July 28, 2017

Using the Keyboard in Dialog Boxes

Did you know that you can navigate various dialog boxes in MacOS using the keyboard?

dialog
Sample Save Dialog Box

If you look carefully in the above dialog box, you'll see that the 'Cancel' button has a blue glow around it. This is to indicate that this is keyboard actionable item.

Keys to Navigating the Dialog Box

If I click on the 'Space Bar' the dialog box will close and the file will not be saved.

If I click on the 'Tab' the blue highlight will move to the next actionable item, and I can keep clicking 'Tab' until I get the choice I want.

Keyboard Settings Adjustment

If this is not working as you expect, you may need to change the Full Keyboard Access Settings.

  • Open up System Preferences
  • Select the Keyboard icon
  • Select the Shortcuts top menu
  • On the bottom of the dialog you'll see the following information:

Full Keyboard Access

Make any adjustment that will work how you want to use the system dialogs.

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