Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tab navigating the Mac UI

It was driving me nuts when I got my MacBook that I could not use the tab button to navigate across a form. Let alone forms, on a browser page, I could only tab between the address bar and the search field. To go anywhere else, I had to reach for the mouse. Aaargh!!

Surely the operating system that was God's gift to humanity could do better than that! It took a fair amount of Googling for me to find the obscure setting that controls it.

Here's what you need to do in order to be able to tab away across the entire screen.

Bring up the System Preferences window and select Keyboard & Mouse from the Hardware Category.

From the "Keyboard & Mouse" panel, select the "Keyboard Shortcuts" tab. The magical setting is at the bottom of that tab. Allow "Full keyboard access" by selecting the "All controls" radio button.

As this panel shows, you can impress your colleagues by toggling this setting using CTRL+Fn+F7.

The question remains, who in their right mind thought that the default setting was to be "Text boxes and lists only"!!

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