If something is case-insensitive, it does not distinguish between uppercase and lowercase characters. It is the opposite of case-sensitive, in which the case of each letter matters.

Most search engines are case insensitive, meaning the case of the keywords does matter. For example, searching for "Microsoft Word" and "microsoft word" will return the same results. Case insensitive functions are able to match strings regardless of letter case.

Usernames are also typically case-insensitive. For instance, when logging in to a website, the username field of the login is not case-sensitive. The password field is. So, while capital letters usually don't matter when entering your username, they are important when entering your password.

Sorting Text

Sorting algorithms are usually case-insensitive, meaning they treat "A" the same as "a." However, some functions use the ASCII value of each character, in which all uppercase letters come before all lowercase letters. In an ASCII sort, C comes after A, but before b.

When sorting text values in a database, the sort order is determined by collation, a rule for sorting the data. The default collation is typically case-insensitive and based on the text's character encoding, which assigns a numeric value to each character. MySQL and other database engines support multiple collations, such as latin1_general_cs (case-sensitive) and latin1_general_ci (case-insensitive). While it is rare to use a case-sensitive — or "cs" — collation, it is possible to override the default "ci" collation if necessary.

Updated August 20, 2022 by Per C.

quizTest Your Knowledge

What does an equalizer do to an audio signal?

Adds reverb and chorus effects
Cuts or boosts different frequencies
Compresses the amplitude range
Normalizes the audio output
Correct! Incorrect!     View the Equalizer definition.
More Quizzes →

The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

The definition of Case-Insensitive on this page is an original definition written by the team. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, please use the green citation links above.

The goal of is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about this definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe or change your frequency setting at any time using the links available in each email.

Questions? Please contact us.