Over the years, I have noticed that people seem to have undue difficulty with the Caps Lock key on keyboards. I like to think that by now most people online these days know that typing in ALL UPPER CASE like this in an email is considered extremely rude. However, I get upper-case emails from people often enough to see my hypothesis is wrong.
Now I have a new theory as to why Caps Lock is such a problem. Recently, I bought an old IBM Selectric typewriter at a thrift shop for $2. Using it forced me to recall that back in the old days, you clicked the Shift key (not the Caps Lock key) to turn off Caps Lock. I had sort of forgotten about that, and in retrospect, it’s really a lot easier than using the Caps Lock key. If you’ve accidentally pressed Caps Lock, odds are decent that you’ll hit the Shift key before you have a whole sentence of all upper case text that you need to go back and fix.
As it turns out, you can make your newfangled Windows XP computer behave like my 25-year old typewriter. You can tell Windows that you want to use Caps Lock to turn on Caps Lock, but use Shift to turn it off. To change it, follow these steps:
1. Choose Start|Settings|Control Panel and double-click Regional and Language Options.
2. In the Languages tab, click the Details button.
3. In the Settings tab, you should see a button called Key Settings. It may be grayed out. If it is, click the Add button and add another keyboard layout (it doesn’t matter which one). Press OK.
4. Back in the Settings tab, click to make sure your original keyboard is highlighted and press the Key Settings button.
5. Now under To turn off Caps Lock, click the radio button next to Press the Shift key. Click OK.
6. Click OK twice more to exit the other two dialog boxes.
Now, try it out. You should be able to turn off Caps Lock just by pressing the Shift key. If it doesn’t work, you may need to reboot your computer. But eventually, you can make your computer work just like your trusty old typewriter. People may call you a Luddite, but at least you won’t be sending rude emails.