What's the point of the Scroll Lock button?

December 15, 2013
The scroll lock key was intended to provide scrolling of text up & down, or right & left in applications. This was useful before screens got bigger and before full screen applications became so common. However, in the modern day, the scroll lock feature has been replaced by scroll bars and simpler methods of navigation.



Scroll lock was also used in the Linux console to pause text from scrolling past the user, and therefore allowing the user to take a look at the text.

Although the scroll lock buttons appears like an extra wasted button on your keyboard, there are some applications that still make use of it. The most common ones are Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and IBM Lotus Notes. Having said that, the scroll lock is not a necessity in any of these applications. An article on Wikipedia shows other uses for the Scroll Lock button.


It's a mystery [Source]

So the question many users are left with is, why do we still have the Scroll Lock button on our keyboards? The answer is because some apps still use it. Although the apps are a minority, I think computer and keyboard manufacturers don’t want to miss out on some customers because they missed out a key that costs them very little to place there in the first place.

Plus, the Scroll Lock isn't the only button I don’t use on my keyboard. I don’t remember using my System Requirements Requests or my Break button at all, partially because I have no idea why they’re there in the first place.

Some keyboards are starting to ditch a Scroll Lock button. On my Sony computer, the button requires me to hold the Fn key first then tap Num Lock, so it’s almost as if the Scroll Lock key is getting burried away. The Macbook doesn’t have a Scroll Lock key either.

Does your keyboard have a Scroll Lock button?

3 comments:

  1. It is System Request: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_request

    It had a limited time of use and should no longer be there. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh thanks, you see I didn't even know what it was called, let alone know what it's used for!

      Delete
  2. I think it's useless key for me and other people because you can pause scrolling with scroll key in mouse.

    ReplyDelete

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