When Sticky Keys is enabled, how do you cancel a modifier key that you have pressed by accident?

For example, let's assume that your intention was to press Alt and you pressed Control instead: how would you cancel Control and then press Alt?

If it is possible, does it work the same way both on Windows and Linux?


EDIT: On Gnome, a sticky key can be disabled with two more presses. What about Windows?

EDIT2: Anyway, on Gnome sometimes sticky modifiers get stuck, thus I'm not considering to use them anymore.

  • 1
    does pressing it again work? – John Dvorak Dec 27 '13 at 19:20
  • I didn't notice it before, but pressing it again twice works on Gnome. Any idea about Windows? – Eleno Dec 27 '13 at 19:34
  • Just curious. Why do you use this? I've never found it useful. – John Dvorak Dec 27 '13 at 19:35
  • Out of curiosity, to see whether it helps with ergonomics. – Eleno Dec 27 '13 at 19:36
  • In case it does help, then I could stick with it, but only if it works consistently across different platforms. – Eleno Dec 27 '13 at 19:39

I often find myself in the same situation, usually because I press the Shift key reflexively and then realize I don't want to capitalize the next letter. I figured out experimentally that pressing the Caps Lock key twice will clear a modifier key after it has been pressed. Unfortunately, it seems to confuse the Caps Lock indicator on my keyboard, but I can live with that.


I believe the state sequence is as follows, under Windows 10:

- First press - engage the modifier key for the next (non modifier) keypress
- Second press - lock the modifier key
- Third press - cancel the modifier key

Multiple modifier keys can be engaged with single or double presses.

Edit Feb 2021

I have recently tried to reproduce these findings and it appears to be keyboard dependent. I tried two keyboards. One works exactly as described above. The second works like this:

- First press of either shift - engage shift modifier for next key (alpha or numbers)
- Right then left shift in sequence - lock shift function. Single left shift to clear
- Control, alt - just modify the next keypress.

The sticky keys icon on the taskbar does show what modifier will be applied. This is quite fiddly, and I can't say if it is unreliable or I get in a muddle, but the next press is not always what I expect. If it is reliable, I think I could get used to it.

I cannot find any reliable sticky keys information from Microsoft. If you can reference good information, please comment.

For what is is worth, sticky keys works much better for macOs and an iPad with an external keyboard.

  • That doesn't work for me. I find that pressing a modifier key any number of times has the same effect as pressing it once. Are you basing your answer on experience? Documentation? – Alan Feb 26 at 2:43
  • 1
    @Alan, please see my edited answer. – Nigel Davies Mar 1 at 18:20

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