What Does Scroll Lock Do?

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Jun 03, 2022

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Ever wonder, what does scroll lock do? Yeah, me too. You can find it on most keyboards, though most people never use it. 

For most purposes, the computer mouse supersedes Scroll Lock. Fortunately, this article sheds light on its uses and more. 

What Does Scroll Lock Do

This button, located on PC keyboards, toggles between scrolling and non-scrolling modes. When on, the arrow keys scroll the screen regardless of the current cursor location. 

Scroll Lock Button location

This allows you to browse through texts and screen content efficiently. For example, if you have 300 lines and your screen only displays 50 at a time, you can use this toggle key to bypass entire pages, let alone individual lines.

Scroll Lock transforms the Up and Down arrows from individual line movements to whole page skips. 

It is more often used with Excel these days. With scroll lock off - you can move between different cells using the arrow keys. But when it is on, and you press the arrow, the whole page moves, and the cursor does not change cells.

Luckily, you can configure it as a program shortcut in Windows 10. Or you can remap it to serve more practical purposes. 

How to Remap the Scroll Lock Key

Using Microsoft’s free PowerToys utility for Windows 10, you can easily remap the Scroll Lock button to another key or system function. Remapping means that when you press Scroll Lock, it does something you prescribe. As such, you can use it for many different tasks, like:

Mute/Unmute volume

The button quickly adjusts the volume on your device by stopping or activating audio output.
This is particularly handy if you need to silence your computer to take a call.

Play/Pause media

This toggle switch n configures your media at the moment. For example, if you're playing a YouTube video hidden in a background tab, you can press the Play/Pause key to pause it and press it again to resume.

This one is useful if you listen to music on your computer frequently. You can tap Scroll Lock to pause a song and then tap it again to play. 

Sleep

Sleep mode reduces power use, allows your PC to start faster, and instantly returns you to where you left off. Data loss is not an issue, as your data automatically backs up with Windows. A single tap of the remapped Scroll Lock icon activates this pause in your work. 

Caps Lock

This toggle key, located on the left side of a keyboard, allows users to generate letters in uppercase. Users do not have to hit the shift and letter keys repeatedly. 

If you constantly hit Caps Lock accidentally, you can disable it and assign it to the Scroll Lock key instead. 

Browser refresh

Using this button will cause the current page you are on to reload.
One press will quickly reload the current web page.

If any of those alternative uses of the Scroll Lock button sound good to you, here’s how to remap the function. First, download and launch Microsoft PowerToys. Afterwards, select Keyboard Manager in the sidebar. Then, click Remap a key.
Remap a key Scroll Lock button

In the Remap Keyboard window, click the plus sign + to add a shortcut.
Remap a key choose Scroll Lock button

On the left, you have to define the scroll lock shortcut key you’re remapping. Click Type Key and then press Scroll Lock.

In the Mapped To: menu on the right, select the function or key you’d like to map to Scroll Lock. For example, from the below, you could choose Volume Mute.
Remap a key Scroll Lock button choose mapped to option

How to Launch a Program with the Scroll Lock Key

You can also use Scroll Lock as part of a hotkey combination to launch a program.

First, create a shortcut to the program you want to run and place it on the Desktop. Then right-click the shortcut and select Properties.

Click the Shortcut Key box in the Shortcut tab, then select Scroll Lock. Windows will automatically insert Ctrl + Alt + Scroll Lock in the box.
How to Launch a Program with the Scroll Lock Key

Click OK to close the window. Whenever you press Ctrl+ Alt+ Scroll Lock icon, the program it represents will launch. 

Wrap Up 

Knowing how to Scroll Lock was once important. Now, knowing how to tweak it to be a useful PC key lock will hopefully bring a new sense of use. You might even wonder how you ever lived without it. 

FAQ.


Should I have Scroll Lock on or off?

If you like to scroll line by line with the cursor, it must be off. But if looking to flip pages with arrow keys, it’s must be on.  

Why do keyboards still have Scroll Lock?

Keyboards still have Scroll Lock because you can remap its use for other functions. Otherwise, its use is outdated and mice tend to work better.  

What do Pause and Scroll Lock do?

The Pause-Break key halts a process temporarily. Most people use it to stop a game momentarily.

On PC keyboards, the Scroll Lock key toggles between scrolling and non-scrolling mode. When on, the Arrow keys scroll the screen regardless of the current cursor location.

What does Scroll Lock really do?

The Scroll Lock button on a PC keyboard toggles between a scrolling and non-scrolling mode. When engaged, the Arrow keys scroll the screen regardless of the current cursor location. 

And if still wondering what does Scroll Lock do, then consider reading this article in full.  

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Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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