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Elevator Hacks

Life Hacks? How to be better organised using white boards? Pffft, c’mon – I need real life hacks!

And this might just be one of them…

According to it’s possible to send an elevator directly to the destination floor by pushing both the floor button and the door close button at the same time:

The designers of some elevators include a hidden feature that is very handy if you’re in a hurry or it’s a busy time in the building (like check-out time in a hotel).

While some elevators require a key, others can be put into “Express” mode by pressing the “Door Close” and “Floor” buttons at the same time. This sweeps the car to the floor of your choice and avoids stops at any other floor. This seems to work on Most elevators that I have tried!

Apparently it works in most lifts (English term for elevators), including:

  • Otis Elevators (All But The Ones Made In 1992),
  • Dover (Model Numbers: EL546 And ELOD862),
  • Most Desert Elevators(All, But Model Numbers ELD5433 And ELF3655)

(Although I believe Dover and Desert are North American brands not seen in Europe).

The lifts here at work are Otis, so I’ll give it a go tonight and report back…

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  1. Ben Ben

    Well, when I went home today I did the hack and it didn’t stop at any floors on the way down…

    …but then it was about 6:50pm, so the building was pretty quiet. I’m going to try it all day tomorrow to see.

    But you Ian (and everyone else) can help me by trying also and reporting back here!

  2. On the stannah lift at work, if you press the wrong floor button accidently, you can cancel it by holding the button down until the light goes out. I’m not sure which models this works for, does anyone else know?

  3. Ben Ben

    I heard this word-of-mouth, but it looks like it was originally posted at

    Anyway, here’s a funny story from the comments on that page:

    Kirby says:

    Here’s one worth trying, and an interesting story of what happened to me while using it.

    Some elevators use those “static sensitive” buttons. You don’t actually press a button. Just a touch will do. I discovered that if you ran your hand down the whole bank, you could light up the whole bank of buttons with one swipe. But in doing that, it “overloaded” or something, and they ALL went out, including the floor I originally pressed. It did this pretty regular. Hit the wrong button. Light ’em all up and they all go out and you can reselect the floor you want.

    Now then…

    First day on the brand new job with an international, “big-six” accounting and audit firm. I get on the elevator (we are on the top floor of this bank of elevators). Just as the doors close, the managing partner of audit steps in.

    Instead of hitting “1”, he hits the wrong floor button. I, thinking “here’s my chance to be cool in front of the ‘main guy'”, do my little trick. The whole bank of buttons lights up… and STAYS UP! He looks at me and says “You idiot! What’d you do THAT for?” He then gets off on the next floor and takes another elevator, while I ride down, one floor at a time.

    But really, most of the time it did work. I don’t know what brand or whether it still does that. I haven’t been in that building for a while.

    Made my laugh out loud!

  4. Lee Lee

    I stumbled across this site by accident looking for something else but the ‘elevator hacks’ you refer are all complete nonsense.

    1. Pressing the destination floor call and the door close push won’t casue the lift to ignore any intermediate calls. This is just not true.

    2. Pressing all the floor calls at once simply invokes an anti-nuisance feature (because people like you press all the buttons at once) that automatically cancels all the car calls. Most modern microprocessor elevator controllers do similar things to this. These features often include several variables for modifying the behaviour of the anti-nuisance feature,

    3. The Stannah Lift that cancelled the call after holding the button down for a period of time was simply down to the ‘stuck button protection’ feature operating. Once again most modern controllers incorporate such a feature. It’s there to ensure that the lift won’t stay at a particular floor if the button becomes stuck (or someone deliberately keeps the button pressed like this chap did) for extended periods.

    Not all elevator manufacturers use the same features, and quite often it’s down to individual engineers whether these features are enabled or disabled in software, so some identical elevators will behave differently in the same situations.

    I don’t want to burst your bubble but like most things in life there’s a logical explanation behind even the most illogical of events.

    You would probably be more interested to know that there are several manufacturers that sell products that are designed to deliberately breakdown at certain times. But that would be telling…

  5. Phil Sterling Phil Sterling

    Thank you for alerting us of the Otis Elevator Hack. I have a bunch of co-workers who are afraid to ride the elevator with this one crazy guy who brought up the Otis Hacks listed above. What he really planned on doing was trying to keep others from getting on the elevator with him. He was hoping that at the next meeting he would show up early “to look good” and get one of the better seats at our National Meeting and be first in the lunch buffet! HA HA – We are on to you Mr Andrews!

  6. Rob Rob

    To Lee —
    So … I’m curious how you say these hacks are all “nonsense” when, in fact, you just said a couple of them were valid and would work? In this context, I would take the word “hack” to mean exploiting for my own purposes a piece of hidden code that’s either there on purpose or is a flaw in the code — and that’s just what the “nuisance-avoidance” code and the “stuck-button” code stuff does. BTW, I’ve tried the Otis “Express Service” hack here at work and it seems to work, but I have to hold the buttons down together. I’ve tried it right at 12:00 noon and right at 5:00 PM. I’m on the top floor of a 9-floor office building and I went right to the lobby and heard other people talking on other floors as I went by, therefore I can only imagine that they were waiting for the elevator — I haven’t done any fool-proof testing yet (having a friend hit the “down” button on another floor and have me start above them and bypass them on my way down, etc.) but it seems to work at first blush.

    Will let you know more if I find it out.

    (Note from Ben: It wasn’t me who said it was “nonsense” — that was a comment from another user, Lee. I still use this hack regularly and am convinced it works – at least in my office.)

  7. jeff jeff

    Maybe they work in Britain, but in most office buildings in the U.S., the “door close” button is disabled. All it does it let you take your frustration out on it.
    It works in many hospitals, but only on patient elevators, not those for visitors.

  8. John John

    I live in an apartment complex and I simply have alot of time on my hands. Usually all the elders that live here never use the elevators at night so if there isnt anything on I play around with them. It’s fun because theyre the old ones that suddenly and quickly stop at each floor. After watching some housecleaning people using the emergency stop pull out button to hold the doors open to clean the elevators I figured I’d give it a try. Remember now I have alot of time on my hands and these elevators are old enough not to let out a siren whenever the button is pulled. I have confirmed that pulling the stop button just as the elevator slows to open up inviting guests will stop the elevator (duh). But when released, it will start up into full speed, passing the floor dropping me off at my destination. Heres a funny part of the story though… sometimes i’m a little bit too late and the cars door opens up… nearly 2 feet below where its suppose to…Hopefully those few times I wasnt reported by the “un-suspecting” passenger. I definitely wouldnt do this anywhere else though.

  9. groucho groucho

    So after reading all these replies.I will stop being a lift engineer,
    as it seems office people have qualifications better than us!All I can say is that if this is all true, which it AINT!..then all your lifts are faulty!

  10. Shaun Shaun

    Haha, I was just on a cruise ship of 12 decks, and the elevators would stop at nearly every floor during busy times (Dinner, getting off the ship for ports-of-call, etc…). I did this and it worked! The doors were also glass (Looking into the lobby), so people who wanted to take the elevator would just watch me as I rode down! Haha

  11. I’ve tried this hack on several different elevators across the country, and have only found 1 that it worked on. I’m thinking there was probably something wrong with the car, or this hack is way out of date.

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