Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

View onscreen modifier key images System
I don't know which OS version this first appeared in, but I've never read about it before and just found this out while playing in 10.2. Here is the trick:

Press the 'shift' key five times; then press for instance the command, option, control and shift key after another. See the icons? Try and drag them with your mouse; yes you can do that ;-). What you just did is trigger the Universal Access keyboard panel. Find it under System Preferences -> Universal Access -> Keyboard. First item. If you didn't see any key icons on your screen, you might want to turn on the second option. And the first one also because it's fun.

I have no idea what this is useful for but it is very weird pressing shift five times without knowing what you just did and finding out that the key icons appear on your screen :-D. Have fun with it.

[Editor's note: While fun and interesting, in all seriousness, this is a critical concern for users who don't have traditional access to the keyboard. Having the ability to have the modifier keys 'stick' makes it possible for these users to send keyboard commands that would otherwise be impossible.]
  • Currently 2.75 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (4 votes cast)

View onscreen modifier key images | 5 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'View onscreen modifier key images' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Must have Shortcuts enabled
Authored by: EvanE on Jan 14, '03 12:09:20PM

In order for this to work, you must have "Allow Universal Access Shortcuts" checked at the bottom of the Universal Access Preference.

Evan Evanson

[ Reply to This | # ]
Very helpful indeed...
Authored by: FrankMtl on Jan 14, '03 04:13:14PM

for users like me with arthritic hands. For example, if I'm required to key in shift-command-A-K, doing so is almost impossible since I cannot spread my fingers width wise. With sticky keys, you don't have to hold the shift-command keys down..simple press, their image appears telling you it's activated, and let go to follow with the a and k keys.

The downside to sticky keys is when you're typing on a different computer. Many a new sentence starts with a non-capitalized letter ;)

[ Reply to This | # ]
Turning it OFF
Authored by: piper on Jan 14, '03 11:31:39PM

So, I turn it on to play around - I seem to remember this from the OS 8/System 7 days... Anyway, I don't need it, so I turn it off in the System prefs. Wont turn off. I did a top from the Terminal, found The Universal Access process and killed it. Seemed to work.


[ Reply to This | # ]
Turning it OFF
Authored by: neosputnik on Apr 25, '03 01:13:21PM

I played around with Sticky Keys, realized I didn't need it,
turned it off... and noticed that my Logitech Navigator wireless
Keyboard numeric keypad had stopped working.

I saw no posting about this on Logitech's site... I was completely
baffled about how to fix it until I read your post.

I used Process Viewer, saw that Universal Access was still
running, quit it, and the keypad began to work again. Yay!

[ Reply to This | # ]
Everything old is new again
Authored by: avit on Jan 15, '03 11:33:04PM

This has been around since System 7, and possibly even System 6. As others have noted, it's a Universal Access feature for sticky keys. I recall that it was a major annoyance when playing games that used the shift key or modifier keys for firing buttons. (Armor Alley, anyone? Now that was a great game!)

[ Reply to This | # ]