How to Show On-Screen Key Presses on macOS

On Screen Keyboard Presses Mac Cover

On-screen visual cues can be very helpful at times, such as the small key boxes that pop up for a moment when you tap a letter while typing on an iOS device. Similarly, in the case that you return to an idle Mac and can’t find the mouse cursor, macOS has a feature that increases the size of the mouse cursor to easily locate it. Such visual cues can be helpful if needed.

If you’ve ever wanted to show your keyboard presses on-screen on your Mac, you can install a third-party add-on known as Keycastr to do so.

Having on-screen keyboard presses enabled can help you significantly if you’re learning how to type quickly without glancing at the keyboard before typing every letter or if you want to have your key presses shown while recording a screencast. Using Keycastr, you can customize the color of the overlay and the text keys. You can also choose to only show keys pressed with the Ctrl, Command, Option, and Shift keys.

Whatever the reason, we’ll show you how to download and get Keycastr running on your system below.

1. Download and unzip Keycastr from Github. It’s a free, open-source app that requires accessibility permissions. (The Download link is present in the middle of the page under the Download header – don’t confuse the Clone/Download button for the actual app download link.)

2. Once done, open up System Preferences on your Mac.

3. Navigate to Security and Privacy.

On Screen Keyboard Presses Mac System Preferences

4. In the Privacy tab, select Accessibility, and click on the “Plus” icon on the bottom of the list to add a new app.

On Screen Keyboard Presses Mac Plus Icon

Note: if it’s greyed out, you’ll need to enter in your password to authenticate changes.

5. Select the Keycastr app and make sure it’s enabled in the list.

On Screen Keyboard Presses Mac Keycastr App

On Screen Keyboard Presses Mac Keycastr Accessibility

Once Keycastr has been enabled in System Preferences, you’ll see your key presses automatically be shown on-screen in the bottom left corner. You can choose to customize the key overlay color, size, etc. To do this:

1. Open the Keycastr app (the file you just downloaded).

2. In the Display section you can customize the bezel color, text color, font size, keystroke delay, etc.

On Screen Keyboard Presses Mac Interface

Similarly, by selecting “Display only Command Keys” you can choose to only show keys that are pressed along with the Ctrl, Command, Option and Shift keys.

By default, your keystrokes will show up at the bottom of the screen like shown in the following image.

On Screen Keyboard Presses Mac Keycastr Bottom Left

If you choose the Swelvte visualizer, it’ll only show on-screen when you’re holding keys such as Command, Option, Control, and Alt. If you choose to display all Keystrokes, it’ll show all of them in its small window.

On Screen Keyboard Presses Mac Svelte

Do you find having your key presses displayed on-screen useful? Let us know in the Comments section below.

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