How to use the keyboard with one hand in Gnome 2.2

This page explains step-by-step how to set up Gnome for Linux so that you can use the keyboard with one hand by turning on 'Sticky Keys'. Some commands require a number of keys to be held down at the same time (for example, Ctrl + Alt + Delete). Sticky Keys enables you to select one key at a time.

Use the keyboard with one hand in Gnome 2.2

Step 1: Open the 'Keyboard Preferences' window

Click on 'System' in the menu bar, then 'Preferences' and then 'Assistive Technologies' to open the 'Assistive Technologies Preferences' window shown in Fig 1. Alternatively, press Alt + F1 and then use the arrow keys to move to 'System', then 'Preferences', then 'Assistive Technologies', and then press Enter.

Fig 1Detail from 'Assistive Technologies Preferences' window

Click the 'Keyboard Accessibility' button, or press Alt + K, to open the 'Keyboard Preferences' window.

The 'Accessibility' tab should be selected by default. If it is not, click on the 'Accessibility' tab, or press Tab until any of the tabs is highlighted, then press the left or right arrow keys until the 'Accessibility' tab is brought to the front, as shown in Fig 2.

Fig 2Detail from 'Keyboard Preferences' window

Step 2: Turn on Sticky Keys

Below the 'Sticky Keys' header, tick the box next to 'Simulate simultaneous keypresses' by clicking on it or by pressing Alt + S.

You may want to change the settings so that Sticky Keys will turn itself off if two keys are pressed at the same time (for example, Ctrl + S to save). This is useful if you share your computer with another user. To activate this option, tick the box next to 'Disable sticky keys if two keys are pressed together', or press Alt + B to tick it.

Click 'Close' or press Alt + C to save your changes and return to the Gnome desktop.

Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings cannot be changed due to local IT policies - contact your local IT support for further help.

Back to How to guides - I find a keyboard or mouse hard to use

More ways to: Make your keyboard easier to use

Change the keyboard settings on your computer

Control the pace of repeated keystrokes and avoid miss-keys

Turn on and customise the on-screen keyboard

Use a mouse or other pointing device instead of a keyboard

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