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OSX Keyboard Shortcuts in Dialogs?

OSX Keyboard Shortcuts in Dialogs?

On Windows, every dialog box includes underlined letters that you can activate using the Alt key. I use these "Alt" keyboard shortcuts all the time; I'm missing them as I'm trying to switch to OSX.

Asked by: Guest | Views: 68
Total answers/comments: 5
Guest [Entry]

"In OSX there's no such thing as the ""_"" for dialogs like in Windows. However, you have:

esc → defaults to no/cancel

cmd + del → don't save (cmd + d before OS X Lion)

enter → save/OK

spacebar → click selected button (use tab to move).

A quick Google search for ""osx keyboard shortcuts"" will teach you way more than you can memorize in one day, but you should; there are dozens and some are very valuable.

You can always add more/change some existing ones by going to System Preferences -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard Shortcuts, exactly where you activated ""all controls"".

But as far as I know, there's no ""underscore"" thing in OSX."
Guest [Entry]

"A nice feature that almost replicates the Windows Alt accelerators in an OS X dialog box is to use ⌘ + ⇧ + first_letter.

As noted by Louis, using only ⌘ + first_letter works in some dialogs. For example, ⌘ + D will choose Don't Save on exiting a file. (This is the same funcionality as first using ⇥ to highlight Don't Save and then selecting it by clicking space, which works if System preferences --> Keyboard --> Keyboard Shortcuts --> Full Keyboard Access:... is set to All controls as described in previous posts).

However, ⌘ + first_letter is not universal. For example, in a Save As dialog, ⌘ + N fails to select New Folder.

But ⌘ + ⇧ + N does the trick.

I discovered this feature only recently, so I'm not sure if it is as universal as Windows Alt (which I'm using extensively). But by playing around I seem to be able to select most dialog items that I need. For example, I could use ⌘ + ⇧ + T to navigate in the dialog that opens in Microsoft Excel (for Mac) when I do Paste Special, and choose Text from a drop-down menu. So it selects not only buttons, but list items as well.




UPDATE: One limitation, however, compared with Windows Alt, seems to be that it's not possible to press the first-letter key multiple times to move between different objects that share the same first letter. In lists, this can be overcome to some extent by combining the shortcut with the arrow keys ← ↑ → ↓.

By the way, OS X has the shortcut ctrl + F2 for accessing the menu bar, but this is particularly inconvenient since it involves pressing fn to activate the F2 functionality. (What's more, others have reported problems with the default shortcut.)

The default shortcut can be re-defined in System preferences --> Keyboard --> Keyboard Shortcuts --> Keyboard & Text Input --> Move focus to the menu bar (it must involve two keys; I'm using ⌥ + <, which feels familiar from Windows). Once the menu bar apple  is highlighted, it is possible to accesss individual menu items by pressing a sequence of the relevant first letters. For example, in Firefox, I can go to File --> Page Setup... with this combo:

⌥ + <, F, ↓, P, ↩

And contrary to dialogs, this functionality does indeed support pressing multiple times to navigate between list items, so that I can access File --> Print like so:

⌥ + <, F, ↓, P, P, ↩ (equivalent to ⌘ + P).

It is actually not even necessary to press the relevant first letter, it's enough to press any letter to highlight the closest list item in alphabetical order (if no result is found, the search continues backwards in reverse order). For example, I can access Edit --> Undo (equivalent to ⌘ + Z) like this:

⌥ + <, E, ↓, V (rather than the intuitive U)."
Guest [Entry]

"The following is from User588 on Ask Different. It will allow you to tab to a button, where you can hit return. It also points out some irregularities.

Enable Keyboard Control of the UI

System Prefs > Keyboard

Then select ""All Controls"" button at the bottom, rather than just ""Text boxes and lists only""

Keyboard Shortcuts

⇥ (TAB) will move between buttons.
esc (ESC) is cancel.
space (SPACE) selects the active button (blue, outline).
↩ (RETURN) is OK or the default button (blue, pulsing, filled).
For some dialog boxes, ⌘+first_letter will select the button with a certain first letter in the text (as pointed out by @Griffo)."
Guest [Entry]

"This is not possible in OS/X. And a key reason I do not prefer Macs.

The OP points out a critical failing in OS/X: the ability to rapidly - and with only the keyboard - select any entries (not just ""OK / cancel"", etc) in a dialog box. None of the suggestions above can do that.

A common example is: within a Find/Replace dialog I want to change from Case Sensitive to Case Insensitive. In Linux (and in windows) I can achieve that using only keystrokes. This is not possible in MAC: you have to use the mouse or fumble around with tabbing multiple times."
Guest [Entry]

With soome dialogs like iTunes Song Info dialog, the shortcut to the OK button is fn → enter