7 Ways You Can Customize Your Mac’s Keyboard Settings

Whether you’re a veteran Mac user or just recently switched from Windows, there’s always something new and exciting to learn about the Mac keyboard. The Mac keyboard offers many customization options, and taking full advantage of these features is key to increasing productivity and making your workflow smooth.

Apple’s butterfly keyboard isn’t the best, but with Mac’s keyboard customization settings, there are many ways you can improve it. Below, we’ll list seven ways to customize keyboard settings on your Mac.

1. Change Keyboard Shortcuts

Familiarizing yourself with Mac’s keyboard shortcuts is a great way to speed up your workflow. To use keyboard shortcuts, simply press a modifier key such as Caps Lock or Command and a regular key simultaneously.

Of course, this varies depending on the shortcut, but remember that they can be a combination of up to four keys. For example, when using Safari, you can press Command + N to open a new tab. Or, you can press Option + Shift + Command + W to close all Safari windows.

You can see keyboard shortcuts in the menu bar, next to the menu items in the dropdown lists. Here’s how you can change macOS keyboard shortcuts:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts.
  2. Select a category on the left side of the window.
  3. Click on the checkbox next to the shortcut action. Double-click the shortcut keys next to the text and press the keys you want to use as shortcuts for the action.
  4. To change the keyboard shortcut for a specific app, click on App Shortcuts in the list on the left.
  5. Click on the + button below the lists, and select the app from the dropdown list.
  6. Type the name of the menu item whose shortcut you want to change. Enter the shortcut keys and click on Add.

2. Create Text Replacements

Text replacements or substitutions have been available in macOS for as long as we can remember. This customization option lets you replace a smaller text string with a larger one. It comes in handy when typing emails, articles, and more.

Here’s how you can create a text shortcut:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Text.
  2. Click on the + button below the list.
  3. Under the “Replace” column, type the text you want to replace. Under the “With” column, type the text you want macOS to show in place of the text you entered in the Replace column.

To use text shortcuts, type the Replace text and hit the Space key. macOS will automatically replace it with whatever word or phrase you set in settings.

3. Adjust Keyboard Backlight Settings

The keyboard backlight takes up your Mac’s battery, so it makes sense to turn it off when you don’t need it. Thankfully, you can adjust the backlight settings of your keyboard and have it automatically turn off after a certain amount of time.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard.
  2. Check the Adjust keyboard brightness in low light box.
  3. Check the Turn keyboard backlight off after [duration] of inactivity box and choose the duration.

4. Use the Standard Function Keys

Mac keyboards have function keys with icons printed on them to illustrate what they do. You can remap your Mac’s function keys to do anything you want, and similar to keyboard shortcuts, they have functions specific to apps.

You can use the special features printed on the function keys without having to press the Fn key, but when you’re using keyboard shortcuts that require you to press a function key, you have to press the Fn button as well, sometimes bringing the key combination up to five keys.

You can change this by enabling “standard function keys” in the settings. Standard function keys invert the function key behavior, so you have to press and hold the fn key when using the special features printed on the keys. This will also allow you to use a keyboard shortcut involving the function keys without pressing the Fn key.

Here’s how you can enable it:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard.
  2. Check the Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys option.

5. Disable Auto-Capitalization

Auto-capitalization is valuable when you have to write formally frequently—for work emails and whatnot. But if you tend to use your Mac for personal conversations and want to sound more informal, you probably don’t need it all the time. You can easily turn it off in the settings.

  1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Text.
  2. Uncheck the Capitalize words automatically box.

6. Change the Language of Your Keyboard

Quickly changing the language for your keyboard with one press of a button is an incredibly handy feature if you write in different languages.

Here’s how you can add languages and switch between them by pressing a single button:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources.
  2. Click on the + button, and once you’ve selected the language you want to use, click on Add.
  3. Now go to the Keyboard tab and set the function for Press the Globe key to as Change Input Source, as shown below.

Now, you can easily change the language by pressing the Globe/Fn key. You can also change it by clicking on the keyboard icon in the menu bar and selecting the language from the dropdown list. You can later add additional languages to your Mac’s Dictionary app to look up words in different languages.

7. Change the Layout of Your Mac’s Keyboard

If you’re not used to typing on an ANSI or ISO keyboard, you can change the layout in the keyboard settings.

  1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources.
  2. Click on the + button and select a language from the list on the left.
  3. Browse through the layout options in the list on the right and select the one you prefer. Click on Add.
  4. Choose the layout you just added and close the settings window.

Keyboard Tricks for Advanced Typing on Your Mac

As you can tell, there are tons of keyboard customization options on your Mac. From creating new keyboard shortcuts to changing the entire layout of your keyboard, there’s so much you can do to improve your typing experience.

You can create a keyboard shortcut for pretty much anything to make your workflow smoother. Play around with these settings and see what works best for you.

If you feel these built-in customization options aren’t enough, you can use third-party apps to get even more control over your Mac’s mouse and keyboard.

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