How to Turn On or Off Caps Lock on a Chromebook

How do you turn on or turn off caps lock on a Chromebook? Because Chromebooks have replaced the caps lock key with a search key which opens up the apps menu.

There is a keyboard shortcut for that.

How to Turn On or Off Caps Lock on Chromebook

Chromebooks, from the very first CR48 made news when their keyboard was introduced without the traditional Caps lock key. Google decided to put a search key instead of  that which also doubled as an easy way to open a new tab.

The Secret Key!!

The keyboard shortcut is ALT + SEARCH.

Well, this is the second time this week, the shift key making it to the news. Remember the recent news about the LED inside the shift key starting to work now?

How to Permanently Change Search Key into Caps Lock

There is a way to make the Search key work as caps lock. Always.

  1. Go to settings and search for Keyboard Settings
  2. On the Keyboard Settings pop-up screen, look for the Search dropdown list.
  3. From the Search dropdown list, select Caps Lock
  4. Click OK.


Done! Now try pressing the Search key one more time. You should see the caps lock icon (up arrow) on the taskbar, next to the time, like this:

Now, here is a video explaining these tips in detail:

You are welcome.

In Category: Chromebook


Dinsan made Google Chrome his default browser within hours of its release. He fell in love with Chromebooks from the day he first touched one and is currently obsessed with Chromecasts.

Show 30 Comments
  • Pedram 17/08/2011, 12:59 pm

    Dino, Thank you for your posts. I’m learning so much here. But this topic is not new on official Cros. I think since 1~2 month ago was available. Btw thanks again and I wish all the best for you.

    • Dinu 17/08/2011, 1:05 pm


  • Cherezzabo 17/08/2011, 2:41 pm

    Hm. Looks like on my Series 5 Chromebook this feature doesn’t work at all.

    • Pedram 17/08/2011, 2:45 pm

      Means you are not on Dev channel.

      • Miku 24/08/2011, 12:29 pm

        Hi. I don’t even have a Chromebook yet, but I was just wondering, what does:

        “Means you are not on Dev channel”

        mean? And is it at all likely to apply to me when I do get a Chromebook?

        I’m not computer illiterate by any means (been using them since maybe 7 or 8, born beginning of 1987), but I don’t speak computer geek to any genuinely expert degree. So I don’t understand the specific language in this instance, and I’m not sure what the implications are of one person saying the KB shortcut isn’t working for them and someone replying referencing a “Dev channel.”

        Sorry. =o
        I’m sure it’ll probably all be fine when I get to the action.. Google rarely lets me down,

        and when they do, they usually tend to fix it fast, so ultimately they don’t tend to truly let me down. That’s a big part of why I like them I think.

        • Pedram 24/08/2011, 1:32 pm

          Hi Miku,

          There are three channels in Chromebook and select-able by user. Stable, Beta and Dev. As you know, New features coming to Dev Channel first. I’m not sure that “ShiftShift Caps Lock” reached to the Beta or still is just for Dev.

          I’m sure you will excited after bought the Chromebook.


          • Kenny Strawn 15/02/2012, 7:43 pm

            Caps Lock in the Dev Channel is Shift+Search…

          • Cougar Abogado 19/02/2012, 6:58 am

            +Kenny Strawn. Thanks for the update. I dislike the change and hope the team will stick with Shift+Shift because otherwise I have to have Search or Caps Lock enabled if I ever want to use Caps Lock, yet I prefer to have the key disabled because I usually trigger it on accident . . .

          • James 19/02/2012, 4:01 pm

            Kenny, do you know how this will affect the US Colemak layout? That has the search key mapped as backspace, and has no other search key.

        • James 25/08/2011, 1:30 am

          KB usually, and rather unintuitively, stands for “knowledge base”, basically the official help (as far as I am aware).

  • James 17/08/2011, 3:45 pm

    Does the LED come on when in caps lock?

    • Pedram 17/08/2011, 3:54 pm

      No. But an indicator comes alongside of the system clock.

  • Miku 17/08/2011, 7:00 pm

    Does ctrl+T (new tab) perform the same function as the search key?

    I.E. If I want to go into the settings and default the search key to being caps lock instead, and don’t mind pressing ctrl+T instead of just the search key for a new tab w/ the cursor in the url/search bar…?

    I don’t want to accidentally open new tabs by accidentally winging the search key, basically. I can’t afford to get a Chromebook right now, but I do want one.

    • Cougar Abogado 21/08/2011, 7:25 am

      +Miku, that’s how I understand it: Search key and ctrl+t do the same thing.

