Enable Sticky Keys

I use all kinds of third party Apps on my iMac to do stuff. However, there all several features in the macOS that can be really helpful in our daily workflow. One of those is Sticky Keys. You enable or disable Sticky Keys in the System Preferences area. But, what does Sticky Keys do?

What Are Sticky Keys

Sticky Keys allows you to record a modifier key stroke, like the Command Key ⌘, without continuing to hold it down. I can explain this with an example. I have created a modifier key combination in the MarsEdit blogging App for opening an html link in a new window. The modifier keys are Command ⌘ + Option ⌥ + 4. I can hold all these keys down simultaneously with my left hand, but it is quite awkward. 

If I have Sticky Keys turned on, I can just type the Command Key ⌘, then the Option Key ⌥ and then the number 4 without holding all the keys down at once. When you do this with Sticky Keys activated it registers the keystrokes on your Mac screen:


Once I type the letter 4 in this sequence, the command in the App I am using is activated. This is super handy if you are going to be using several difficult command key combinations. 

Sticky Key Setup

Lets take a look at how to setup Sticky Keys. Go into System Preferences and select the Accessibility Pane:


Then, scroll down to the Keyboard icon in the sidebar:


There are several things to consider here. To start Sticky Keys click on the “Enable Sticky Keys” box. Once you have done that, click on the “Options” button:


These settings may come in handy for you. It is really nice to be able to turn Stick Keys on and off by hitting the “Shift” key five times. When I am typing an article, I use the “Shift” key all the time. It is quite annoying to see the “Shift” key symbol pop out not he screen constantly. So, I turned it off.

Also, you can set if you wish to have the compressed key display on your screen and where it displays as well. I like this, it keeps me on track regarding which keys I have pressed. You can have the keys make a beep sound too, but I think this setting is a little over the top.

Here is how I use the Sticky Key feature. If I am doing general computing, surfing, stuff like that I leave Sticky Keys activated. When I am doing general workflow computing I use quite a few keyboard commands. However, if I am going to be doing a lot of writing, I turn Sticky Keys off, it just gets in the way.


Sticky Keys is a handy feature of the macOS. Depending on your workflow, it may prove useful. Give it a try for a while and see.