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From my experience Caps Lock key is only a problem. Sometimes I'll want to press Shift, but will instead hit Caps Lock. Sometimes I'll want to press TAB (I'm a software developer, so I want that very often), but again I'll hit Caps Lock. So suddenly all letters become capital which I didn't want. When I need to use all capitals (which is sooo rare) I can just hold Shift.

Caps Lock was driving me nuts to such extent that I just removed the key from the keyboard - it was useless for me. Still I wonder...

Are there scenarios when I would really benefit from using the Caps Lock key?

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closed as not constructive by random Aug 26 '11 at 17:19

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Never really used it but I saw some 'tard use it on daily basis. It'd make them even 5x longer to type something but hey..why use Shift? :) – Shiki Jul 20 '10 at 6:32
I use AutoHotKey to require 'Shift+CapsLock' to switch on which prevents accidental use.… – pelms Jul 20 '10 at 10:49
Looks to me what you need is learn to type correctly instead of advocating to removal of keys. The whole question is absurd - what next - removal of scroll lock key ? Then sys rq key ? Then function keys (since with the exception of F1-F5, most users don't know what those do either) ? ... Nonsense. – Rook Aug 9 '10 at 16:04
@ldigas: Will you tell about learing how to walk properly next time I encounter a pit in a sidewalk and stumble over its edge? Caps lock is really unique - it is really badly designed, arguably useless and mishitting it leads to quite serious consequences. Yes, a person can get used to any crap, but my choice is to remove the key and use saved time for something useful. – sharptooth Aug 11 '10 at 8:07
@sharptooth - Actually, yes, I will. Cause if you see a pit on the boardwalk, and fall in it, that really isn't the pit's fault, is it? The rest of the reply I won't even begin to comment. – Rook Aug 16 '10 at 1:28

21 Answers 21



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+1 I should actually flag this post. :-D – Tom Wijsman Jul 20 '10 at 9:28
WElL mIxED caPItaLIZatioN iS EvEN woRSe. – Hello71 Jul 20 '10 at 14:29

It makes great remapping to Ctrl so that you don't have to strain your pinkies by trying to get all the way to the corners.

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I made Caps Lock and Backspace switch positions so it's faster to correct mistakes, for people into hotkeys Ctrl is indeed a nice idea. – Tom Wijsman Jul 20 '10 at 10:57
The Sun Microsystems "Unix" keyboard that I have already has that done. Control is to the left of "A" and Caps Lock is down under the shift key. – Brian Knoblauch Jul 20 '10 at 18:49
@TomWij can you give an example of how that is faster? I see how it can let you quickly use backdelete and forward delete alternatively quickly.. but then you're using both hands and not hitting arrows keys. When I delete, forward or backward, I tend to have one hand on the arrow keys, and the other on either back or forward delete. Can you give an example of where your method is better than the original position of backspace? – barlop Nov 14 '10 at 15:45
When you're typing something. <-- Let's say I made a typo in "typing" so that it would read "typnig", then I could use my backspace three times without moving my fingers much and type the correct order right away. Stretching for the old backspace location would deny me from immediately continuing... Please note that this would only be the case if you are a blind 10 finger typist, I tend to see mistakes directly instead of words later. If I need to correct a grammatical issue, I indeed use CTRL+(SHIFT)+LEFT/RIGHT to select it followed by a backspace to remove it... – Tom Wijsman Nov 14 '10 at 21:45
It makes a great remapping for vim. – new123456 Jun 23 '11 at 16:22

Its probably useless for the majority but i think its very useful for a one hand amputee person.

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Rather than taking out the Caps Lock, you can just Disable Caps Lock.
The article also describes how to to Change Caps Lock into a SHIFT key.

But seriously speaking, I do use the Caps Lock when typing a long upper-case word, like CAPSLOCK.


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+1 for the picture. :) – Albic Jul 20 '10 at 12:51

It's another key. You only have 100 and so of them, and most of them have a purpose. Caps Lock, to you, and I, falls in the same category as Scroll Lock, or Pause/Break, or frankly most of the F keys. You see "Useless", I see "Opportunity".

Grab a copy of AutoHotKey, tell that caps lock to get out of your face, and do what you want. I have mine set to focus the window in the center of my primary monitor, or if held for half a second open up Executor, and then execute upon releasing the key. Don't remove the key, remove its function!

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103 by my count ;) – Northborn Design Jan 26 '13 at 18:11

Not a direct answer, but just thought I'd add that I work in an office with a pretty high proportion of slightly older female admin staff, and from what I've seen most of them never touch the shift key, and I mean never.

It's worrying seeing them log in of a morning, because you can see them setting/unsetting Caps Lock half way though thier password, and seeing them turn Caps Lock on to capitalise the first letter and then turn it off again after the first letter to type the rest of the word is almost as comical as it is disturbing...

So, I would say the Caps Lock key is there primarily for historical reasons, but as per other answers here there are some (fairly niche) uses for it still.

