How To Program Garage Door Remote Controls

It is important that you know how to program garage door remote controls if you ever need to replace one. Chamberlain, Liftmaster and Sears Craftsman brands are among the most popular types of garage door openers. These brands use a “smart button” or “learn button system of programming. These operators have a color coded learn button corresponding to the frequency of remote needed.

Before buying or programming a garage door remote control you will first need to find your program or learn button. These buttons are made in a variety of colors. All learn buttons are found on the side of the motor or possibly under a light cover. You may need a step ladder to find these buttons at eye level.  Learn buttons are usually square and about the size of a thumbnail. Identify the color and location of your learn button as you will need it to purchase or program remote controls.

Purple Button 315 mhz

Most garage door openers purchased from 2003 to 2011 will have purple colored smart buttons. This corresponds to 315 mhz frequency and a specific types of remote control models (371LM, 371 AC, 373p, 895 MAX, 375LM). Purple learn buttons are the most common colored buttons on the market. Any opener installed over the last 10 years will likely be 315 mhz and have a purple button. These openers have rolling code technology where a new code is automatically issued with every use to prevent unauthorized entry.

Red/Orange Button 390 mhz

Garage door openers installed from the year 1997 to 2002 usually have red colored learn buttons. This corresponds to 390 mhz frequency and uses specific types of remote control models (971LM, 971AC, 895MAX, 375LM). Red learn buttons are the second most common color of learn buttons. Any opener installed before 2003 will likely use 390 mhz frequency and a red smart button. These openers have rolling code technology where a new code is automatically issued with every use to prevent unauthorized entry.

Green  Button 390 mhz

Found on many old garage door openers, green learn buttons also use 390 mhz frequency. These operators are fairly rare and use a specific remote control (81LM). These machines were commonly installed from1993-1996. It is recommended that these machines be replaced instead of repaired as controls can be difficult to find.

How to Program Garage Door Remote Controls

  1. Press and release the “learn button” on your garage door opener. It is important that you DO NOT hold the button down as this will erase all memory. After pressing the smart button your glow light should turn on for about 30 seconds.
  2. Within 30 seconds press whatever button on your remote control that you would like to use. You may need to press the button a few times for it to accept the remote.
  3. You should here two clicks or see two light flashes if the remote has been successfully programmed. If nothing happened, test your remote control to see if your door moves up or down. Repeat these steps for each machine you would like programmed to your remote.


If your learn button doesn’t match up to any of the colors described above you may need to consult your nearest Chamberlain, Liftmaster or Sears Craftsman dealer. Take a picture of your learn button and consult a professional door technician. Black and yellow smart buttons are commonly found on Genie and Overhead brand garage door openers. If you have followed these steps and cannot get your remote to program make sure your remote control has fresh batteries and is working. Lastly, consider replacing your circuit board if remotes will not link to your machine.