Custom keyboard shortcuts are coming to Chromebooks — and it's about time

and image of the Google Chrome logo on a laptop
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Chromebooks are about to get more functional. As spotted by About Chromebooks (via TechRadar), the latest beta version of ChromeOS 111 has an updated keyboard shortcuts application that lets you remap those shortcuts however you want. It's not actually functional yet, but it’s good to see ChromeOS get such a long-requested feature.

Custom keyboard shortcuts for ChromeOS didn’t come out of anywhere. Back in October 2022, Chrome Story posted a video on YouTube that demoed an early version of this feature. Said feature is more robust now in its current state, though as said up top, custom shortcuts aren’t working yet. You’re free to change the shortcuts in the revised panel, but any changes you make aren’t enabled. At least not at the moment.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 review

Chromebooks like the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 could get even better thanks to custom keyboard shortcuts. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Right now, you can only change certain elements of the keyboard. But when this change goes live, you should (theoretically) have full control over all keyboard shortcuts. Of course, we can’t say when or if this feature will ever leave the testing phase.

Should this feature see the light of day, it will be great news for people who hop between using the best Chromebooks, the best Windows laptops and the best MacBooks. Keeping those operating systems’ respective keyboard shortcuts memorized can be a headache. To that end, being able to customize ChromeOS’ keyboard shortcuts to something resembling what you’re familiar with should help ease the pain of transitioning between different computers.

If you’re a member of the ChromeOS beta program, you can check out the new shortcut viewer. About Chromebooks’ Kevin C. Tofel listed three flags he had to enable in the chrome://flags section of his Beta Channel device to make the shortcut viewer available.  said they had to enable one more flag before the viewer would show. These are the flags to enable:

  • chrome://flags#improved-keyboard-shortcuts
  • chrome://flags#enable-shortcut-customization-app
  • chrome://flags#enable-shortcut-customization
  • chrome://flags#enable-only-show-new-shortcut-app

As stated above, you can’t remap shortcuts right now. But we’ll let you know when and if this update rolls out to Chromebooks worldwide. 

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.