Use Caps Lock For Hand-Friendly Text Navigation

Use Caps Lock For Hand-Friendly Text Navigation

After we showed you how to disable the Caps Lock key, reader Philipp wrote in with his unbelievably geeky use for the otherwise pointless key—by using it to help navigate while editing text.

Photo by Mike On MauiPhilipp’s idea was to use the Caps Lock key as a way to toggle keys on the front row for navigation instead of having to constantly reach for the arrow keys—so you hold down Caps Lock and use J, K, L, I to move the cursor Left, Down, Right, and Up.

He took it a few steps further and added keys that simulate Home, End, and even copy/paste—might be a little complicated to learn at first, but once you get used to it, you might just be sold on the idea. Since he implemented all the functionality as an AutoHotkey script, you can easily adjust it to fit your own needs—I’m working on my own version that uses the vim keys instead.

The list of functions includes:

Normal usage with capslock as a modifier:
j: left
k: down
l: right
i: up
h: simulates CTRL+left (jumps to the next word)
ö: simulates CTRL+right (commented out, you will need to adjust for your keyboard layout)
,: simulates CTRL+Down
8: simulates CTRL+Up
u: simulates “Home” (jumps to the beginning of the current line) (i forgot to mention this in my comment)
o: simulates “End”
Backspace: simulates “Delete”
b: cut
c: copy
v: paste

If you keep pressing Alt in addition to Capslock it works as if you are pressing “Shift” –> you highlight the text. Shift + Capslock activates the actual Capslock functionality (normal capslock-hitting deactivates it again).

The Hand Friendly Navigation script is a free download for Windows, requires AutoHotkey. Great job, Philipp!

Got your own ubergeeky method for navigating around your operating system with the keyboard? Send us an email at tips [at], or just share it with everybody in the comments.

HandFriendly AutoHotkey Script


  • Decent idea for most users. But I frequently use the caps key for typing its original purpose. As an engineer I type in AutoCAD and official documents and model numbers. So i do make use of plenty of these kind of scripts and keymapping to help my productivity. Don’t really see this one being that useful unless you’re editing a lot of text on a laptop with awkward arrow keys.

  • It’s a very useful patch
    thank you very much guys..

    although I would love it if I can exchange the Shift and Alt

    like: use the shift for highlighting a text
    and the ALT for Deactivating the CapsLock

  • I disagree with the fellow who said this wouldn’t “be that useful.” I have my roots in 1980s computing, and for me, the Control key was where the Caps Lock key usually is now. It was a convenient place for a modifier key; putting Caps Lock there made it more difficult to use a computer (even if by just a slight amount).

    This script is a fantastic idea to restore functionality to that location on the keyboard. Unlike that chap above, if I’m gonna have some all-caps text, I’ll just hold one of the Shift keys to type it. Caps Lock is almost useless.

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