My Keyboard Is Stuck on All Caps

By Elizabeth Mott

Keyboarding mishaps can force you to retype text that results from touch typing with your fingers in the wrong places or your keyboard's caps lock being accidentally engaged. If you've checked your input settings and still can't spot the source of unplanned capitalization, your symptoms may result from operating system features, hardware problems, specialized typing situations or typeface choices. Double-check your input setup for clues to the source of your problem.

Accessibility Options

If you're accustomed to using the Accessibility features built-in to Microsoft Windows 8, a PC set up using the operating system's default keyboard behaviors can produce output that differs from what you expect. For example, with Toggle Keys active, Windows plays a sound when you press the "Caps Lock" key, forestalling accidental activations. The "Caps Lock" key forms part of the keyboard shortcuts that trigger Narrator features, including the commands that signal Windows to read a document aloud, raise or lower the computer voice's volume level, or exit Narrator. If you activate the "Caps Lock" key only to discover that your subsequent key presses trigger the production of capital letters instead of text-to-speech, press "Windows-Enter" to start Narrator.

Defective Hardware

A worn out or defective keyboard may mis-register key presses, ignoring input or producing the wrong result in response to it, including a sudden burst of all-caps typing. If you have access to another keyboard, swap out your current device for a temporary replacement to see if an alternative keyboard solves your problem. Some third-party input devices, including keyboards, rely on driver software to support wireless operation, or advanced or specialized functions. An update, to the driver or your OS itself, may drop your current driver out of sync with your operating system and disrupt input functions. If you use a wireless keyboard, check its batteries to verify that they still hold a workable charge.

Styles and Entry Fields

Designers and programmers can set up word processing and page-layout styles, form fields and other specialized input areas on database applications, digital paperwork and online registration pages to turn typed input into all-caps output. To verify that your computer functions normally, type some text in another application, document or window and examine the results. If you see normal output outside the program or file that yields capitalized text that you can't override, you can point to the setup of the website or form as the source of the all-caps phenomenon.

Other Considerations

Some typefaces consist entirely of capital letters. Where regular fonts include lower-case characters, these designs incorporate either small caps or a second set of full-sized capitals. Switch to another typeface, or a different style of the one you're already using, and examine the text for a change in appearance. Use the Windows Character Map to explore the character set of a typeface and verify that it includes lower-case letters.