Talk:Scroll lock

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Archive[edit]

The original purpose for the Scroll Lock key described in the [Bavi: previous version of the] article is incorrect. I remember using an old PC tutorial program that introduced the keyboard and how to use it. In it, the Scroll Lock key changed the behavior of the arrow keys. When Scroll Lock was on, the arrow keys scrolled the text window instead of their normal function of moving the text cursor.

This makes sense as the original purpose of the Scroll Lock key. Using Scroll Lock to turn on the scrolling behavior of the arrow keys parallels using Num Lock to turn on the number behavior of the number pad, and using Caps Lock to turn on the capital behavior of the alphabetic keys. Does anyone else remember Scroll Lock behaving this way? I might change the article, but I want a little more proof than my own recollection of one program.

Note: The scroll pausing function described in the article is an alternative use of the key seen in terminal emulators. The DEC terminals had a Hold Screen key which preformed this scroll pausing function. Terminal emulators sometimes map the Hold Screen function to the Scroll Lock key.

Bavi H 10:41 Apr 13, 2003 (UTC)

Bavi, I'm not completely sure what the original role of scroll lock was. (I look it up on the web, and the only thing I find is a blog quoting the wikipedia article; defeating the point.) Certainly some programs behave as you describe. (Notable such program: Microsoft Excel. I know Excel 97 does, and I presume Microsoft Excel XP does.)
However, Google groups has a newsgroup posting from 1993 which says you're right - that thread is here Perhaps you'd like change the article? (or add a dissenting viewpoint.)
That Control-S Control-Q stuff is really XON/XOFF flow control isn't it? I'm a bit unsure, if you know feel free to fix that up.Tenbaset

I'm pretty sure that the scrolling function is the original purpose of Scroll Lock. Just to be sure, I wanted to find some definative proof online. I looked for an online copy of the original IBM PC manual, but haven't been successful. [I did find out the the original IBM PC is the "IBM 5150 PC," the number may be helpful since PC is a rather generic term today. Also, the manual contains "Guide to Operations" in the title.] Maybe my dad has a physical copy of the manual....

Tenbaset, I agree that "flow control" better describes the normal Ctrl+S, Ctrl+Q screen pausing function. However if a majority of unix people refer to this, somewhat incorrectly, as "scroll lock" this should be addressed in the article. Now I wonder if this is an accurate usage among unix people or just a misnomer found on the web.... Bavi H

Well, XON/XOFF is one way of doing flow control over a serial line (such as a modem.) If memory serves, Ctrl+S and Q had the same ascii codes as XON/XOFF (like Control-M is the same as Enter) so typing Control-S and Q would cause the output of a Unix system to pause and unpause. I'd think it's a misnomer as I don't think (non-PC) Unix systems even have/had a scroll lock key. (Not sure - anyone got a SPARC box handy?) (However, Linux may have implemented using-scroll-lock-key-to-pause at some point, confusing the issue.) Tenbaset 01:22 May 2, 2003 (UTC)

In MS-DOS/Windows, scroll lock has never had any purpose at the operating system or BIOS level. If it's ever done what's decribed in the current article (pausing console output), it wasn't in MS-DOS. Various applications have used it to do various things, but it would be nice if we could track down some kind of authoratative source telling us why it was put on the keyboard in the first place. -- Tim Starling 07:18 Apr 29, 2003 (UTC)


I went ahead and changed the article. I'm pretty sure the original purpose of Scroll Lock was scrolling because (a) I remember using and old PC tutorial program that described it this way, and (b) it just makes sense when compared to Num Lock and Caps Lock. The statement that Scroll Lock was intented to pause the screen just seemed wrong. Bavi H 14:07 Apr 29, 2003 (UTC)


I am sure the original purpose of scroll lock was make the cursor keys scroll the screen as pausing the scrolling output of commands was done by the pause key.
Ciaran O'Donnell

It's interesting that Notepad in Windows 98 supports that mode, but the one in XP doesn't.  Grue  20:41, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Voice recognition[edit]

Most voice recognition programs I've seen used the scroll lock key to talk, perhaps mention it, instead of saying specifically Opera?Dandin1 18:17, 4 March 2006 (UTC)


What about XFire? it uses scroll lock....

Am I remembering incorrectly? I was sure that in DOS the scroll-lock key paused console output after every screenful of output. That is, while scroll-lock was enabled, output would pause after a program had printed a full screen of text, and remain paused until a key was pressed. This was different from the pause key, which had a one-off output-pausing effect immediately when pressed. Was this only in my imagination? --Weeble 11:05, 22 June 2007 (UTC)


Technical background?[edit]

Because of trouble with Logitech's decision to remove the Scroll Lock key from most of their newer keyboards, I was wondering if there was some technical background to the key or its implementation that makes it being handled differently, or on a lower level. The reason why I can't buy a Logitech keyboard anymore is because I have several programs who must be controlled with the Scroll Lock key. Voice talk like in Xfire is an example. But also in the SnagIt screen capture software, where you normally can freely define the keys or key combination for taking a screenshot, once you switch to DirectX capture mode the program notifies you that you can only use the Scroll Lock key. So why do some programs, seemingly mostly those who somehow need to "hook up" into other programs, absolutely require that they be called with that key? 89.217.144.18 (talk) 23:17, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Yahoo front page, sort of[edit]

Yahoo's front page included a question about scroll lock, asked on Yahoo Answers. The first reply? It was a link to Wikipedia, so the page went from 390/576/587/621/658 to 8.5k. Quite a jump. -- Zanimum (talk) 21:07, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Microsoft Excel[edit]

With the recent changes to the article from about September onwards, Excel now has an odd description. The overview says
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.

However, under Scroll lock#Other uses, it says:
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.

It seems it may be related to different versions of excel? One user is saying that Excel 2010 does not respect Scroll Lock. Anyone care to verify?
--208.206.3.254 (talk) 12:02, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

It still does. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 110.174.165.68 (talk) 05:00, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks Randall[edit]

The scroll lock page is mentioned in today's xkcd. --64.85.214.78 (talk) 11:16, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

How many people came straight here after reading that comic in order to update the page? My guess: a lot. --203.30.85.108 (talk) 01:04, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

The article is semi-protected for two weeks. Any registered accounts which try to re-add that information will be deemed 'throwaway' accounts, and blocked indefinitely. DS (talk) 03:49, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

please update interwiki[edit]

I made ko:스크롤 락, but I can't add interwiki on this english article--경라고속철도 (talk) 02:50, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Somebody has added this link. (I'm making a not here so no one else has to waste 10 seconds.) Nitro2k01 (talk) 21:00, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Scroll Lock key missing[edit]

Some keyboards such as "Logitech EX 110 Series" do not have a Scroll Lock buton. Perhaps a note of this should be made on the page? Pyrolord777 (talk) 04:45, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Also mimics Fn key on a laptop[edit]

As I wrote in reply to a ref desk question, Scroll Lock can be use to mimic the function of the Fn key on a laptop. Useful if you use an external keyboard/screen combo. Astronaut (talk) 13:11, 12 August 2012 (UTC)