Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Tab through forms on a Mac

Please forgive the obscurity of this post, but I know this will greatly improve the lives of at least one or two of you. I was thrilled when I finally discovered this fix.

As you can imagine, I spend an awful lot of time online, personally and professionally. I'm constantly filling out forms or logging onto sites. Like any good web professional, I try to use the keyboard for most everything, so when I'm using a form or login window, I hit Tab to cycle through the various fields.

On a Mac, though, this will only get you so far. The Tab button will allow you to move from field to field, but it will not help you with check boxes or the submit button itself. For example, username and password work perfectly, but Tab will never allow you access to the "Remember me on this computer" check box or the Cancel and Login buttons. On a PC, you can easily move through every field or element without trouble. On a Mac, no such a luck.

On every login and form, I was forced to reach for the mouse. This drove me nuts.

It didn't matter which browser I was using, so I assumed this was just a quirk of the OS. Two days ago, I found out that it is a quirk of the OS and it's one you can fix with one click!

Try this...System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Keyboard Shortcuts. At the bottom of that window, you'll find a dialog that says:

Full keyboard access
In windows and dialogs, press Tab to move the keyboard focus between:

[  ] Text boxes and lists only
[  ] All controls

Simply check the All control box and the problem is solved!