History of the War against Caps Lock


CAPSoff is not the first campaign against this ludicrous key. The http://anticapslock.com/ campaign was launched in Sweden in 2001. The site says, "Our goal here at anticAPSLOCK.com is to have the capslock key removed from keyboards that are manufactured in the future."

Who invented Caps Lock?

Historically, Shift Lock was used to type uppercase on typewriters that had no other form of emphasis - no bold, italic, or underline (except by backspacing and retyping underlines).

  • In the early1980's IBM introduced the PC/XT keyboard with a Caps Lock that shifted only letters, not digits or punctuation.
  • The next generation of IBM PCs came with the PC/AT keyboard which left the Caps Lock and Control keys unchanged.

The Control key was, and still is, very heavily used for combinations like Ctrl+S (Save), Ctrl+C (Cut), Ctrl+V (Paste) and its position on the home row was seen as convenient to many users. However, for some mainframe users, and people still working with typewriters, the Control key was seen as inconvenient.

  • In 1986, IBM introduced the 101 Enhanced Keyboard which moved the Caps Lock onto the home row, under Tab. Many people were unhappy with the positioning of the Control and Escape keys, which were widely used. But this keyboard became the de-facto standard for all modern layouts.

There are several theories about why IBM moved the Caps Lock to such a prominent position, the most likely explanation is that it was used to boost corporate sales, for businesses that used all-uppercase applications. In 1986, this was standard for all mainframe applications. In the PC world, however, the Caps Lock key has been little used, with some people claiming they use it deliberately only once or twice per year.

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