Tech Tips Home
The Best Tech Tips And Daily Deals
Newsletter On The Internet!

WorldStart Tech Tip And Store Search
Email: Password: Login Remember Me

Like what you see here? Subscribe to the Tech Tips newsletter!   Email: Subscribe

Toggle Keys Explained

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms

Harry from Minnesota writes:

What the heck is a toggle key?

Harry, I’m really glad you asked this one! I ignored the word toggle during the first 5 years of using my computer because I had no idea what it was and was too embarrassed to admit it.

In the computer world, the word ‘toggle’ comes up a lot. Basically to toggle means to switch from one setting to another. You can toggle between screens on your computer. There are toggle tools that let you enable and disable Adobe Flash while you are browsing the internet. A toggle key allows you to toggle (ya think?) – or switch – between key functions.

In Windows, there are three toggle keys.


Caps Lock: You can toggle between capitals and lower-case letters.

Num Lock: You can toggle between numbers and no numbers. When the Num Lock is off, then you can use the other functions on the keys instead, i.e. the arrows, Home, End, etc (see chart below).


Scroll Lock: This key isn’t used for much toggling of anything anymore (I personally have never used it). Modern software doesn’t usually support Scroll Lock, but there are exceptions, such as Microsoft Excel. In Excel when the Scroll Lock is off, you go from cell to cell with your arrow keys. With Scroll Lock on, you can scroll the whole page with the arrow keys on the number pad; the cells stay in the same place and don’t scroll with you. You can even turn Scroll Lock on and off from within Excel. Thus, if you happen to find software that works with Scroll lock, you can turn it on and pause what’s on the screen while you scroll, or when it’s off, just scroll normally.

Standard Keyboard:


There you go; toggle keys in a nut shell.

One added note: Sometimes toggle keys can accidentally get turned on (especially the Caps Lock key). If you would like a handy tip on how to be notified as soon as these keys are hit by accident, then click here.

Thanks for writing, Harry!

~ Lori Cline


3 Responses to “Toggle Keys Explained”

  1. pad says:

    It tastes terrible!!!! I’m trying to get rid of it by putting a small bit at a time in my baked goods.

  2. Rui says:

    Good tip. But you left out the INSERT key. One of the obscure ones since nothing tells you it’s on or not and typing is a different story with or without it.

    To this day I don’t know why there is no light for this key on any keyboard I’ve used. Would have saved me a few retypes after pressing it by mistake :)

  3. Thom McMahon says:

    Re: Toggle Keys
    GREAT! I didn’t know I had a “Scroll” key nor did I know it’s purpose in life. Nicely explained. Easy to understand. Many thanks.


Leave a Reply

Like these tips? Get them for FREE in your email!

WorldStart's Tech Tips Newsletter

  • Tech Tips Daily - Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

  • Tech Tips Weekly - If you don't want our Tech Tips newsletter every day, then sign up for this weekly newsletter to get the best information of the week. Sent on Fridays.

Other Newsletters

  • WorldStart's Daily Deals - Every week, we send out great deals in our Daily Deals newsletter. Many of these deals are exclusively for our Daily Deals newsletter subscribers and can't be found with our regular specials.

  • Just For Grins - Each issue includes a couple clean jokes, some funny quotes, and a hilarious reader's story. Newsletter is sent five days a week.

Enter Email Address:


Your e-mail address is safe with us!
We only use it to send you the newsletters you request. It is NEVER disclosed to a third party for any reason, ever! Plus, if you decided you don't like our newsletters (don't worry, you'll love them), unsubscribing is fast and easy.

Free Newsletter Signup

Tech Tips Daily

Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

Tech Tips Weekly

The week's best in tech and computer help. Get your issue sent to your email every Friday!

WorldStart's Daily Deals

The very best deals on the Internet! Get a new set of incredible sales every day of the week!

Just For Grins

Clean jokes, funny quotes, and hilarious comics. Sent 5 times a week straight to your email.


Love Worldstart? Refer A Friend!

WorldStart's Premium Membership

Tip Archive