Tuesday, January 8, 2013


by Bill Adler

Writing in all uppercase sounds like shouting, so DON'T DO IT. It's easy enough not to use all uppercase. Just keep your pinkie away from the caps lock key, or buy a Chromebook, which doesn't have a caps lock button at all. Yay, Chromebook!

Sadly, though, some people like to type in all uppercase BECAUSE THEY THINK IT'S FUN OR SOMEHOW USEFUL. While you could reprogram their keyboard to de-power their caps lock button (here's a utility for that: www.brainsystems.com/capsunlock), or write back to them entirely in lower case, hoping that they'll take the hint (they probably won't), you may need to just play defense when it comes to coping with all uppercase emails.

It's not just friends and family who overuse uppercase, either. The National Weather Service still sends out its bulletins in all uppercase. Every single word is in uppercase. Many businesses use it to emphasize SALES AND SPECIALS TODAY. Governments use uppercase on signs for emphasis, and, of course, LEGAL DISCLAIMERS HAVE ENDLESS PARAGRAPHS IN ALL UPPERCASE, EVEN THOUGH UPPERCASE IS HARDER TO READ. BUT PERHAPS THAT'S THE IDEA.

There are free online services that will convert all uppercase into lowercase, sentence case, or mixed case. One of those is www.uppercaseit.com. Just paste in the all uppercase words and out comes something a lot more readable. There's also Intellicaps, http://intellicaps.correlated.org , which does a terrific job of undoing all uppercase words and sentences.

A handy utility I use about 500 times a day is called Clipmate, www.thornsoft.com. Any upper case text in your windows clipboard can be converted to sentence case, lowercase, or mixed case. (Clipmate has a lot of other features, too, including keeping an infinite clipboard, so that everything you copy is retained on your computer.)

There you have it. You don't have to SUFFER by PAIN OF UPPERCASE anymore. If your friends and colleagues won't STOP USING UPPERCASE, just convert it to something more readable.


Bill Adler is the co-publisher of the Cleveland Park Listserv, www.cleveland-park.com. He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets," http://amzn.to/rspOft. He tweets at @billadler.

No comments:

Post a Comment