Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sticky Keys: Not Just a Mishap with Soda & Your Keyboard

keyboard and soda
One of my favorite Ease of Access functions for Windows is Sticky Keys. It is a simple but effective way of making a standard keyboard more useable for someone with limited mobility. Simply press the Shift key 5 times and a dialog box will appear on your screen to ask if you want to turn on Sticky Keys. Press Enter or click Yes and you are ready to go.
Sticky Keys allows you to enable a function key like the Shift, Ctrl or Alt and any other key without having to hold them down at the same time. So if you want to type @, instead of holding down Shift and pressing the 2 you can now, with Sticky Keys enabled, press and release the Shift key and then press the 2. To disable Sticky Keys simply press Shift 5 times again or once you hold down the Shift key and press any other key simultaneously the computer will make a you killed an alien spacecraft circa a 1980’s video game alert noise to let you know the function has been disabled.
As I said earlier Sticky Keys is one of my favorite Ease of Access functions and not just for the super-fun sound effect but because around 2:00 pm every day I tend to pin my left arm to my desk with my head as I wait for the afternoon caffeine to take effect and typing one handed becomes essential for the continuation of any amount of work. It’s also a really handy function if you have limited mobility or dexterity in your hands or arms.
Are you interested in learning more about accessibility features built into the Windows operating system? WATAP is a Microsoft Accessibility Resource Center (MARC) and we can help answer your questions about how to make it easier to use your computer if you have a disability and other computer access questions.


  1. To state it simply, I love sticky keys too and recommended often!

  2. hello Samantha,

    Didn't realize when I posted above/below that I would meet you just a few days later at the Disability Inclusion Conference.

    While things go well with the blog. It's always interesting to hear about new bits of assistive technology.