like that directly.

This can be setup in keyboard preferences here:

enter image description here

If you do that, F1 will work as the actual F1 key. If you want to use it for controlling the brightness, you'd hit fn with it.

  • 1
    You just need to remove the shortcuts to Fuction keys from the Keyboard Shortcuts menu. Otherwise F12 is not rendering but dashboard.
    – hhh
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 8:43

To clarify and expand on HHH's comments: in at least some recent versions of OS X, F8, F9, F10, and F12 are set by default as shortcuts to control Expose, Spaces, and Dashboard. Houbysoft's and L2G's solutions don't work in this case; holding fn activates Expose/etc, and checking "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys" in System Preferences/Keyboard just means you get Expose from the unmodified function key instead of from fn + function key.

The solution is: in System Preferences/Keyboard, open the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, and find and uncheck the relevant shortcuts.


To expand on @Robert's solution (which in turn expands on @houbysoft's solution), to get F11 and F12 to execute application-specific functions (such as using F12 to open the developer tools in Chrome), you'll need to:

  1. Execute @houbysoft's solution
  2. Open System Preferences
  3. Go to Keyboard
  4. Go to Shortcuts
  5. Click on Mission Control
  6. Uncheck "Show Desktop" and "Show Dashboard"

Screenshot showing what to uncheck


You need to hold down the fn key (lower-left corner) while you're typing one of the F1F12 keys. This is the norm for any app that uses F-keys, not just Blender.

  • 1
    This does not work for me. When I press this either with houbysoft's suggestion or not, I get the expose screen with a lot of little apps?! EDIT I got it working after disabling the shortcuts in the settings of the houbysoft, thank you.
    – hhh
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 8:38

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