Skip to Content

How To Use Keyboard Without Shift Key? (Explained)

How To Use Keyboard Without Shift Key? (Explained)

A keyboard’s shift key is essential when you want to type special characters or capitalize letters. But what if your keyboard doesn’t have a shift key or these keys aren’t working?  

Using a keyboard without a shift key can be done. To capitalize words, the user can opt for the Caps Lock key. Other ways to type special characters or symbols are using the Alt key with a specific code, downloading software that replaces the shift key, or using the symbols drop-down menu.

There are many ways to work around the shift key. You must decide which option would be best for you and if these options would be best for your needs. 

Using A Keyboard Without A Shift Key

Luckily, there are many alternative ways to get the same result as a shift key. It might take some practice and memorization, but it can be done.

Here are a few different ways to replace the shift key on a keyboard.

Use An Alternative To The Shift Key For Capitalization

To replace the shift key when you are capitalizing, you can use the key above the left shift key named Caps Lock. 

  1. Press the Caps Lock key once.
  2. A light will appear on the keyboard, usually in the top right corner. This will indicate that the caps lock is on, and letters typed while it is on will be capitalized. 
  3. Type the letters you want to capitalize.
  4. Click the Caps Lock key to turn the capitalization off.

Using the Caps Lock key might take a few seconds longer than the shift key, but it will do the job. You will have to practice using the Caps Lock to type as fluent as you did with a shift key.

Use Alternatives To The Shift Key For Special Characters

On a standard keyboard, you will find numbers at the top, sharing a key with a unique character. Some other special characters are in the middle of the keyboard, sharing their space on one key. 

Any key with two characters needs the shift key to switch between the two. However, there are other ways to get access to those characters if you don’t have a shift key.

Use The Alt Key With Codes 

One way to access all the special characters is to use the Alt key. Each character has a unique code you need to use in conjunction with the Alt key when using Windows.

Mac has fewer symbols you can shortcut to, but for most, you can use the Option key with a letter or number.

Special CharacterWindows: Alt + CodeMac: Opt + Code

Download Software Replacing the Top Numbers On Keyboard

Software is available to download to help you replace the shift key or manage the fact that your shift key isn’t working. 

1. AutoHotKey is an advanced software download that works with coding. It replaces the row of numbers with their counterpart symbol on the same key. 

2.  SharpKeys is a software program you can install and designate the function of one key to another key you don’t use often. 

Use The Special Characters Tab 

Windows and Mac have a symbol tab that contains all the symbols in one place. This option is usually the last one any typer chooses because of its time consumption. 

1. Use the cursor and select the tab where it will open a menu of symbols 

2. Search for the character you want to use, select it, and close the menu. 

3. The ones you use regularly will be saved on a shortcut row when opening the menu, which saves a little bit of time.

Use The Cursor To Highlight In Excel

One of the methods people use, the Shift key, is to highlight cells in Excel. It is an excellent way to highlight, keeping the cursor on the first cell where you want to start highlighting, holding in control and shifting keys together, and using the down arrow to highlight where you want.

If you cannot use the shift key, use the cursor:

1. Use the cursor and click on the cell where you want to start the highlight

2. Hold the selection button on your mouse, and move the cursor down to the block where you want the highlighting to stop.

This method is challenging for people working with big data files in excel. The cursor way is acceptable to highlight a few hundred cells, but some need to highlight ten thousand and more cells at a time, which could lead to a problem of a finger slipping or moving.

Final Thoughts

Some keyboard users might feel lost without a shift key. Luckily, there are ways to go about it. Some methods might be complicated at first, and you should try and keep the codes printed next to you. Others defeat the shortcut’s purpose but will do the job until you find a new shift key or keyboard.