      I hear you about buying a chromebook. I’m sure we’ll get one, some day!

      • Miku 24/08/2011, 12:12 pm

        +Cougar Abogado, thank you. =) Can anyone else vouch for this? I kind of have felt it probably is this way from the beginning, but I haven’t as much as touched or seen a Chromebook yet, in person.

        • Miku 24/08/2011, 12:21 pm

          Though it’s not much of an issue regardless: I don’t really envision myself likely to wing the search key very much at all in practice…

          Though if/when I do, a new tab opening is slightly more annoying than caps lock turning on… the solution to the latter being pressing caps lock again (the horror!),

          whereas closing a new tab involves mouse-cli- or, wait, I guess ctrl-W closes a tab, so, the difference of one key press vs. a two-key keyboard shortcut, I guess.

          Point is, with this shift+shift KB shortcut as a deal-closer, it seems like whichever way you set it up, it should work out just fine in the end. =)

      • Pedram 24/08/2011, 12:52 pm

        I should say Search key and ctrl+T do the same thing in 90% 😉

        Really! Ctrl+T opens a new TAB. with Ctrl+T you can open many empty TABS. As usual as your Chrome!
        Means you can press Ctrl+T 10 times and will have 10 New Tabs!
        But Search key is not like that. Just opening one NEW TAB and if hit it again, NEW TAB that has been opened will close. It’s like Ctrl+T and then Ctrl+W. We cannot open TABs sequentially with Search Key.


        • Miku 25/08/2011, 10:48 am

          So, depending on your angle on things, ctrl-T is better, or worse, than the search key. I can dig it. I’m already used to pressing ctrl-T again and again anyway…

          • Pedram 25/08/2011, 3:23 pm

            I would say that the Search key is just a key for Google Search, under your finger! It’s funny but it is. And of course if you are search addicted you couldn’t swap it to CapsLock. So then you’ll miss it on other Keyboards. I’m telling you seriously. That happened to me!

  • nouveaugeek 24/08/2011, 5:33 am

    thank you so much for revealing the “secret key!” I accidentally turned on caps lock and the keyboard overlay doesn’t mention that you can turn it on and off in this way. Your post saved me from SCREAMING at everyone. 😉

    • Dinu 24/08/2011, 11:19 am

      🙂 cool

    • Miku 24/08/2011, 12:36 pm


      This is a classic example of why Google may have been better advised to reveal this keyboard shortcut themselves, in the beginning.

      This person was just barely saved from [perhaps continuing to be] screaming at everyone, by this post. lol.

      I’m glad they were saved. =) Still.. they could have theoretically gone into the options where you can change whether it’s treated as search key or caps lock, if they didn’t know the shortcut… maybe they didn’t know about that either. Either way, this makes it much easier than -that- would be.

  • Erin 17/10/2011, 10:13 pm

    Hallelujah! I’ve been saved from holding down one shift key and hunting and pecking in order to type in all caps. Woot!


  • kathy lo 27/10/2011, 8:26 am

    thanks so much for the undocumented shortcut for the caps lock.

  • MP 29/10/2011, 7:27 am

    I knew Google had eliminated this key, but I was very surprised when I tried tying something and noticed I had done so incorrectly, but I everything I was doing was in caps. So I was somewhat surprised that there was a way to turn it on, but did not know exactly what it was until I saw this post. Thanks.

  • Daisy 17/12/2011, 2:34 am

    Thank you so much for this information. I keep turning on all caps by mistake, without knowing how I’ve done it. It’s really useful to know this quick way of fixing the problem, rather than having to re-assign the search key (which does seem a bit pointless to me as it’s not hard to click that plus next to the tabs, but still…) I’m very grateful.

  • muse 12/01/2012, 5:04 pm

    okies folks… so I accidentally hit the darn “search” button thinking it’s the shift key ALL THE TIME… drives me crazy. But I soon found out that if I hit it again, the new tabbed page would disappear… kinda cool. Well, that was then… now it only opens a new tab and will not close that new tab on a second click. What have I done/clicked to cause this change in me keyboard? Any clues wise chromies?

  • KEV 13/05/2013, 4:21 pm

    never mind caps lock. How do I just type a capital letter ?

    • Dinsan Francis 13/05/2013, 6:06 pm

      You don’t have a Shift key on your chromebook?

  • Lisa 14/05/2015, 10:27 pm

    thaaaaaank you. I almost heard angels singing.