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How Do I Reassign the Mission Control Key (F4) To the Dashboard?

I have a recent MacBook Pro (2.6 GHz Intel Core i7) running OS v10.8.5. I use Dashboard a lot and would like a quick way to access it. Since I use the trackpad gesture to access Mission Control, I don’t use the F4 key (2×3 grid picture) to access it. I would love to be able to use F4 (NOT in conjunction with the Fn key) to show the Dashboard but I cannot find a way to assign it. I also do not want to flip my function keys so they work as if the Fn key is also being pressed. I want the other special keys to function as they currently do (volume, brightness, etc). The many suggestions that I found on the web do not work. Is there a solution to this annoying problem?
Douglas Kelley

Comments: 7 Responses to “How Do I Reassign the Mission Control Key (F4) To the Dashboard?”

    6 years ago

    I’m a little confused by your question. On all Mac keyboards I have, the alternate use of the F4 key is for Mission Control. F3 is for Dashboard. It even has that painted right on the key itself.

    So if you are using the function keys as F-keys, then fn+F3 is Dashboard and fn+F4 is Mission Control. You can’t change that. Those special alternate functions are static, which makes sense since they are actually painted on to the keys.

    But you can set the F-keys (not using “fn”) to things. In fact, by default F9 is for Mission Control, making it the same as fn+F3. And F12 is for Dashboard, making it the same as fn+F4.

    So there you go, you most likely already can bring up Dashboard by just hitting F12. And if that doesn’t work, then check your System Preferences, Keyboard, Keyboard Shortcuts, Mission Control and see what “Show Dashboard” is set to. Make sure it is checked to the left so it is turned on. You can also change it to F4 there if you really want.

    And for others reading this and not understanding the difference between fn+F3 and F3, see

    6 years ago

    In the post, replace “Mission Control” with “LaunchPad” but the same principal applies. There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to reassign these special keys.

      6 years ago

      There is a preference for LaunchPad as well, right there in System Preferences, Keyboard, Keyboard Shortcuts. It has its own heading on the left. You can set it to whatever key you want. So use F5 or whatever you want for that.

    6 years ago

    I found a solution. There is a app called FunctionFlip that changes select special keys to a function key w/o needing to hold the Fn key in combination with it. After installing it, I went to System Preferences ==> Keyboard and then reassigned Dashboard to F4. This way, I don’t need two hands to access it and all of my other special keys operate as I want them.

      6 years ago

      I don’t see what that gets you. F4 is already the Dashboard key. Or, you can assign fn+F4 as the Dashboard key. You can have it either way. So what does this app get you that you can’t do without changes in System Preferences?

    Gordon Potter
    6 years ago

    I have a new MacBook Air (Mid 2013) also running 10.8.5 and I get to DashBoard by holding down the “fn” key and then pressing F12. F3 is Mission control and F4 is Launch Pad.

    This has nothing that I can see to do with the thread, but maybe some of these key options will have use to the OP.

    6 years ago

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