What is a Stepped Caps Lock (Everything You Need To Know)
When you think of Stepped Caps Lock keys, you probably think of keyboard customization for aesthetic purposes. What you probably don’t know is that they are also a great choice for those who are prone to misclicking their caps lock key.
It can get annoying, accidentally misclicking your caps lock key—especially if you’re in a time crunch and can’t afford mistakes.
Thankfully, there’s a type of specialized caps lock key that will help you minimize misclicks. It is called “stepped caps lock key’. Other than their predetermined function of helping users minimize typing mistakes, some keyboard enthusiasts also use stepped caps lock keys for aesthetic purposes.
What exactly are stepped caps lock keys? What do they look like? Read on to find out more about them.
What is a Stepped Caps Lock Key?
A Stepped Caps Lock is a specially designed caps lock key on certain keyboards that has a lower profile to the right than the rest of the key. In other words, the Stepped Caps lock key is designed in such a way that the right side of the key is a few inches lower than the rest. This style of the Stepped Caps Lock key was initially designed to help users minimize accidental presses on their caps lock.
The idea behind this is that the lower part of a stepped caps lock key creates a gap between it and the key next to it (the ‘A’ key).
It looks like an indentation on the key itself, making the right side of the caps lock key lower than the rest. This design element was made to physically put the caps lock key away from the ‘A’ key, thus minimizing misclicks on the caps lock key.
The stem of a stepped caps lock key is also placed on the left side (off-center) to reduce accidental clicks further. This means that when a user presses on the lower part of the key, the Caps Lock function will not trigger unless they press the upper part of the key. This makes it less likely for anyone to accidentally press the caps lock.
If you have a stepped caps lock key, since it has a bit of space between the caps lock key itself and your ‘A’ key, typing errors are reduced since you won’t accidentally press on your caps lock and ruin what you’re doing.
This is especially helpful for people who type a lot. It is also helpful for gamers because, again, misclicks are minimized because of the way stepped caps lock keys are designed.
Stepped caps lock keys also have off-center stems instead of the regular, centered ones, in order to further prevent accidental presses.
Most people prefer using stepped caps lock keys because of the benefits and convenience it brings with regard to comfort and accessibility. A lot of keyboard enthusiasts also prefer stepped caps lock keys for aesthetic purposes.
Most modern keyboards, however, do not feature nor allow users to install a stepped caps lock key cap even if they’re regarded as a practical feature of any keyboard. You can only find pre-installed stepped caps lock keys on older keyboard models.
Difference between a Regular Caps Lock key and a Stepped Caps Lock Key
Though they don’t look alike, a stepped caps lock key still has the same function as a regular caps lock key: to toggle between lowercase and uppercase letters.
A stepped one, however, helps reduce the number of times you accidentally press on your caps lock. This is again, because of how stepped caps lock keys are designed. The right side of a stepped one is lower than the left, thus creating a space between it and the key next to it.
Some people are used to their keyboard layout and do not need a specialized key to reduce their misclicks. Others, however, are prone to such mistakes and find it helpful to use stepped keys.
Is it Better To Use Stepped Caps Lock Keys than Regular Caps Lock Keys?
If you’re someone who types a lot and often misclicks your caps lock key, a stepped caps lock key is a good option for you. Since stepped caps lock keys are manufactured in a way where their left side is lower than the rest of the key to creating a gap, accidental presses are prevented.
If you are someone who often misclicks your caps lock, you might find that when you use this specialized caps lock key, your typos are reduced.
Stepped caps lock keys are also helpful if you’re a gamer. With video games, each button is both crucial and essential to the overall progress of a game. A misclick might lead to your in-game character doom, which might ruin your gaming experience.
If you’re using this special Caps Lock keyboard, misclicks on the caps lock key, and the keys next to it are reduced because of the gap between them. So yes, using a stepped caps lock key is better than using a regular caps lock key if you’re a gamer.
Do You Need a Stepped Caps Lock Key?
Do you need to invest in a stepped caps lock keycap or a specific keyboard that features a stepped caps lock key? That still depends on you. A stepped caps lock key does not feature any additional functions.
They still function as a toggle key just like your good ol’ regular caps lock key. The only difference is that stepped caps lock keys have an indentation or a lower profile on the left side to prevent accidental presses on the key itself and the key next to it (which is most probably your ‘A’ key).
If you type regularly, either school or work-related, it is not a necessity to buy a keyboard that features a stepped caps lock key (or buying a stepped caps lock keycap)—however, it is still a good investment if you’re one to often misclick on your caps lock key.
It might seem odd for people who do not have this issue, but for those who do, this is an ideal solution to a basic problem.
