Having a tough time maneuvering your fingertips around multi-key combinations like CONTROL + ALT + DELETE (for launching the Windows Task Master) or COMMAND + SHIFT + N (to create a new Mac desktop folder)? Join the club.
Luckily, both Windows and Mac systems come with a handy feature called “sticky keys.” Turn the feature on, and you’ll be able to press individual keys in a two- or three-key combination one at a time, rather than all at once. It’s a clever alternative to playing “Twister” with your fingers.
Ready to give sticky keys a try? Let’s get started.
- First stop: System Preferences, which you’ll find under the Apple menu in the top-right corner of the screen.
- Under the “System” heading, select the “Accessibility” icon. (If you’re still using “Lion” or an earlier version of the Mac operating system, click the “Universal Icon” instead.)
- On the next screen, click “Keyboard” in the left column, then check the box next to the “Enable Sticky Keys” setting.
- Click the “Options” button to customize how the “sticky keys” features works. For example, you can toggle sticky keys on and off by pressing the shift key five times in a row (recommended), as well as having your Mac make a sound and/or display the label for any “modifier” key (such as shift, control, or command) that you press.
- Go to the Windows “Ease of Access” control panel; open the Start menu and type “Ease of Access” in the search box, or click Start, All Programs, Ease of Access, and Ease of Access Center.
- Click the “Make the keyboard easier to use” link under “Explore all settings,” then check the “Turn on Sticky Keys” box.
- Next, you can tweak your sticky keys settings by clicking the “Set up Sticky Keys” link. Among the options: turning sticky keys on and off by pressing the shift key five times in a row (same as on the Mac), playing a sound any time a “modifier” key is pressed,” and displaying the sticky keys icon in the Windows task bar.
Note: This updated and revised article was first published in January 2012.