Is there a way to force OSX to display in monochrome(also known as grayscale)?

I'm working with a student who has ADHD (and I am mildly ADHD myself). The colors are too much for him/her to handle.

EDIT: Ideally I'm looking to assign a keyboard shortcut or create a desktop icon.

4 Answers 4


Yes, this can be achieved with AppleScript and Automator.

The setting to automate is located in:

System Preferences > Accessibility > Display > Use Greyscale

The keyboard combination option + command + F5 also shows Accessibility options.

This Apple discussion, Keyboard shortcut for "Use grayscale", shows how to use AppleScript and Automator to create a menu bar item that toggles the Greyscale on/off.

  • Might there be a way to define such to a shortcut? Maybe keyboard or dock icon?
    – William
    Jun 25, 2014 at 5:22
  • @LiamWilliam In the Accessibility Pane, you can check "Show Accessibility status in the Menu Bar" for easy access to the pane. Also, the keyboard combination OPTION+COMMAND+F5 brings up accessibility controls.
    – njboot
    Jun 25, 2014 at 6:09
  • The linked script no longer works for macOS Sierra. Might someone post an updated one? Feb 3, 2017 at 3:35

As of Sierra you can tell Siri to ‘use grayscale’, the closest thing to a shortcut I’ve been able to discover so far.


You can grayscale the display from the accessibility settings, but it's a real pain if you want to temporarily enable/disable it. I have made an app to solve this problem. It allows you to toggle grayscale mode from the status bar.

Tested to work on macOS Mojave.

You can download it from here. The source code is here.

Note: Due to Apple's restrictions you need to allow it to have accessibility and system events permissions.

  • Hey, could you make it work on Sierra ? Feb 20 at 9:53

Based on a few StackExchange posts (mostly the credit goes to RecursivelyIronic), I have packaged a solution with instructions into a GitHub repository: macOS-grayscale.

It requires compiling a binary, which can then be assigned a hotkey combination (instructions in the repo).

On plus side it:

  • toggles fairly quickly
  • doesn’t cause a popup
  • doesn’t interfere with color inversion
  • works on Catalina
  • Hey, could you make it work on Sierra ? Feb 20 at 9:53
  • I don’t use Sierra anymore. Feb 24 at 11:27

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