If you’re also someone who likes customizing your keyboard, a stepped caps lock key is an excellent addition to your keyboard customization hobby. It can improve the look and aesthetics of your keyboard just by adding a new keycap!
Everything still comes down to preference. Some people do not like the idea of caps lock at all—they use software that completely disables the function of the key. Using the software is also easier than buying yourself a whole new keyboard.
Another option is to use stepped caps lock keys to improving your typing accuracy. Others, however, are used to their whole keyboard layout and do not need to buy a specialized keyboard just to reduce the number of misclicks they make.
So do you need a stepped caps lock key? If you often make typing mistakes, this is a good option for you. If you don’t, then a regular caps lock will work just fine. Center-stemmed regular caps lock keys are also way easier to find as it is readily available everywhere.
Can I install a stepped caps lock keycap on any keyboard?
Now that you know what a stepped caps lock key is, and you’re one for either aesthetics, practicality, or both, you’re probably wondering how to get your hands on a stepped caps lock keycap.
Initially, stepped caps lock keys were only available on older keyboard models and Cherry G80-3000 series keyboards. If you want to prevent accidental presses on your caps lock key when typing or gaming, you must get one of these keyboards.
You don’t have to buy a new keyboard at first, though. If you’re using a modern keyboard, check your keyboard’s PCB (printed circuit board) first. Does it allow you to mount an offset stem on the caps lock key? Or even better, does it let you mount both center and off-center key stems?
If yes, congratulations! All you have to do now is buy a set of keycaps which includes a stepped caps lock key. Then install it, and now you have a keyboard that helps you minimize your typos and as a plus, it is also aesthetically pleasing. Cherry offers stepped caps lock keys with stems on the left side instead of the center which are perfect for PCBs that give you an option to install offset stems.
Most modern keyboards, however, do not come with stepped caps lock keys or the option to install a keycap despite the practicality they bring. This is because your regular caps lock key has a center stem, and most stepped caps lock keys have an off-center stem.
Looking for a center-stem stepped caps lock keycap can be quite hard. If you would really want one, but can’t find a stepped caps lock keycap with a central stem, you can mod your own keyboard and keys in order to create your customized stepped caps lock key.
This method will be a lot harder though. If you choose to do this, you will need to get through a lot of trial and error since you would have to get the exact measurements in order to make it work and make sure that everything is compatible. Time and effort must also be taken into account, as this is a project you’d really have to take seriously in order to do proper customization. Compatibility is still of utmost importance since if nothing fits together, your work, materials, time, and effort are wasted.
However, if you’re one for full-on customization, you can buy yourself a modern PCB that features an option to mount both centers and offset stems. Then you can buy a set of keycaps which includes a stepped caps lock key.
Again, most modern keyboards only allow you to install a regular caps lock key with a center stem. But if you have your hands on a stepped key with a center stem, that’s great. Now you only have to make sure that it fits properly on your keyboard and the height is the same as your other keys.
Which keyboards have a stepped caps lock key?
Cherry keyboards offer stepped caps lock keys with an offset stem. You can get your hands on one of these if you want to use stepped caps lock keys. They will both improve the look of your keyboard and help you reduce unwanted and accidental clicks on your caps lock key. However, they do not have center-stemmed stepped caps lock keys so you would need to find one from somewhere else.
Stepped Caps Lock Keys for Aesthetic Purposes
Because of the way they look, stepped caps lock keys have become more of an aesthetic than practicality. Many keyboard enthusiasts are into customizing their whole keyboard, and a lot go for the option of using a stepped caps lock key because they look different than the regular one.
A stepped caps lock key also has a space between it and the ‘A’ key (to lessen typographical mistakes) which is a nice design element preferred by keycap customization enthusiasts.
Stepped caps lock keys are specialized caps lock key which has a lower right profile to create space between your caps lock key and the key next to it. A stepped caps lock key gives you the option to use your keyboard more efficiently. Using a stepped caps lock can be great for gamers, typists, and others looking to streamline their keystrokes.
Stepped caps lock keys are also a great customization option for those looking to improve the overall look of their keyboards. Since it looks different than a regular caps lock key, keyboard enthusiasts often use stepped caps lock keys for their aesthetic pleasure.
If you choose to make the choice of switching to stepped caps lock keys, always make sure that everything is compatible if you’re going to get yourself a stepped caps lock key. It may be troublesome for you if you bought an offset stepped caps lock key but your PCB does not offer an option to install one. You should also keep in mind the height of the rest of your keys.
This is so you would get the optimal results you’re definitely looking for.
If buying a stepped caps lock key isn’t an option for you or you’re finding it hard to look for the right stepped key, you can also use software that is designed to completely disable the function of your caps lock key. This is a great choice so even if you accidentally press the caps lock, nothing will happen, thus improving your typing accuracy.