Using CapsLock to switch the keyboard language


Recaps is a small program that brings the old CapsLock key back to life to change the language you’re typing in, in the same way the Alt-Shift abomination does. If you still want to type a lot of text in CAPITAL LETTERS, you can – just press Alt-CapsLock and you’ll be typing all capitals. Press Alt-CapsLock again, and you’re back in normal mode.

Recaps goes beyond the standard Alt-Shift functionality and allows you to correct text you’ve already typed. How often do you type a whole URL in the browser’s address window only to find out you’ve been doing it in Hebrew or Russian? With Recaps installed you just pres Ctrl-CapsLock and the text you typed will be fixed.

Another small feature useful for people routinely using several languages is the ability to choose which two languages you you are currently using. Only the languages that have a check mark next to them in the menu will be switched with CapsLock. You can of course still use the old Alt-Shift to rotate between all the installed languages.

Recaps is released under the GNU GPL license.


  • A setup file that also configures recaps to run when Windows starts.
  • A standalone executable you can just run (useful if you don’t have administrator permissions on your PC).
  • A source archive you can tinker with and build yourself with VS2005.


2008/05/18 – Recaps 0.6 released – added ability to correct text typed with the wrong keyboard layout.
2008/05/03 – Recaps 0.5 released – fixes a bug with saving last configuration.
2007/12/27 – Recaps 0.4 released – fixes a bug that disabled Recaps in some applications.
2007/12/10 – Recaps 0.3 released – added the ability to choose active languages.
2007/01/01 – Recaps 0.2 released – first public release.

The story

I’ve never quite understood the weird choice made at Microsoft for the awkward combination that you have to press in Windows to change the keyboard layout. Having used computers in a multilingual environment most of my life (mostly switching between Hebrew and English, but sometimes writing a bit of Russian as well), I found the Alt-Shift combination very annoying. It would really get on my nerves when I didn’t press and depress the keys in exactly the right order and instead of changing the current keyboard layout, it would take me to the program’s menu.

All the while there was that nice big CapsLock key, that nobody has used since the days of the typing machine. Most people I know just HOLD THE SHIFT KEY DOWN with their pinkie to get the job done. I’ve often wondered what would it take to make CapsLock change the current keyboard language.

Turned out not to be that hard. At first…