Excell 2004: Caps Lock interferes with user-defined keyboard shortcuts

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft
March 22nd, 2006 • 11:11 am

Yesterday I wrote about problems with user-defined keyboard shortcuts in Excel 2004. To me it looked like the shortcuts would all of a sudden stop working properly and, in the case of keyboard shortcuts that were previously assigned to existing Excel commands, Excel would revert to triggering those existing commands when the keyboard shortcuts, even though the “Customize Keyboard…” dialog would say that the keyboard shortcuts in question were still assigned to the commands specified by the user.

Well, I think I have now discovered the source of the problem. It’s the Caps Lock key. It turns out that, when the Caps Lock key is on, these user-defined keyboard shortcuts stop working as expected and instead, Excel reverts to the commands that are assigned to them by default.

For example, the control-F11 shortcut is normally assigned to a command to insert an Excel 4.0 macro in your document. If you go to the “Customize Keyboard…” dialog and assign the control-F11 shortcut to a different command, then Excel warns you that the shortcut is already assigned to an existing command and ask you if you want to change.

If you say yes, then the control-F11 shortcut now works to trigger the new command you have assigned to it.

But if the Caps Lock key is down, then all of a sudden the control-F11 shortcut ceases to work as expected, and triggers the original command to insert an Excel 4.0 macro instead!

(If the shortcut that you used wasn’t assigned to an existing command, then it simply ceases to work altogether.)

This is obviously a bug. It doesn’t affect the behaviour of existing shortcuts. For example, even if the Caps Lock is on, command-A still works as the shortcut to select all. But user-defined shortcuts are very much affected.

Which brings me back to my initial conclusion, which was that Excel 2004 is utter crap. It’s obviously even crappier than Word 2004 (which is not affected by this Caps Lock bug). But it’s not like we have a choice of spreadsheet programs for the Mac, is it?

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