How to Turn On/Off Caps Lock on Chromebook

It's not intuitive, but there are ways to do it

Chromebook on a desk

What to Know

  • Press Alt+Search to turn caps lock on. Press it again to switch caps lock off.
  • Or, turn off caps lock by pressing Shift or mousing over the time in the menu bar > clicking Caps Lock is on.
  • To edit the shortcut, select Settings icon > Device > Keyboard > make changes as needed.

This article explains how to turn caps lock on and off on a Chromebook, which lacks the actual key.

How to Turn Caps Lock on or off on a Chromebook

If you're making the switch from PC or Mac to a Chromebook, you'll notice the Caps Lock key has been replaced by a Search key, identified by a magnifying glass icon.

The search key on the Chromebook keyboard.
 Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

You'll need to resist the urge to press and hold the Search key when you want to enable caps lock. Instead, press Alt+Search and you'll see a notification that caps lock is on. Press Alt+Search again to turn caps lock off.

Alternate Ways to Enable Caps Lock on Chromebook

Alternatively, you can turn off caps lock through the menu bar or by pressing Shift, or you can mouse over the time on the right side of the menu bar and click the Caps Lock is on notification to turn it off.

Caps Lock pop-up notification on a Chromebook

If you enabled caps lock by accident, click the notification pop-up when it first appears to turn it off; otherwise, you'll need to try one of the above methods mentioned to turn it off.

Change the Keyboard Setting for Caps Lock

You can also change the keyboard shortcuts for caps lock or other Chromebook functions through the Keyboard Settings options.

  1. Click the time on the right side of the menu bar (or press Alt+Shift+s), and select the Settings icon from the menu that appears.

    The Settings icon on a Chromebook computer.
  2. Select Device.

    The Chromebook Device option in Settings.
  3. Click Keyboard.

    The Chromebook Keyboard Option.
  4. Change your keyboard shortcuts as appropriate. For example, you can click Search, then choose the option to use the search key as a caps lock key, if that's your preference.

    The option to make the Search Key default to Caps Lock on a Chromebook.

Why There's No Caps Lock on Chromebook

Chromebook was designed for people using the web, and writing in all caps is the equivalent of shouting online. More importantly, most people don't use it for more than a few words at a time, so it wasn't a critical feature for Google to include. Additionally, Google and other manufacturers wanted to create a compact design for the Chromebooks, so extra keys had to go to make the keyboard smaller to fit the desired form factor of the laptop. 

However, while the Caps Lock key may be gone, the functionality is still there. It's just hidden inside Chrome OS.

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