How to use the keyboard with one hand in KDE 4

This page explains step-by-step how to set up KDE 4 for Linux so that you can use the keyboard with one hand, using 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.

Video how to guide

Text version

Using the keyboard with one hand in KDE 4

Use the keyboard with one hand in KDE 4

Step 1: Open the 'Modifier Keys' tab

Click on the 'K' icon on the menu bar, or press Alt + F1, to open 'Kickoff' as shown in Fig 1.

Fig 1'Kickoff' menu

Click on 'Computer' and then 'System Settings', or use the arrow keys to select these and then press Enter, to open the 'System Settings' window shown in Fig 2.

(Some setups may vary. In this example, 'System Settings' is also available from the 'Favourites' tab, as shown in Fig 1.)

Fig 2'System Settings' window

Click on the 'Accessibility' icon, or press Tab to enter the main window and then use the arrow keys to navigate to 'Accessibility' and press Enter.

In the window that opens, shown in Fig 3, click on the 'Accessibility' icon, or press Tab until the pane on the left is highlighted, then use the down arrow to move to 'Accessibility'.

Fig 3'Accessibility' window showing 'Text-to-Speech' pane

Once the 'Accessibility' settings are visible, as shown in Fig 4, click on the 'Modifier Keys' tab, or press Alt + M.

Fig 4'Accessibility' window showing the 'Modifier Keys' tab

Step 2: Turn on and customise sticky keys

Tick the box next to 'Use sticky keys' by clicking on it, or by pressing Alt + S. Once this is done, you can tick or untick the boxes below to customise sticky keys, turning on an audio warning, for instance.

You can set it so that if you press the Ctrl, Alt or Shift twice in a row, the key remains active until you press the same key for a third time. To select this option, tick the box next to 'Lock sticky keys', or press Alt + L to tick it.

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 'Turn sticky keys off when two keys are pressed simultaneously', or press Alt + T to tick it.

Click on the 'Apply' button or press Alt + A to save your changes.

Click on the 'Overview' button or press Esc to return to the 'System Settings' window. Click the 'Close' cross or press Alt + F4 to return to the KDE desktop.

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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