Whether you are a new or old user, Mac has lots of hidden features that will always surprise you. Keyboard Viewer is one such feature that will help you to find the keyboard shortcuts on Mac with the modifier keys. In this article, let us explain how to use Keyboard Viewer to find shortcuts in Mac.
What is Modifier Keys?
On your keyboard, there are some keys you can’t use for regular typing or independent functions. For example, two alt or option keys available on either side are modifier keys. You can use these modifier keys in combination with other keys for achieving functions. In summary, Mac keyboard has lots for shortcuts using these modified keys.
|Apple Keyboard Key||Description|
Below are some of the examples of using keyboard shortcut with modifier keys:
What is Keyboard Viewer?
Now, the problem is clear that you don’t know all the keyboard shortcuts using modifier keys. It is also not possible to remember all the shortcuts in your memory easily. The solution is to have a visual keyboard layout to virtually see the possible shortcuts. That’s exactly what Keyboard Viewer does. In order to use the keyboard viewer, first you should have the language input menu icon on the top menu bar and then enable the keyboard viewer from preferences.
Enabling Language Input Menu in macOS Monterey or Earlier Version
Generally, the language input icon should be available by default on the top menu bar shown below. If not, you need to enable the option from preferences.
- Go to “Apple” menu and click on the “System Preferences…” option. Find “Keyboard” option and click on it.
- Enable the checkbox for “Show keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar” under “Keyboard” tab.
- Then go to “Input Sources” tab and enable “Show input menu in menu bar” option.
Enable Input Menu in macOS Ventura or Later
If you are using macOS Ventura or later versions, then there is no need to enable “Show Emoji & Symbols” and “Show Keyboard Viewer” options are enabled by default in the input menu. However, if you are not seeing the input menu, then go to “Apple menu > System Settings… Keyboard” section and click the “Edit” button against “Input Sources” option.
On the pop-up, select “All Input Sources” option and enable “Show Input menu in menu bar” option.
Open Keyboard Viewer
Now, you should see the language input menu on top menu bar. Click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer” option.
If this too lengthy process for you, you can follow alternate option to open keyboard viewer. Basically, this keyboard viewer app is one of the accessibility features in Mac to aid the people to directly type without using the hard keyboard. Go to “Apple Menu > System Preferences… > Accessibility” settings. Select the checkbox that shows, “Enable Accessibility Keyboard”. This will open the keyboard viewer app for you.
On macOS Ventura or later, go to “Apple menu > System Settings… > Accessibility > Keyboard” section and enable “Accessibility Keyboard” option.
Using Keyboard Viewer
The keyboard viewer app will look like below.
Open any apps like Pages and start typing some words. You will notice, keyboard viewer will basically trace your key movements and show it in the virtual keyboard. On other hand, you can directly use the keyboard viewer app with the help of your mouse and start typing. In order to find the keyboard shortcuts for the modifier keys, press, the modifier keys and check the shortcuts. Alternatively, you can use mouse to press the modifier keys on the keyboard viewer to see the shortcuts. For example, press option key and check the keyboard viewer will change the layout to show all possible shortcuts like below.
Now, press option and shift modifier keys together to get different keyboard shortcuts. As mentioned above, you can see option + shift + 8 will show the keyboard shortcut for degree sign as °. You can press different modifier key combinations to find various keyboard shortcuts that you may not aware.
Customizing Keyboard Viewer App
Click on the gear settings icon on the app to view multiple options for customizing.
Here are some options you can customize in keyboard viewer app:
- You can change the layout to dark or light.
- Zoom the size and adjust the opacity.
- Create new custom function with panel editor and use. Keyboard Viewer also has a key replacing the power off key on your keyboard to assign custom function.
- Show dwelling actions and use some typing options like capitalizing first letter.