Here's something that's half of a follow up to my rambling about the mute button in video calls.

I am a keyboard shortcut person, so one of the things I like to do is make it so that the keyboard shortcut to mute my microphone is the same in all of my most commonly used video conferencing platforms. I regularly use Zoom, Jitsi Meet (hosted on reclaim.cloud!), Google Meet, and Discord.

Thankfully, Zoom and Discord let you remap your keyboard shortcuts, so I change the mute key in Zoom to be my preferred shortcut: alt+a! The one outlier that I encounter often that doesn't let you change the keyboard shortcut on is Google Meet. Google Meet's shortcut for muting your microphone is ctrl + d. Not only is this something I have a hard time committing to memory for some reason, it is also the same shortcut as Chrome's default shortcut for making a bookmark!

For this and all kinds of keyboard related customization on Windows I like to use AutoHotkey. AutoHotkey is a scripting language for Windows that is very powerful for this kind of thing. I'm not going to be able to do a full deep dive on scripting with AutoHotkey here, but the basics are this:

  • Make a text file, name it something like MyShortcuts.ahk (it needs to end in .ahk)
  • Use Notepad (or a better text editor) to edit the file and add your customizations (like the code below)
  • Run the file

You can even drop that file in your Startup folder on Windows so that your custom keyboard shortcuts are available every time you use your computer. My AutoHotkey script has tons of stuff in it (it's about 400 lines long) so this Google Meet shortcut is just one part of it.

AutoHotkey is Windows only, but there are other tools on the Mac that could accomplish this as well. As I am working from home, I spend most of my work time on a Windows desktop, so I just haven't gotten around to setting something like this up on my Macbook Pro. If you are a curious Mac user I would point you to Keyboard Maestro or maybe BetterTouchTool to accomplish something similar. If/When I do I will update this post!

Here's the bit you can add to your .ahk file to be able to toggle mute on and off by pressing alt+a.

#IfWinActive Meet -
!a::send, ^d
#IfWinActive

All this script does is check that you have a window that starts with the name "Meet -" (the convention that meet uses for browser tabs when you are in a call). When you are in a call, when you press the alt+ a key combination it will simulate pressing ctrl+d so that your mic gets muted.