Lenovo backlit keyboard – how to turn on and troubleshoot

Not every Lenovo laptop comes with a backlit keyboard, but the ones that come with the feature have an option to turn it on or off as the user wants. 

You can use a combination of keys to enable or disable the backlight on the keyboard. Press the Fn + Spacebar or Esc on the keyboard to control the backlit keyboard. Hold the Fn key and then spacebar to activate the toggle that gives you control over the keyboard backlight. 

How to Turn on Lenovo Backlit Keyboard

A backlit keyboard on a Lenovo laptop allows you to type even in absolute darkness. Numerous Lenovo laptop models are equipped with a backlit keyboard, and almost all of them have the same keyboard shortcut to enable or disable the feature. Here’s how to turn on backlit keyboard Lenovo. 

If you own a Lenovo IdeaPad or ThinkPad with a backlit keyboard, follow the steps below to turn the backlight on/off. 

  1. On your Lenovo laptop, find the keyboard backlight shortcut key. It is generally found on the Spacebar on Lenovo laptops. 
  2. Press the Function key (aka Fn key) and the backlight shortcut key (aka Spacebar) simultaneously. 
Press Fn + Spacebar key
Press Fn + Spacebar key
  1. You can adjust the brightness of the keyboard backlight through different levels on Lenovo laptops. You may increase the brightness by pressing the Function and backlight shortcut keys again. 
  2. To turn off the backlight completely, continue pressing the combination of shortcut keys (Fn+Spacebar), and the backlight will eventually give out. 

How to Turn on Lenovo Keyboard Light (ThinkLight)

Earlier models of Lenovo ThinkPad notebooks lacked a backlit keyboard and instead relied on a built-in LED bulb known as the ThinkLight. It is installed at the top of the screen and beams downwards on the keyboard, offering adequate light for both the keyboard and surroundings.

Here’s how to turn on Lenovo keyboard light (ThinkLight):

  1. Search for the ThinkLight shortcut key. It is commonly referred to as the Page Up key, labeled as PgUp on the keyboard. 
  2. Press the Fn and Page Up keys simultaneously. 
  3. Press the Function and Page Up keys together for a bit longer until the ThinkLight goes off. 

Does my Lenovo Laptop have a Backlit Keyboard? 

You can easily determine whether your Lenovo laptop has a backlit keyboard by looking for the keyboard backlight shortcut, generally placed on the Spacebar. Here’s how you can check to see if your Lenovo laptop model has a keyboard backlight. 

  • If the Space button has a light icon (as seen in the image below), then your system is equipped with a backlit keyboard.
Backlight icon on Lenovo laptop keyboard
Backlight icon on Lenovo laptop keyboard
  • If there is no light icon on the Space button, the laptop does not have a backlight-enabled keyboard. 

How To Enable Lenovo Backlit Keyboard

After you’ve confirmed the existence of the desired backlit keyboard feature on your Lenovo laptop, it’s time to take action and learn how to enable Lenovo backlit keyboard using different methods. 

We will show you the simplest and quickest ways to complete this task by using the proper Function keys on your keyboard or software, which is generally pre-installed on the device.

Using Key Combinations

Using key combinations is the easiest way to control the brightness of your backlit keyboard or turn it on/off. You just need to press and hold the function (Fn) key and spacebar or Esc key (depending on which one has the backlight icon) together. 

Each stroke of the key combination will activate a specific function. The first stroke will trigger the function, while the follow-up stroke will result in a maximum or minimum brightness slider. Look out for the third stroke that will ultimately turn it off. 

Using Lenovo Software

Optionally, you can control the keyboard backlight using a dedicated app – Lenovo Vantage (Windows 10) or Lenovo Settings (Windows 8), both of which are pre-installed in the OS and accessible through the start menu. Below we tell you how to use this software to tweak the backlight on your keyboard. 

Lenovo Vantage (Windows 10)

Using the Lenovo Vantage or Lenovo Settings, you can control the backlight using your mouse or trackpad. 

Here’s how you can open the Lenovo Vantage app on a laptop running Windows 10:

  1. Open the Start menu and click on the Hardware configurations option
  2. Now, click on the Keyboard backlight option
  3. Choose Automatic keyboard backlight 
  4. Select the backlight level you want – Low/High/Off/AutoAut
  5. Choose Auto to keep the backlight illuminated or off to turn off

Note: The Auto option is limited to laptops equipped with light sensors. If your laptop has one, then you can tick the mark on the Enable automatic keyboard backlight option so that your backlit keyboard lights up whenever you turn on your laptop. 

Lenovo Settings (Windows 8.x)

On the other hand, if your laptop runs Windows 8.x, you need to use Lenovo settings to control the keyboard backlight. Here’s how you can open and use the Lenovo Settings:

  1. Open the Start menu or click on the desk icon
  2. Look for the Backlight icon in the right sidebar titled Backlight keyboard or keyboard backlight.
  3. Click on it until you see “on” being displayed.

Note: If your Windows 8 lacks the Lenovo Settings app, you can always download it from the Windows Store. 

How to Turn on Backlit Keyboard Lenovo: Troubleshooting

Couldn’t get the backlit keyboard to work with any of the above steps? The issue might be caused by an unexpected buildup of energy inside the backlight system, blocking it from functioning properly. 

Disconnect Power Completely

Consider disconnecting the laptop’s power for 10 seconds to do a total power drain to resolve this issue. Laptops with non-removable batteries need this solution to drain out the power completely. All you have to do is disconnect the power cable/AC adapter, press and hold the power button for around 10 seconds, and connect the power supply to the PC again.

Remove The Battery

If you have a laptop with a detachable battery, manually separate it from the device (refer to this video to know how to take the battery out of your Lenovo laptop). Keep it separated and press the power button on your laptop for 10 seconds. Put back the battery and turn on the system. Now, repeat the backlight enabling steps detailed in the article to turn on or turn off the light. 

Enter The BIOS Mode

If none of the above troubleshooting methods work, you will need to enter the BIOS mode to see if the feature is turned on or not. To enter the BIOS mode and detect the feature’s current condition, follow the steps below:

  1. Restart the laptop and press enter at the boot screen 
  2. Now, press the F1 key to enter the BIOS mode
  3. Look for Keyboard/Mouse menu and click on it
  4. Search for a Keyboard Backlight field
  5. Check if it is enabled or disabled
  6. Click to enable the feature
  7. Save your settings and exit BIOS

Lenovo Customer Support

If none of the methods work, your final step should be to contact Lenovo customer support. The technical staff may guide you to open the backlight option and fix the issue. If they fail to resolve the issue, they will connect you with a technician for a manual check-up. 


Having a backlit keyboard is one of the nice-to-have features on a Lenovo laptop, which comes in super handy during late-night work when you want to work under dim lighting. However, as great as the feature is, we need complete autonomy over keeping it on or off. 

We hope our guide helps in understanding how to turn on Lenovo backlit keyboard. Let us know in the comments! 

Also, we have extensively covered several topics on Lenovo laptops. If you have been wondering how to take a screenshot on Lenovo, then check out our comprehensive guide – How to screenshot on Lenovo

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About Melissa

Hey! I'm Mel, I write the occasional article for Spacehop, amongst other things. I love meeting new people and chatting, so if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

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