/ Technology


Caps Lock key on laptop keyboard

GOOGLE HAS REVEALED (sorry my Caps Lock key was stuck) that its new Notebooks, based on its Chrome operating system, won’t have a Caps Lock key. At last, the bane of internet conversations will be banished.

Ah, the Caps Lock key. Its propensity to write everything in capitals has been used by excitable internet debaters since the dawn of time. But do we actually need it?

Google doesn’t think so, after announcing that Notebooks based on its Chrome operating system won’t feature the key. Its Cr-48 Chrome Notebook, which is being used in to test the company’s new OS, is already missing it.

Farewell Caps Lock, we won’t miss you

And it’s about time as far as I’m concerned. We’ve often smirked at the use of caps on Which? Conversation – we point out in our guidelines that TYPING IN CAPS SOUNDS LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING. See, that didn’t make you feel very good now did it?

I’ve often had to manually change capped up comments (I won’t name names) into a more dignified lowercased spouting. And let’s just say that it was more time consuming than it should have been. Sure, I’ll admit that I’ve often left the Caps Lock on by mistake, leaving me to re-write whole swathes of content. We’ve all done it.

So do we actually need the Caps Lock? Does anybody use it apart from internet trolls who want to rouse an angry response out of others? Of course, the Shift key will still be with us, letting you put capitals at the beginning of words (though not in front of all words as another of our favourite commenters likes to do). So You’ll Still Be Able To Put Caps In If You So Wish.

Plus, Google has said that you’ll be able to bring back the Caps Lock on your Chrome laptop by trawling through its keyboard settings, so there shouldn’t be any hard feelings.

Are bad comments the fault of Caps Lock?

Nevertheless, are we being disingenuous to the poor old Caps Lock? Is it really responsible for rubbish comments on the web? I’m inclined to agree with Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo who says that people who like to insult others on the net will continue to do so.

For me, the quality of comments stem from not only moderation but from the maturity of the commenters themselves. And thankfully we’re lucky here on Which? Convo. Though I still think killing the Caps Lock key is a step in the right direction, and SHAME ON YOU FOR DISAGREEING WITH ME.


As far as I’m concerned – the only reason I used capitals was because there were no other methods of emphasising shown in your guidelines or website – nor are there the usual Icons to click to use for emphasising. as there are in many other forums I use.

Quite frankly this forum is somewhat amateurish.

Hello Patrick – several websites I use have the features I mentioned – and I cannot really see the difference in use – open to registered users. But the ability to format text.

As far as I’m concerned a Forum is a place to express opinions in either direction – just as this one does. Slightly different from a Debate which is usually restricted to one specific topic

As I said initially – there was no indication that any emphasis could be used. If there had I would have been far happier- and would have quickly complied.

As I do quite a fair bit of sub editing of work written by a huge number of people from all aspects of life, I’m afraid I don’t feel the problem lies with the ‘Caps Lock’ key.
Spelling, grammar and punctuation generally are appalling across the board without starting to bring typing/keyboard skills into the equation.
I have frequently been presented with an entire document in upper case with no punctuation at all – truly a nightmare to correct, believe me!
Patrick, I know I did see your comment at one point giving the detail of how to format comments but cannot recall where it was. Could I perhaps suggest it is included in a small box somewhere on the home page so we may, if we chose, make use of it where we feel appropriate?

Thanks, Patrick. I’m sure it will be very useful!

Pearl Townsend says:
14 December 2010

As some passwords are case sensitive, I suggest that equally some people are case sensitive. Believe me if and when I care to shout, you will know by my choice of words NOT by my choice of case! Incidentally, Which?, the phrase is “bored with” not “bored of” as in “Bored of typing your name, etc, etc,”!!

James says:
14 December 2010

Dear Patrick,

The vision of you re-typing swathes of text had me chuckling. May I suggest the following tip if ever you have to convert text from SHOUTY caps to lower case.

Copy/paste to Word 97 and onwards, then highlight the OFFENDING text. Finally, hold SHIFT key then press F3. This lets you toggle (or cycle) through three styles: Initial uppercase for all, UPPER CASE and lower case.

Of course, it couldn’t have a fourth option for ‘Start each new sentence upper case’ since this would require an extra couple of lines of code for the hardworking propellor heads at M$. But, then again, what would us writers do to get our writing, editing or sub-editing kicks, had such a feature been implemented? 😉

Since you’re suggesting the loss of the caps lock key is A Good Thing, I guess I should say that I’d not miss it on input devices with limited key real estate, but believe it has a place on all full size keyboards.

klint says:
14 December 2010

Of course CAPS LOCK is necessary. How else would you write C++ statements like



It’s not CAPS LOCK that needs to disappear, it’s NUM LOCK. That’s got no use at all. Num lock should be on all the time.

klint says:
15 December 2010

Good point about num lock on laptops, Patrick. I was thinking about the numeric keypad on full-size keyboards. As for caps lock, when I first started using computers (in the 80s) I was using a VDU terminal which only had capital letters – it just was not possible to write in lower case! Then we upgraded to one that did have both upper and lower cases, and the caps lock key was one of the best I’ve ever used to this day: it was different from the others, out of the way, had a different feel and clicked and stayed pushed in, then with the next press it clicked and came out. They just don’t make things the way they used to nowadays.

jenny A says:
22 December 2010

YES PLEASE keep the caps lock; very necessary with artheritic hands

Why lose these keys when some might need them – BUT – move the bloomin things out of the way!! Most Caps lock keys are next to the letter A and when you are rushing its eSY TO MISS the A …. another stupid bit of positioning on some keyboards, is to have the INSERT key next to DEL … again easy to get the wrong one.

Being a bit of a pedant, I agree with Pearl – let’s not get BORED WITH our grammar, it makes us DIFFERENT FROM the rest! Poor use of LESS & FEWER is another bugbear …