ChromeOS will finally, mercifully, let you change its keyboard shortcuts

ChromeOS will finally, mercifully, let you change its keyboard shortcuts
Feb 2023

ChromeOS devices have become far more useful since the Cr-48. With Linux and Android apps, and "web only" being far less of a hindrance these days, they're compelling as a secondary machine. But having to learn a whole separate set of keyboard shortcuts to use them efficiently is always going to be painful.

But help is on the way, if some experimental features in the latest beta ChromeOS release (111) are any indication. As spotted in Kevin Tofel's About Chromebooks blog, an updated version of the shortcut viewer in the Settings app--first seen in October 2022--has the early makings of a shortcut changing and adding mechanism.

Clicking on a shortcut brings up a dialogue that allows you to, at the moment, add alternative shortcuts to common shortcuts for manipulating tabs, windows and desktops, system settings, accessibility, and other utilities. A small "lock" icon next to each suggests that you might also be able to unlock these shortcuts to remove or alter their defaults. A "Reset all shortcuts" button offers another hint. Sadly, none of the shortcuts you add seem to work for the moment, though the promise is there.


I'm someone who hops between a Mac (work), Windows (gaming), Linux (Pi work and testing/googery), and ChromeOS (shared "home" laptop) on any given day. My brain is capable of remembering all the major shortcuts I use, sure. But the minor annoyance of having to reach inside my mental filing cabinet for them, usually after pressing the wrong keys at least once, adds up to a major sigh-inducing frustration. I've used deeper system hacks, or apps like Rectangle for macOS, to line up my shortcut preferences between most of these systems; ChromeOS has long been the holdout for this kind of alignment and customization.

Tofel lists three flags he needed to enable in the chrome://flags section of his Beta Channel device to make the new shortcut viewer available; I had to enable one more before it would show for me. Those three plus one are listed below:


I also enabled chrome://flags#new-shortcut-mapping, though I'm not certain what effect that had. As noted, none of these shortcuts will allow for shortcut remapping at the moment, but they're likely to be effective in an upcoming ChromeOS release.

You may be also interested in

Go to blog