How to Unlock the Number Lock on IBM Laptop Computers

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Laptop computers have the advantage being portable and self-contained, but among their drawbacks is a keyboard without a separate number keypad. While for most applications number keypads are unnecessary, they can be useful for data entry. Laptops sometimes provide a number keypad by giving certain keys double duty, allowing them to enter numbers rather than letters when a "Number Lock" setting is turned on. Number Lock, however, can get turned on accidentally, or enabled by an operating system by default, which can really mess up your typing. If typing "M" ends up displaying a "0" on your screen, Number Lock is probably the problem.

  • Try to locate the function key. On a T-series ThinkPad, it's in the lower left hand corner. It should be labeled "Fn," and the lettering may be blue, green or red instead of white. If your laptop lacks a "Fn" key, use the "Shift" key for Step 3 below instead.

  • Locate the key labeled with "NmLk". On a T-series ThinkPad it shares a key with "ScrLk" which sits on the very top row between the "PrtSc" and "Pause" keys. On other IBM laptops, the "NmLk" key might share a key with "Delete."

  • While holding down the "Fn" key or the "Shift" key, depending on your model, press the "NmLk" key. This should turn off Number Lock and restore your keyboard to its usual state.

  • Number Lock on an IBM laptop is a "toggle" setting. You can turn Number Lock on by following the same steps.

Tips & Warnings

  • IBM personal computers and notebooks are now sold under the brand name Lenovo. Look to the Lenovo support site for user manuals, tips, troubleshooting and downloads. (See Resources below.)
  • Take full advantage of your number-locked laptop keyboard by learning data entry techniques.

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