Turning On Keyboard Sounds on Mac OS X

I’m old enough to have typed on an electric typewriter. I used it to type up papers for high school; it was a used model, and I still remember the mechanical smell when it was turned on and purring. And of course, the sounds when I hit each key, hard, which had a lot of feedback. That was before I learned to touch-type. ((Even in college, I still used a word processor, i.e., a hardware word processor, not a computer until much later; my family was poor, and this was a splurge.))

I missed that sound for some reason, probably because my soft keyboards on my Transformer tablet make a typing sound in lieu of physical feedback. So, as I’m writing fiction, I sought a way to bring back that typing sound.

Incidentally, the method of bringing it back makes using the delete key for more than a couple letters very slow and annoying, which is turning my writing thoughtful. This is either a good or a bad thing, but at least it’s different enough that I may find it useful for a change of pace.

This apparently only works in Mac OS X, Panther and up.

  • Step 1: Turn on “Play user interface sounds” in System Preferences, under Sound -> Sound Effects.

  • Step 2: Turn on “Slow Keys” under Universal Access -> Keyboard, turn on “Use click key sounds”, and move the acceptance delay slider all the way towards the “Short” end. Unless, of course, you’d like to play around with slow keys to see what it does.

  • Step 3: Type until the sounds are maddening again, and then turn off Slow Keys in the same place.

It’s quite easier to type on most keyboards these days than it was on the old typewriter, which really developed your finger muscles, even electronic ones.

And now I’m going to go type stuff for a while longer. Tappity, tappity, tappity.