Mac has hundreds of keyboard shortcuts and many users rely on it instead of using the menu items. However, simultaneously pressing multiple keys in the shortcuts can be a problem for people with accessibility issues. For example, it will be quite difficult to use the shortcut keys “Option Shift Command V” in Pages app for “Paste and Match Style” menu. Thing is, it is even difficult for a normal person to hold three modifier keys and then press another key on the keyboard. It is impossible to use such shortcuts when you have movement problems with fingers. There comes the help of Sticky Keys which allows you to press the modifier keys one by one instead of pressing and holding them together.
Sticky Keys in Mac
If you are aware of using Sticky Keys in Windows PC, it works similarly on Mac. However, you have additional options to show the pressed keys on the monitor to make things much easier. Before using Sticky Keys in Mac, make sure you understand the symbols of modifier keys in Mac keyboard.
|⌥ or ⎇||Option or Alt|
|fn||Function (or Globe)|
Enable Sticky Keys in Mac
Follow the below steps to enable sticky in macOS Ventura or later versions. The macOS interface will be different if you are using old setup.
- Click the Apple logo menu and select “System Settings…” from the menu list.
- Scroll down on the left sidebar and select “Accessibility” option.
- You will see list of items in the right pane and select “Keyboard” option under “Motor” section.
- Turn the switch against “Sticky Keys” option to enable it.
- Mac will show flash notification with command key mentioning “Sticky Keys On”.
If you are using macOS Monterey and earlier versions, go to “Apple Menu > System Preferences… > Accessibility > Keyboard > Hardware” section and enable “Sticky Keys” option.
Any time later you can disable Sticky Keys by following the same steps and you will see a confirmation showing “Sticky Keys Off”. Remember, you can continue to hold all shortcut keys together to trigger the desired action even when you have enabled Sticky Keys option.
Customize Sticky Keys Settings in Mac
You can customize the settings to adjust the usage as per your convenient. Click the information icon (or Options button in old macOS) showing next to “Sticky Keys” option in “Accessibility > Keyboard” section to view all available options.
- Press the Shift key five times to toggle Sticky Keys – turn on this option to quickly enable Sticky Keys in any apps by pressing Shift key 5 times. You will hear a sound (like a camera click) and Mac will show a flash notification. With this shortcut, you do not need to go to Settings for toggling the option every time when you need. For disabling, again press shift key 5 times and you will see “Sticky Keys Off” message.
- Beep when a modifier key is set – enable this to hear a beep sound whenever you press one of the modifier keys.
- Display pressed keys on screen – turn this on to visually see the pressed key’s symbol on your display.
- Screen area for display – by default, Mac will show the pressed keys on top right corner on your monitor. Click on the dropdown and select one of the four corners like top right, top left, bottom right or bottom left as per your convenient.
Locking Modifier Keys
Locking feature is one more important thing to understand when using Sticky Keys in Mac.
- When you press a modifier key single time, it will simply show on the display. You can press escape or any other key to quit the Sticky Keys.
- However, press any modifier keys two times to lock or hold in active state. You can press the same modifier key again to release and disable it.
- Mac will play different sounds for single press and double pressing the modifier keys.
I wonder why Apple does not show these options clearly in the settings section.
Examples of Using Sticky Keys in Mac
Let me show some examples so that it is easy to understand especially the locking feature.
Example 1 – Command Control Space
Press Command, then Control and then Space keys one by one. You can see Command and Control keys on the monitor. However, when you press Space, all keys will disappear and the shortcut will open Character Viewer.
Example 2 – Command A, Command C, Toggle App and Command V
Let us say, you want to select all content from a Pages document, copy it to clipboard and then paste the copied content in another Word document. Here, you have sequence of actions with same Command key and you do not need to press it each time. Press Command key one time and you will hear a sound and see the display shows the key in a dimmed state. Now, one more time press Command key to hear different sound and the display will show it in bold state indicating the keys is locked.
- First, press A key to select all content from Pages.
- Next, press C key to copy selected content.
- Use Tab to open App Switcher and press Space to select Word document.
- Finally, press V keys to paste the copied content in Word.
- Now, press Command key to release it and end the sequence.
Example 3 – Undo 10 Times with Command Z
This is another example for effectively using locking feature in Sticky Keys. When you want to undo 10 times in Pages or Word document, simply double press Command key to lock it. And then press Z keys 10 times to undo your changes. Finally, press Command key when you are done to release it.
Sticky Keys in Mac are very useful when frequently using shortcuts for daily work. However, it can easily annoy you if you do not know how to use it properly. I hope the above examples help you to understand better and I recommend using shift 5 times to enable or disable Sticky Keys feature.
Leave a Reply
Your email is safe with us.