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true... and not only slightly older and not only female and not only admin!!! – laurent Jul 20 '10 at 12:48
@laurent - oh yes, indeed, I'm not trying to stereotype (well, not too much anyway), but I do feel that I'm in quite a sterotypical department in many respects, so it made a good example – DMA57361 Jul 20 '10 at 13:36
Why don't you teach them how to use the shift key? :) – Donotalo Jul 21 '10 at 10:41
True, there are really people convinced that only one key must be pressed on a keyboard at the same time. That's why they are using Edit > Copy or taskbar with their mouse every time: because there are no Ctrl-lock or Alt+lock. – MainMa Jul 25 '10 at 19:35
@MainMa - hadn't though of it that way, but seems like a very valid point. – DMA57361 Jul 26 '10 at 7:31

historical footnote

OLPC decided to remove the CAPS LOCK key from its keyboard layouts.

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One of the best things about that frustratingly tiny keyboard. :) – Broam Jul 20 '10 at 15:19

As a developer, I us caps lock for writing SQL, adding constants, and emphasizing particular points on why something can't be done. As a gamer, I re-map the functionality from shift up to caps lock and from ctrl up to shift so I'm not reaching for it. Still fairly useful as far as I'm concerned.

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Note that SQL is case-insensitive. So writing SQL queries using all caps, you just make it less readable. – MainMa Jul 25 '10 at 19:37
Yes, SQL is case insensitive, but everywhere I've seen, good SQL has the commands written in all caps, and items like field names, tables, etc. in propercase. makes the SQL very easy to read and parse. – Tom Jul 29 '10 at 17:47

Probably the best answer is that for the 0.00001% of the time you need it, you really need it.

Somewhere there is someone typing in COBOL or FORTRAN maintaining a legacy system, and the program is written in all caps.

Somewhere there is someone creating an emulator for the Commodore-64 that runs under 64-bit Windows 7, and he's writing a BASIC program for it.

I can't imagine the pain that one would feel if I had to write a FORTRAN or COBOL program without caps lock. The pain of just writing the program is bad enough...

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There aren't very many uses these days. Excel capitalizes for itself as necessary, Windows is not case-sensitive, rarely are paths or filenames in case-sensitive operating systems all-caps, etc. Rather than ripping out the key though, it's possible to disable it on Windows and Linux. Probably on OS X too, I just haven't seen a hack for it personally.

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I know someone who has mapped the "caps lock" key to function the same as CTRL. It's often easier to reach than the left-side CTRL key. He works in emacs, so if you do actully want something in all caps, you just have to write it lowercase, mark it and do C-x C-u.

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I like to have a second Control key instead of Caps Lock.

In OS X, go to System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Keyboard -> Modifier Keys... and change or turn off Caps Lock, Control, Option and Command.

For more radical key remapping in OS X, use KeyRemap4MacBook. Despite the name, it works on non-Macbook machines, too.

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Maybe if you were typing lots and lots of constants? Or Excel formulas, because IIRC, Excel formulas are all-caps.

Of course, if you really need it, you can still press the key, it's just that you'll be pressing that funny-looking white thing that sticks out of the gaping hole where the key was, instead of the key itself.

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No, that hole is so small on Logitech Deluxe 250 that fingers don't fit there. So I can't press Caps Lock without something thin anymore. – sharptooth Jul 20 '10 at 6:01

I started using computers 1970 on a nearly daily basis (from mainframes to PCs, notebooks etc.), but there are only a very few instances on which I used the shift-lock key deliberately, mostly for writing capitalized headlines. But there are countless instances when I pushed this key unintentionally, typing tenfinger-system without looking at the keyboard. Therefor I started to remap this key whenever possible from shift-lock to a simple shift-key and I have not missed it since.

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You can remap keyboard to change it to do some more useful stuff.

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Maybe Caps Lock is a metaphor for how you could live your life. For the average user, they need the stability provided by Caps Lock, operating only in a single mode, where things are as they seem. The shift key is just too shifty for many who may not be attuned to multi-modal thinking, for case flip-flopping as it were.

I notice this is a lot teaching typing to students in the developing world, where education systems don't prepare students for abstract thinking in the way other school systems might.

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I'm also a programmer. The caps lock is useful to me when I am typing the names of constants (e.g. PI) in languages where the convention is to type them in all caps.

Outside programming, it is also sometimes useful when I am filling in forms for which it is required or seems desirable to complete the form in all caps. (Such as using L (el) instead of 1 (one) to avoid possible confusion.)

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I always hit the CAP-LOCK key so I have used this for over a year. Works for me It's free

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Ask not what caps lock can do for you... better ask yourself what can YOU do for caps lock.

(Caps,using caps lock, added for emphasis)

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On older laptops, you don't have a Windows key, so I remapped the CAPS-LOCK key to that.


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Using Linux as operating system, and living in France (but my remark is good for other latin languages), CAPSLOCK is a useful key to make accentuated capital letters, like À É È Ç ...

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