hand typing on keyboard

Assistive Technology (AT) Tools: Sticky Keys

This is part two of a series of Assistive Technology (AT) Tools posts about tools anyone can use on their devices without downloading anything additional. The previous post was Assistive Technology Tools: Speech to Text.

Have you had surgery on your wrist and needed to get to the Task Manager on your Windows device but couldn’t press Control+Alt+Delete all at once? Or maybe you’re trying to take a screenshot of a particular area on your Mac but you cannot depress Command+Shift+4 together while also having your grandkid in your arms? Maybe you use a switch device and can school me on…

Let us introduce you to the assistive technology Sticky keys can help you in these—and many other—situations.

Sticky keys allow you to press keys in sequential order instead of all together to activate commands.

A note of caution: if you search “Sticky keys” on the internet, you will mostly get information about how to clean your keyboard. While useful, this is not what we’re referring to.

Activating Sticky keys

Chromebook sticky keys

  1. Open ChromeOS Settings,
  2. Scroll to Accessibility.
  3. Select Enable sticky keys (to perform keyboard shortcuts by typing them sequentially).


  1. Press Alt+Shift+S,
  2. Scroll to Accessibility.
  3. Select Enable sticky keys (to perform keyboard shortcuts by typing them sequentially).

See: Sticky keys | Chromebook Mobility-Assistive Features and Functionality [YouTube]

Mac sticky keys

  • Option + Command + F5


  • Triple-click on the Touch ID button


  1. Scroll down to Motor section,
  2. And toggle the radio button next to Sticky Keys.

You can control more settings in Sticky keys on Macs by

  1. selecting Settings at the bottom of the dialog box.
  2. Then, scroll to Keyboard,
  3. Find and select Sticky keys,
  4. Click the info button to the right of the toggle.

Useful settings for me are:

  • Press the Shift key five times to toggle Sticky keys;
  • Beep when a modifier key is set;
  • Display pressed keys on screen;
  • and setting the Screen area for display.

See: Change Keyboard settings for accessibility on Mac | Apple Support

Linux sticky keys

  1. Open the Activities overview
  2. and start typing Accessibility.
  3. Click Accessibility to open the panel.
  4. Select the Typing section to open it.
  5. Find the Typing Assist section,
  6. switch the Sticky Keys switch to on.

See: Turn on sticky keys | Ubuntu documentation

Windows sticky keys

Press Shift 5 times.

See: What is the Sticky Keys feature? | Microsoft Support

Our KnowledgeBase (KB)

As always, you can find how-tos, including one on Activating Sticky keys, in Swarthmore’s KnowledgeBase (KB).

Do you have feedback?

If there

  • are other tools you use for sticky keys;
  • are errors in the directions;
  • or there aren’t directions for your device,

let us know! Please email accessibility@swarthmore.edu.


This series has been inspired by previous blog posts by Corrine Schoeb, including:

and by Swarthmore’s ITS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee’s recent presentation on disability inclusion and accessibility. Thanks to Mark Davis, Sean O’DonnellAshley Turner, and Doug Willen for the thought and collaboration you put into your presentations, which has inspired this post!