Why the ‘Caps Lock’ or ‘Caps Lock’ key might disappear in the future?

Every modern keyboard, like that of a PC or a laptop, has some function keys that many of us take for granted without exploring too much originally. This is the case of ‘Ctrl’, ‘Alt’, ‘Shift’, ‘Alt Gr’, ‘Tab’ and others. Today we are going to talk to you about one of the most particular buttons whose history goes back long before the personal computer, but which could disappear in the near future for a specific reason. We refer to ‘Caps Lock‘, also know as ‘Caps LOCK‘.

The ‘Caps Lock’ or ‘Bloq Caps’ (short for Caps Lock) key has a very simple origin. This is one of the most important innovations received by the mechanical typewriters about a century ago and that, with the popularization of the keyboard QWERTY managed to give way to modern computers.

The Caps Lock key provides a toggle function that allows you to somewhat double the number of possible characters in a cap. dual-chamber typing alphabet keyboard. The button allows to exchange, as its name reveals, between uppercase and lowercase, but its use is exclusive for letters and not for symbols.

With the commercialization of the first typewriters in the 1870s, many innovations appeared. Among them, a button called Shift, which allowed the entire mechanism of the device to be raised so that capital letters could be printed.

Over time, some manufacturers came up with a button called Lock because the letter Shift it lifted the entire weight of the machine and, by design, was usually activated with the little finger. With a lock key, the user could hold the capital letters without straining their finger too much when required.

Decades later, various manufacturers introduced the key Caps Lock which would work exclusively for alphabet letters. This is due to the fact that many typewriters already allowed letters to be exchanged with a different and more comfortable mechanism than that of Shift, that is, without lifting all the equipment.

Already with the rise of the personal computer, the Caps Lock key managed to obtain its space thanks to the fact that it was included by IBM in its emblematic model IBM PC from 1981, in which Shift also existed. The difference between the two (which is still maintained) is that Shift allows access to other characters on any key, whether or not they are symbols, while Caps Lock is used exclusively for the letters of the alphabet.

In recent years, there have been a few attempts to declare the Caps Lock key obsolete, on the premise that it does not perform a function other than Shift. Pieter Hintjens, CEO of iMatrix (a web server company) launched a campaign in 2019 to convince hardware manufacturers to remove Caps Lock.

Long before that, the very Google removed the key from their chrome book in which it was replaced by the ‘everything’ button. For now, there are no major attempts to remove Caps Lock from international standards. The reason could be that, unlike Shift or Alt, Caps Lock refers directly to the capital letters of a language with a Latin alphabet, so it is much easier to understand than the other options.