The latest ChromeOS 111 beta channel comes with a little surprise. I got my first look at custom keyboard shortcuts on a Chromebook after the update. It may have arrived in an earlier version, but this is the first time I’ve noticed it.
We knew this was coming. Back in October, I reported on an updated keyboard shortcuts app for ChromeOS. And back then, thanks to Chrome Story, there was a video demo of an early iteration. With ChromeOS 111, the custom keyboard shortcuts app is fully fleshed out, although they don’t really work just yet when creating custom shortcuts.
The new custom keyboard shortcuts app in ChromeOS 111
This is what the new keyboard shortcuts app will eventually look like until changes are made by this ChromeOS 111 iteration. It is accessed from the current process Settings -> Device -> Keyboard -> Show Shortcut Keys. Note that I’ve checked some experimental flags to see it, which I’ll share a bit.
Each link is pre-mapped here to default values. Interestingly, the launcher button, err, the everything button, is listed here as the “meta” button.
While all keyboard shortcuts show a lock icon on the right, clicking it opens the interface to add or change your own custom keyboard shortcuts. Below I add “alt + l” (like in the launcher) to dock a window on the left.
New UI for Custom Keyboard ShortcutsCreated a new shortcut
At the moment I don’t see a way to clear the defaults, although there is a button to restore them. Presumably you can then change or remove a default key combination.
How to enable custom keyboard shortcuts
Since the new interface doesn’t yet allow the use of new keyboard shortcuts, you might not want to bother with it. However, for those who do, here are the experimental flags I enabled in the latest ChromeOS 111 Beta channel.
I will keep these active for now. With ChromeOS 111 receiving future software updates, my custom keyboard shortcuts should work at some point. And the farther I can get away from the trackpad or mouse, the faster I can get things done on my Chromebook.
About the Author Kevin C. Tofel has been involved with technology since 2004. He’s been using ChromeOS since Google introduced the CR-48 in 2010 and has reviewed dozens of Chromebooks since then. He worked for Google’s Chrome Enterprise team from 2016-2017, driving the launch of Android app support. In his free time, he uses Chromebooks to study software development at Launch School. In 2019, Kevin joined the CS Curriculum Committee at his local community college.
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