You can’t change the Roku’s quick shortcuts, but there's a workaround

If you have the right Roku remote, you can program its personal shortcut buttons. Here's how.

roku how to program personal shortcut buttons
Ben Patterson/IDG

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For the most part, we’re fans of Roku’s friendly, intuitive remotes, and particularly the ones that have voice capabilities. But there’s a sticking point—or four of them, actually—when it comes to the Roku remote: the quartet of buttons at the bottom stamped with the logos of popular streaming services.

Those so-called “quick shortcut” buttons let you jump to streamers such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video with a single button push—convenient, if you happen to subscribe to those services.

The reality is that most of us aren’t subscribed to four streamers at once, or if we are, they aren’t necessarily the services slapped on those quick shortcut buttons (and yes, streamers do pay Roku for the privilege of getting their logos on the shortcuts).

In any case, let’s cut to the chase: No, you can’t reprogram Roku’s quick shortcut buttons yourself. You can disable them, so long as you’re comfortable getting a screwdriver and physically prying the remote open, but you can’t otherwise change their functionality.

That said, Roku does offer some remotes that come with “personal” shortcuts: a pair of buttons that you can program yourself.

The two personal shortcut buttons sit just above the quick shortcut buttons, and they’re stamped with a “1” and “2.” These programmable shortcuts essentially let you record any voice command—including, say, “Open Discovery+”—which you can execute later by pressing one button or the other.

roku personal shortcut buttons Ben Patterson/IDG

The two Roku personal shortcut buttons are marked with a “1” and “2.”

Among the Roku remotes with programmable personal shortcuts is the new Roku Voice Remote Pro, as well as the Enhanced Voice Remote and the Roku Touch tabletop remote.

If your remote doesn’t have the personal shortcuts, you can always buy a Roku remote that does, but it will cost you: the new Voice Remote Pro, for example, sells for $30, the same as some Roku players. Yes, ouch, but at least the Voice Remote Pro has some attractive perks, including a rechargeable battery, a headphone jack, and a voice-enabled lost-remote finder.

How to program Roku personal shortcut buttons

  1. First (assuming you have a supported Roku remote), press the microphone button on the remote and say a voice command. It could be anything from “open Pandora” and “launch Paramount+” to “show me comedies” and “look for thriller movies.” If you’re here, though, you probably want to program a shortcut to a streaming service.
  2. Next, wait for your Roku player to run the voice command.
  3. Finally, press and hold the personal shortcut button to which you’d like to assign the command. If all goes well, you’ll hear a tone after holding the button for a few seconds.
  4. Want to reprogram a button? Just go back to step one, then rinse and repeat.
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