Caps Lock is a very handy key, there are more uses than simply just helping you type in all caps when you feel like YELLING at someone on Twitter. Sometimes, unfortunately, Caps Lock can be a little harder to turn off than it was to turn on.
This article will cover everything you need to know about Caps Lock, what it’s for and some nifty little tricks you might not have heard of, as well as how to turn it off should it become stuck on.
There are many reasons Caps Lock won’t turn off, normally the fix is quick and easy, but not always. Here’s hoping for you it will be the former!
Table of Contents
What is caps lock?
Caps lock is a very important key found on every single keyboard. It is usually the third key up from the bottom left corner, it will be indicated by the word Caps Lock or sometimes Cap Lk if you are using a smaller keyboard, like a 60% keyboard for example.
Since caps lock is a very important key that can have a lot of implications regarding the work you are doing, it’s not uncommon for the keyboard to have some kind of indication of whether or not the caps lock is currently activated.
You’ll usually find that the indicator is a small light either on the key itself of on the top of the keyboard. If the light is on, caps lock is on. If the light is off, caps lock is off. The light doesn’t actually have anything to do with caps lock being activated or not it’s just an indicator so if the light should happen to break it will have no impact on whether or not caps lock works.
Caps lock itself is a very handy key that essentially works as a constant shift keystroke when typing. When caps lock is activated all alphabetic keystrokes will register in their capital variant. Similarly to how if you hold shift when typing with caps lock off letters will be capitalized when holding shift with caps lock on letters will revert to their lowercase form.
If you find yourself instinctively pressing shift for the first letter of a sentence yet it’s coming out lowercase you have very likely forgotten to take caps lock off. As someone who works at a keyboard a lot, I can assure that’s normal as I do it several times a day.
It’s a good idea to try and ensure you always remove caps lock as soon as you no longer need it as it can create numerous errors when working. This is especially problematic while programming as you’ll find that some languages respond poorly to random strings of capitalized characters.
Trying to log into an account in all caps might trigger your account to be locked for continued incorrect passwords if passwords for that website/server are case sensitive.
What are some cool tricks you can use caps lock for?
Caps lock itself is pretty much exclusively used for capitalizing letters. It has its problems but it’s normally pretty easy to use. If you do find that you have accidentally typed a long string of words in all caps and you aren’t eager to delete them and start again, there is a handy trick you should be aware of.
Swap entire selected area to caps or lowercase
Selecting all the words that were accidentally capitalized and then pressing control + shift + F3 will immediately swap from upper to lowercase. Sometimes it’s easier to just delete and start over, but not always.
This works both ways, bear in mind. So don’t go using this on entire documents and then act surprised when suddenly all of your words have lost their capitalization and you’ve messed up your entire document. If you do happen to make such a blunder, Control + Z is your friend.
Audio cue for caps activation
Caps lock only has a small visual indicator in the form of light, in some cases it doesn’t even have these. If this is a problem for you, there is a little trick you can do to provide a small audio cue that caps lock is on. You can enable this by finding your computer’s control panel and looking for the section labeled accessibility options.
Click the keyboard tab and then the toggle keys section, confirm these selections by clicking Ok. Now you’ll hear a sound whenever you use caps lock or any of the other lock keys.
Visual cue for caps activation
If that’s not enough, you can go back to the accessibility menu and click sounds instead of keyboard, when you click on the settings menu you will find that there is a toggle called flash active. When enabled this will flash the current window when you activate or deactivate caps lock, or any of the other locks.
My caps lock is stuck, why?
When your caps lock is stuck in either the off or on position it can be very frustrating. You lose out on a lot of functionality which can be annoying to work around, especially if you use the key often. When you do find that this setting is stuck in either the off or on position, there are two factors we need to consider. Those factors are whether or not the error is hardware or software-based.
If it’s hardware-based you are going to need to take a closer look at what’s wrong, perhaps even needing to take the keyboard apart. If it’s software-based it’s a little more hit and miss whether or not the error will be easy to fix or not. Sometimes the only thing you need to do is restart your computer, but it’s not always that easy, unfortunately.
A lot of the time with issues like this we have no real way of identifying what the cause of the problem is on the software side. That doesn’t mean it can’t still be solved, but it makes the whole process a little more difficult.
Some simple fixes to caps lock being stuck:
The first fix we should discuss is assuming that the caps lock key itself is stuck. If that’s the case, as brutal as it sounds, you should try to aggressively push the key down rapidly for a few seconds. This will likely un-jam it if has become stuck somehow.
Replace the keycap/switch and clean the keyboard
If it still won’t un-jam, I would recommend taking the keyboard apart and removing the keycap and switch and consider replacing them, or at least cleaning them before you reinstall them. Taking a keyboard apart isn’t overly difficult, most are just held together with a few screws, so it shouldn’t take you too long.
Check the software
If that’s not the problem, then we can safely assume it’s software related. Here’s the problem; unless you are well versed in running diagnostics on your computer chances are you aren’t going to get any obvious red flags indicating an error with your caps lock key or how it’s registering.
Close the program and re-open
The first step I would recommend is closing whatever program you are using and reopening it to see if that’s where the error is located. Whether that means closing your word document or simply closing your browser pages. I doubt this will work but there is always a chance, it only takes a few seconds too so you might as well give it a go.
Restart the pc
If that doesn’t work, you will probably want to consider restarting your PC. Doing so will often reset whatever weird setting, switch, command, or error that currently exists and revert to a correctly running software version. Remember, most common errors are a simple bug that can be swatted by turning it off. They crop up all the time and are nothing to be concerned about.
Update computer software
If for whatever reason this hasn’t worked, you will probably want to go ahead and update your computer software. If there are no new software updates available just reinstall the previous (Or preferably current) version. This should reset any problems that you have as soon as you force restart the computer.
Enable caps in the settings
Once you have done this, if it’s still not working, this means the only explanation could be that you have accidentally locked caps lock on or off. Luckily the fix here is very simple, first, locate your advanced keyboard settings and then look for the language bar. The language bar will give you access to the advanced key section.
Once you are here, you should see an indication referring to how to turn off (and on) the caps lock keys. If the section titled shift is selected that means you can only turn caps lock on and off by holding the shift key. You want to change it to select caps lock, of course. Click ok and then click apply and you should be good to go!
Hopefully, you now have a better idea about what the caps lock is and how it works. And more importantly, hopefully, you now know how to stop the caps lock from being stuck in either the on or off position.
It isn’t a major problem, it shouldn’t be too hard to fix. It might be a little tedious working your way through all the potential fixes, but you shouldn’t have any trouble if you follow this guide. Good luck with your sticky caps lock key!