Windows 10 Quick Tips – Scroll Lock


scroll-lock-keyScroll Lock?

The scroll lock key can be a mystery to many. Most keyboards still have one although they are slowly disappearing due to atrophy and becoming vestigial parts from a distant past. I am well-familiar with the “old days” and even I can’t remember a time I ever used it.

When is the last time you used the scroll lock key? What is the scroll lock key? How do you use the scroll lock key? This week’s Quick Tips article will try to answer these burning questions… read on…

What Is Scroll Lock Used For?

arrow-keysIn the days before the ubiquitous mouse existed, people used the arrow keys on their keyboards to navigate through their favorite programs. The scroll lock key changed the behavior of these keys. Let’s say you were using a spreadsheet program. Way back when, you would use the arrow keys to move your focus from cell to cell. We still do this today. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you wanted to scroll the entire page? You could still use the arrow keys to move across a number of cells until the page started scrolling, or you could hit the scroll lock key. Once that was enabled, your arrow keys would now scroll the page instead of moving a single cell at a time.

Surprise!! This still works today and might actually be useful if you want to keep your hands on the keyboard. Try it out for yourself. You might find it mildly entertaining.

Scroll Lock Remapping

keytweak-image

Once you have gotten bored playing with the scroll lock key, which I am quite sure will eventually happen, you may wonder if there is a way to put it to some state-of-the-art use. There is and it’s called remapping. There are many remapping utilities available on the internet and, as always, some will be better-suited to your needs than others. As with any freely available software on the internet, make it your business to do some research and try to find reputable sources. The bad guys are ever-present and vigilant.

There are many ways to make the scroll lock key very useful. You can remap it to a single other keystroke or run an entire macro which is a powerful option. The scope of your imagination is the only limitation here. Think of it as a free macro key which normally only appears on higher-end keyboards.


To be honest, I don’t personally have much use for these tools. Not because I don’t like them, but because I haven’t needed them. The only keyboard remapping I ever do is in my all-important gaming environments. Since I don’t use these types of programs I am not a good source for advice on the matter. All I can do is offer you a couple of choices from a list of highly-rated free tools in this niche:

  • KeyTweak — You can read about KeyTweak and download it from BleepingComputer
  • AutoHotkey — For the most flexibility, based upon what I’ve read, AutoHotkey may be a very good choice

Note: I have not tried either of these utilities so I leave you to your own devices.

There are perhaps hundreds more from which to choose, but these two seemed to be at the top of most lists I saw. Try them out and let us know what you think.

We would like to hear if/how you have remapped your keyboard and which software you are using for that purpose. As always, if you have any helpful comments or suggestions, please share them with us,

Richard


About the Author

Richard Pedersen

Richard received his first computer, a C-64, in 1982 as a gift and began dabbling in BASIC. He was hooked! His love for computing has led him from the old “XT” boxes to the more modern fare and from clunky 10MB hard drives to smooth and fast modern day SSD drives. He has run BBS services, Fido mail, and even operated his own computer repair business.

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