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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

How to use the keyboard to select buttons in dialogs (e.g., Don't Save/Cancel/Save)


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remain

 
Member Since: Nov 27, 2006
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Seems like a lot of switchers have trouble with using the keyboard to move between the buttons in dialogs.


Generally, you can just press the buttons directly without selecting them:

Return = the blue button (the default selection)
e.g.,


Escape or Command . (period) = Cancel

Command [first letter of button name] = other buttons (e.g., Command D = "Don't Save")

(credit: technologist)


However, you can also use Tab and Shift Tab to move left and right to select the buttons, just like the arrow keys in Windows!

Here's how:

Open System Preferences. Go to Keyboard & Mouse, then the Keyboard Shortcuts tab.

At the bottom, set "In windows and dialogs, press Tab to move the keyboard focus between" to "All controls":





You can also use Control F7 to toggle this preference,
although "Turn full keyboard access on or off" (which is Control F1) must be on.



By default, Control F2 through Control F7 are disabled,
so basically:
-press Control F1 to turn on full keyboard access (so that Control F7 is enabled)
-then press Control F7 to set the other pref to "All controls."

And now, you can use Tab (and Shift Tab for reverse) to select buttons in dialogs!



But remember, use Space to "press" the current selection, not Return.

Pressing Return will "press" on whatever button is in blue.

For instance:



In this case:

Space = the currently selected button: Don't Save

Return = the blue default button: Save

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cheez

 
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Well this is helpful but u know what?I hate that almost non of the new user searching their Macs to see what are capable of and only yelling i cant do this i cant do that. I did and i already found how to do a lot of things.Maybe ppl dont love their computers as i do.
Anyway, thx a lot for sharing -.-"

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Red Snapper

 
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I always wondered about this, thanks for the info.
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Ninjab3ar

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheez View Post
Well this is helpful but u know what?I hate that almost non of the new user searching their Macs to see what are capable of and only yelling i cant do this i cant do that. I did and i already found how to do a lot of things.Maybe ppl dont love their computers as i do.
Anyway, thx a lot for sharing -.-"
I know how you feel. I have a friend who bought a MacBook pro around January (around the same time I did). After using it for a month though, she didnt even know about Expose, or that OS X has voice controls. She didnt even know about widgets!
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knightlie

 
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This should be a stickie. Someone summon a Mod.

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SoundsGood

 
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Maybe Apple should offer a free "switchers" book (with tips just like this one) for those coming from Windows.

In the end it would help Apple, especially if the complaints turned into praise.
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cheez

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninjab3ar View Post
I know how you feel. I have a friend who bought a MacBook pro around January (around the same time I did). After using it for a month though, she didnt even know about Expose, or that OS X has voice controls. She didnt even know about widgets!
thank god!im not the only one here!
well its like we got the same friend lol.
i got a friend who bought the mac before me, like a month before me and i told him about the same things you did...
<3

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Sandwichman

 
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Thanks for this, I was always confused about why Tab only moved the blue outline, and return still activated the one that was filled in.

Sitting, waiting, wishing...
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