You can customize your Mac computer’s keyboard to create shortcuts that will make your life a whole lot easier. Whether it is opening up certain applications or adjusting the volume, you are going to have many different options. This article will explain how to do this step by step.

  1. System Preferences

The first method of customizing buttons on your Mac keyboard is to use the System Preferences on your computer. This is something that not many people know about, but it is very effective for this purpose.

  • First open up the System Preference by clicking the Apple logo to open the menu in the top left corner of the desktop screen.
  • Navigate to the Keyboard Preference section. This will be under the “Hardware” row in the window.
  • You will notice that the keyboard preference pane is divided into two different tabs. The first one displays options for how your keyboard behaves. This includes things like the repeat rate of the keys and how they each function. The other tab is where each shortcut is controlled.
  • Click on the Modifiers button, which you will find at the bottom right corner of the window. You will see a pop up window that lets you select how each key functions. For example, you can decide to make your Caps Lock key behave as an additional Command key.
  • Next you will need to work on changing your existing shortcuts. Navigate to the Keyboard Shortcuts tab. You will not be able to add any shortcuts, but rather just change them according to your preferences.
  • Click on the shortcuts syntax, which is located on the first right side of the window. Just press the keys you want to use for each shortcut.
  • Finally, you will need to create your own shortcuts. Click on the Application Shortcuts section. This will let you add and delete shortcuts as you see fit.
  • Click on the plus button when you want to add a shortcut, or the minus button if you want to remove one. Take the time to think about which shortcuts you want based on the actions you perform on your computer each day.
  1. Use a Third-Party Program

There are a number of different programs that you can download and use to create shortcuts with your Mac keyboard. Many of these apps will let you do things that the System Preferences will not.

  • You can use the program Karabiner if you have El Capitan or later on your computer. This will allow you to rebind the keys on your keyboard, which can be useful for a number of reasons. Since this software is open source, you don’t have to pay anything to use it.
  • The BetterTouchTool is another software option that will let you customize your keys very easily. There is an entire section in this program for keyboards that you can easily access. You can set certain keys for looking up words in the dictionary and creating a Do Not Disturb setting. You will also be able to change the brightness of your display and put it into sleep mode with the touch of a button on your keyboard.
  1. Customize the Control Bar

If you have a new Mac and want to customize the buttons on the Touch Bar, there is a fairly easy way to do this.

  • The first thing you need to do is click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of your desktop screen and go into System Preferences.
  • Choose the Keyboard option and then select Customize Touch Bar. You will see your mouse cursor go down to the Touch Bar so you can get rid of any icons you want to remove.
  • If you want to see the expanded control strip by default by simply clicking on the “Touch Bar Shows…” menu.


When you are creating custom functions for the keys on your Mac keyboard, remember to consider which ones you use the most. This will allow you to get as much use as possible from the shortcuts you have created.