How To Adjust Backlit Keyboard Brightness On A Chromebook

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Owning a Chromebook with a backlit keyboard can be exceptionally useful but it's equally useful to know how to adjust that lighting. One backlight setting simply doesn't work for every environment or every circumstance. If the keyboard backlight on a Chromebook — or any device — is too dim in a dark environment, it can be difficult to really see the keys. And what works here is going to vary widely from user to user.

For older users, a brighter backlight than the default setting may be better. For younger eyes, too much brightness can grow painful if they happen to look down at the keyboard a lot. Conversely, the backlit keyboard on a Chromebook may be set too bright. Or it may not be needed at all. Users may want to adjust the setting to save some battery. The savings there aren't going to be substantial, of course. But every little bit helps when it comes to extending battery life.

Finally, it's entirely possible that those who are suffering from a backlit keyboard that "isn't working" have accidentally turned the brightness too low. That's as opposed to the hardware itself having a problem. Turning brightness up would, in that case, act as a "fix."

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Fortunately, Chrome OS on most Chromebooks that feature a backlit keyboard offers a quick way to adjust that lighting. With that said, the setting is generally tucked behind a keyboard shortcut. It's not found in the Chrome OS shelf's Quick Settings. And that means that many users may not even know that changing the setting is possible. Without further ado, let's take a closer look at how users can accomplish the task.

Three keys, lots of backlit Chromebook keyboard levels to adjust

Summarily, users will only need three keys to adjust the brightness of the backlit keyboard on a Chromebook. Those are the "alt" key and the brightness adjustment keys used for the display panel. In Chrome OS, the brightness adjustment keys each feature a "sun"-like icon. One of the two icons is slightly smaller than the other, differentiating the two. The larger, bolder sun-shaped icon takes brightness up while the smaller sun-shaped icon takes brightness down. For clarity, in this 'how to' the smaller key will be referred to as the "brightness down" key. The larger icon will be referred to as the "brightness up" key.

To adjust the brightness of the backlit keyboard on a Chromebook either up or down, users will need to begin by pressing and holding the "alt" key. As with most shortcuts on most operating systems, either the left- or right-hand alt key can be used. Users should just choose to press whichever is easiest to reach while still being able to press the screen brightness keys.

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Adjusting the backlit keyboard to a brighter setting requires users to press the alt key and then either tap or hold the "brightness up" key. Taps will adjust the brightness slowly while holding it will gradually brighten more quickly up until the maximum brightness is reached.

Tuning down the backlighting for a Chromebook keyboard requires users to press the alt key. Then they'll need to tap or hold the "brightness down" key. That's going to work the same as turning the brightness up. Or users can just keep holding the key until the backlighting turns off entirely.