Computer: Keyboard
Caps Lock Cycling   (+3, -1)  [vote for, against]
Multiple setting for Caps Lock key

We have been discussing the various ways to correct or change the case of entered text in word processing software recently. But all these measures beg the real question: why is the Caps Lock key binary?

The Palm, for example, automatically capitalizes the first letter in an entry. But that is not enough on a device where every keystroke is subject to possible misinterpretation. When you are entering names and addresses, then the first letter of every word should be automatically capitalized.

In reality, there are multiple capitalization modes - ALL CAPS, Sentence case, Title Case, lower case. What I would like to see is the Caps Lock setting on keyboards (and Palms) toggle through these settings in turn. We'd need a couple more LEDs on the keyboard, but that is hardly a burden in these days of proliferating keys and indicators.
-- DrCurry, May 22 2004

Anti Caps Lock Group
This site tells you how to disable it completely so you don't ACCIDENTALLY START SCREAMING AT PEOPLE. [lunaras, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Scroll Lock Key
For [dob]. I didn't know it did anything. I might start using it in Excel. (plays around in Excel) Nope, will never use it. [Worldgineer, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Would be a big slowdown to be typing in sentence case and then have to cycle for all caps to enter an acronym or proper name.
-- bristolz, May 22 2004

Maybe <shift> would reverse the cycle order?
-- angel, May 22 2004

Maybe a scroll wheel in or in place of the button?
-- Gromit, May 22 2004

Rather than extra keys, scroll wheels or lights on the keyboard, why not do this thing in software? How about using the scroll wheel on the mouse while the shift key is held down?
-- dark white, May 22 2004

Well, not everyone has a wheel mouse. The original idea, without [Gromit]'s wheel, would be executed in software, viz, the keyboard driver.
-- angel, May 22 2004

I thought the spirit of the idea was to have the logic and functionality built in to the keyboard.
-- Gromit, May 22 2004

"Well, not everyone has a wheel mouse."

Why have they not?
-- bristolz, May 22 2004

Dunno. I wouldn't be without mine. But then, some people use Macs, or Linux. Go figure.
-- angel, May 22 2004

This is for caps lock, right? Then typing in sentence mode, you'd hold down [SHIFT] (not [CAPS LOCK]), exactly like you're used to doing now, to get out those pesky acronyms (unless you judiciously use the caps lock for all your acronyms. Just use your off hand pinky to hold down the appropriate shift key) Anyway, seems to me like the only time I use the caps lock key is to toggle back to normal when it gets inadvertently stuck in CAPS, SO ADDING SOME USable functions to that annoying key would be fine with me.

By the way, I have a Mac, AND a wheel mouse.
-- oxen crossing, May 24 2004

Ah, of course. How silly of me.
-- bristolz, May 24 2004

//By the way, I have a Mac, AND a wheel mouse.//
I was not implying any incompatability between the two, simply that some people make choices which seem inexplicable to others.
-- angel, May 24 2004

not everyone's even got a mouse :(
-- neilp, May 24 2004

i use capslock as block capitals are the standard on our Drawings. so it does have an application just a rather specialised and pointless one.
-- engineer1, May 24 2004

Some people in poor countries like Liverpool don't even have a Graphical User Interface.
-- spacemoggy, May 24 2004

why not a capitalistaion option built into the software, such as a menu click on the approriate sentance / word and select the option a la spell checker. there's enough crap cluttering up my keyboard already, dont want another bell/whistle.
-- etherman, May 24 2004

You wouldn't have another one, you'd have one that already have doing something slightly different.
-- angel, May 24 2004

I use a Building Management System softare engineering tool that has been designed to automatically turn on Caps Lock when entering configuration mode (since this is the default use for calling functions (e.g Sensor One = S1, seQuence two = Q2).
The problem is that the bugger doesn't turn itself off again when you exit. I guess that any auto caps/sentence etc will cause problems for the user as the software program will always be unsure of your environment/requirement and conflict with either your own ideas or the 'ideas' of another program being run.
I do like the idea of a toggle between 4 options though. I would also like to see MSWords function of being able to highlight text and reselect the Caps option. You can't do this in Excel.
-- gnomethang, May 24 2004

[gnomethang] I've seen software that did that, and been puzzled why they didn't simply translate lowercase alpha into uppercase alpha when typed? I guess the accented characters might be tricky, but I wouldn't expect those to be used in identifiers or the like anyway.
-- supercat, May 24 2004

A couple of things:

First off I hate the caps lock, there is a reason we have multiple fingers and it is to press and hold the shift key. It is not at all unusual for me to type even one-handed and it's not that hard. Plus I hate bumping the caps lock key when I am using shift and suddenly screaming at people.

Second, if you use Microsoft Word you can highlight any text and press shift-F3 and change it to all caps, all lowercase, and title case where the first letter of each word is capitalized. I know it doesn't work in notepad or wordpad, but I'm not sure about MS Works or any other text editors.
-- lunaras, May 25 2004

You can have that useless "Scroll Lock" key back for a start - then you can use it for any number of CAPS-related functions.
-- dobtabulous, May 25 2004

[supercat] - True enough, the usual ASCII character set is illegal due to standard network protocols (very low level). My point was that for the very basic programming /config level it may (just) be acceptable. Having said that, it now does the same for networked 'terse text' comms which are usually title or lower case. I just wish they would switch the damn caps off on exit like they do on entry!.
-- gnomethang, May 25 2004

lunaras: we are specifically talking about cross-application entry here. What works in Word doesn't work in Outlook.
-- DrCurry, May 26 2004

How about having a 2-stage [CAPS LOCK] key - press it normally and it will act as a [SHIFT] key so you can use it for touch typing; if you want [CAPS LOCK] press it further until you can feel it "click" slightly. It wouldn't have to stay stuck down... it would just be necessary to have some sort of snap-through on it so you could feel when you got past the [SHIFT] key setting. Then you could combine both left shift and caps lock into one key, without accidentally turning caps on and bellowing at online passers-by.
-- david_scothern, May 26 2004

mORe LeDS! YEs!
-- xylene, May 26 2004

I personally don't use or even own a mouse at all, or a monitor for that matter, as I am a blind individual. hot-keys seem to be much faster then sighted people playing with things dangling from their computers in order to find things in a GUI. But it is frustrating when I trip over the stupid superfluous caps-lock key or push it instead of shift. And the only other time I ever touch that key is, as someone stated above, to turn off the irritating function which it invokes. I propose getting rid of it or assigning a more useful function to it.
-- MechanicallySeparatedChicken, May 26 2004

MechanicallySeparatedChicken, being as I am completely ignorant of such interfaces, I'm inclined to ask, do you have a keyboard with some sort of mechanical or tactile feedback device to tell when the caps lock is on "at a glance" or can you only tell when all of the letters come out capitalized?

I don't mean to single you out, I just find the alternative interface to be interesting. Having no monitor, does that mean that you use screen reader software or do you have another type of output device?

Maybe we should all have keyboards with audio annunciators: "Caps Lock On/Off" when it changes state. Such voice synthesis could help us with identifying the mode if all of this proposed functionality is to be kept within the confines of the keyboard functionality.
-- Gromit, May 26 2004

And it should yell when it's on.
-- Detly, May 26 2004

And here's me thinking this was an idea to help make bicycle users more visible to motorists...
-- lostdog, May 26 2004

Zanzibar's anno reminds me of an old Saturday Night Live bit in which Garrett Morris was picture-in-pictured in the corner of the screen interpreting for the hearing shouting.
-- Gromit, May 26 2004

I like this one.
-- nomadic_wonderer, Apr 29 2005

random, halfbakery