Scroll lock

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Scroll lock is a key (often with an associated status light) on most modern computer keyboards. The key is not frequently used and therefore some keyboards lack Scroll Lock altogether;[1]

The Scroll Lock key was meant to lock all scrolling techniques, and is a remnant from the original IBM PC keyboard, though it is not used by most modern-day software. In the original design, Scroll Lock was intended to modify the behavior of the arrow keys. When the Scroll Lock mode was on, the arrow keys would scroll the contents of a text window instead of moving the cursor. In this usage, Scroll Lock is a toggling lock key like Num Lock or Caps Lock, which have a state that persists after the key is released.

Today, this particular use of Scroll Lock is rare. Only a few modern programs still honor this behavior, such as Lotus Notes, Forté Agent, FL Studio, and Microsoft Excel. In modern GUI environments, scrolling is usually accomplished using means such as scrollbars or scroll wheels. Therefore, Scroll Lock can be regarded as a defunct feature in almost all modern programs and operating systems.


Other uses

  • In most 'LED light' Mods for keyboards, to give the keyboard an overhead LED so the keyboard can be lit up, the Scroll lock key is used to switch it On and Off and the LED light is unsoldered and a new brighter LED is attached overhead the keyboard.
  • In Linux virtual consoles, the Scroll Lock key is used to pause screen output. This behavior emulates the Hold Screen key or similar flow control mechanisms on computer terminals. Because of this emulation, the term Scroll Lock is sometimes used to generically refer to a screen pausing behavior. This usage could potentially cause confusion since screen pausing behavior is not intrinsically a part of the Scroll Lock key. In DOS, the Pause key pauses the screen output.
  • In the Opera web browser the Scroll Lock key is utilized to toggle "listening mode" for the browser's built-in voice recognition feature.
  • In FL Studio, the Scroll Lock key, when on, will prevent the screen from scrolling when the time marker moves out of the visible area.
  • In Synergy, the Scroll Lock key is utilized to lock the use of mouse and keyboard functions to a specific PC.
  • In Stepmania, pressing the Scroll Lock key will take you directly to the Options menu.
  • KVM switches often use the Scroll Lock key with a number as a hot key to activate a softswitch for changing between channels. Some two-computer KVM switches provide that a "double click" of the Scroll Lock key (striking the key twice quickly) is used to switch between computers.
  • In the multilingual text editor iLeap, the Scroll Lock key is used as a toggle switch to change between two languages.
  • In Windows NT-based operating systems with a certain registry setting called "CrashOnCtrlScroll" enabled, double tapping Scroll Lock while holding the Ctrl key initiates a system crash to allow debugging the current state of the operating system. [2][3]
  • X Window System can be configured to indicate changing to alternative keyboard layout by turning on the Scroll Lock light.
  • In FreeBSD, and other BSD descendants, Scroll Lock still functions similarly to IBM's original design.
  • On some Dell laptops the Scroll Lock key becomes the Fn key when an external keyboard is used. This behavior can be disabled in the BIOS.
  • Individual applications may assign any function to this key as an added convenience hotkey.
  • Xfire, a chat application for use while playing a video game, is activated by using the default key combination of "Scroll Lock" + "X". Xfire also uses Scroll Lock for other in-game purposes, such as taking screenshots. Sometimes its LED is used to notify users that an event occurred.
  • Pressing any Control key and the Scroll Lock key performs the same function as pressing the Control Key and Break (Pause) key. This behavior is a remnant of early IBM PC keyboards, which did not have a dedicated Break key and officially assigned the Break function to Control-Scroll Lock.
  • In the media system My Media System, navigation is done in a fashion very similar to the original idea of the Scroll Lock key. At the beginning and end of a list, navigating will move the cursor but not the view. At the middle of the list, the cursor will be locked at the middle of the screen while the view moves.
  • Konsole, a terminal emulator for KDE uses the Scroll Lock key to make the arrow keys scroll back the buffer, rather than going up and down in the command history (the default behavior of the arrow keys in Konsole). This has often lead to problems while using the Xine media player, as Xine emits a Scroll Lock key signal to prevent the screensaver from starting. This will in turn make Konsole switch the arrow key behavior.[citation needed]
  • Maplestory, an Online MMORPG, utilizes the Scroll Lock key to take pictures, ignoring its toggling function (that is, it does not matter if the Scroll Lock LED is on or off).
  • Combat Arms, a free-to-play microtransaction-based first-person shooter, uses the Scroll Lock key to lock the movement of chat messages.
  • TeamViewer, a program that allows users to watch and control another person's screen for use of technical support, uses the Scroll Lock key when viewing to send hotkeys directly to the person being viewed/controlled instead of the viewer's computer. For example, if the user wants to open task manager using ALT+CTRL+DEL on the computer of other user at that time, scroll lock should be turned on.
  • Many programs (e.g. e-mail clients) will toggle the Scroll Lock and in the process flash the LED on and off to alert the user's attention.
  • Microsoft Excel, when activating scroll lock, the arrow keys will scroll the screen, as if you're using the scroll wheel. When inactive, the arrows can be used to move the active cell.
  • Winamp uses scroll lock in its main visualizer, MilkDrop. When pressed, the visualizer preset is then locked and will not change until scroll lock is pressed again.

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