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How to show keystrokes on Windows 10

Visualizing keystrokes is a great way to learn keyboard shortcuts for an app. Outside of that, if you need to record a screencast, it’s a good idea to show keystrokes on your screen and save yourself a lot of work during editing. If you need a good, customizable tool to show keystrokes on Windows 10, you should give Carnac a try.

Show keystrokes

Download and run Carnac. The app is open source and doesn’t need to be installed. When you run it, to goes straight to the system tray. By default it will show keystrokes as well as mouse clicks, highlighting which mouse button was clicked. The first thing you want to do after running the app is customize it. Double-click the app’s icon in the system tray to open its settings.

On the General Tab, you can select where the keystroke shows on your screen. Use the top, bottom, left, and right offset sliders to position the visual. Carnac supports multiple monitors so you can choose which monitor the keystroke should be displayed on. Be careful with this setting because if you offset it too much from all sides, it might cut the visual off.

Once you’ve positioned the app’s visual, go to the Keyboard tab. Here you can customize whether the app will show all keystrokes or just those that include modifier keys. You can also customize the visual, its font size, opacity, and the color.

The Mouse tab is where you can customize how mouse clicks are shown on your screen. If you don’t want the mouse clicks to show, uncheck the ‘Show mouse clicks’ option. This option is a bit buggy though so if it doesn’t apply, set the value of the Stop Opacity slider to 1, exit the app, and run it again. That should do the trick.

Here’s how the keystrokes appear on your screen.

The app doesn’t show keystrokes on both monitors which might be a shortcoming for some users but it does everything else flawlessly. If the visual isn’t easy to see on your desktop, you can customize it to suit any background and you can also change how long it remains visible on your screen. It should be recorded on any screencasting tool so there’s not much to worry about. It works with the OBS tool and with Snagit.

The app isn’t in active development however we tested it on Windows 10 1809 and it works without any problems.

If you’re on a Mac, and you need to show keystrokes, there’s a pretty great app that can do that for you.


  1. When I check the option “Show only modifiers”, Shift doesn’t work for me either.
    A workaround for me could be to use the option “Shorcuts only”, but how do I list keys in the Keymaps folder? Any idea? It would be really great if you could help me out here. Thanks, Bas

  2. Yes Shift doesnt work
    for example I press win+shift+S (for screenshot), it displayed only win+S ooppps help!

  3. You mentioned you add yoir keystrokes after. Could you make a video on how you keep track and add it? (Which editor you use, preferred methods, etc.)

    Thank you

  4. Many of the recent versions of Carnac contain very suspicious code that tries to download additional programs. Test it by uploading it to VirusTotal.com

  5. Left Shift worked for me but it only updates after the button has been let go. So when you are moving something in Maya, the instructions don’t appear on the screen for the students. The November 2021 version does not have a way to resize the display; they are huge on my screen.

  6. Doesn’t work well:
    1. Can’t show Hebrew characters
    2. Can’t show anything even in English in case the focus is on Android emulator.

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