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Use the keyboard to select the 'other' dialog button System
You may have noticed in Jaguar that, in addition to the default throbbing button in many dialogs, there is often a second button with a blue ring around it. This is the button with the keyboard focus. As with all previous versions of Mac OS, pressing Return selects the default button, but in Jaguar, you can use the Space Bar to press the highlighted button. Use the Tab key to highlight the next control.

Keyboard navigation is not available in all dialogs, and you'll probably need to turn on the Full Keyboard Access preferences option labeled "For windows and dialogs, highlight: Any control." Control-F7 toggles this option system-wide.
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Use the keyboard to select the 'other' dialog button | 6 comments | Create New Account
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Authored by: jbouklas on Dec 04, '02 02:27:54PM

It's amazing how something so simple can prove to be so useful! Thanks.


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I am not sure
Authored by: panicX on Dec 04, '02 07:41:00PM

I am not entirley sure if it is a feature or a bug.
first, it is so sporadic in the Operating environment.
Sometimes a blue button (activated by pressing return) also
has a blue halo around it, while the clear glass colored one
next to it has none. Wich means you can press return or space
but never will activate that 'other' button.
In 'Tinkertool' only one of the checkmarks has the blue halo,
why not all of them so you can tab-space between em?
Perhaps its a feature not yet fully implemented.

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I am not sure
Authored by: stewby on Dec 05, '02 08:15:49AM

Check the hint again more carefully... the blue halo means that that element *has* the keyboard focus, not that it can get it. Having a halo around more than one element would be a pretty serious UI bug, since it would mean that both elements were simultaneously currently selected.

The blue halo starts at the starting element the application designer chooses, and tab will move the halo to the next element as defined in the application's GUI design. That's why sometimes the halo is around the default button and sometimes not. But as long as an application's creator knows what they are doing, this hint will work in that appilcation.

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Authored by: panicX on Dec 05, '02 09:03:14AM

Yes thnx :)
I now completely understand the feature
along with tabbing between the various elements.

tinkertool is a good example of the implementation BTW

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Any exemplary apps?
Authored by: DaveYost on Jan 24, '03 02:50:20AM

Can anyone point out some apps that has windows in which there is a default button, and the next-most-likely button you would want to press is selected and ready to be invoked by pressing space?

Speaking as a Cocoa developer, even the standard sheets that Cocoa provides don't seem to implement this.

Someone said TinkerTool was a good example of Full Keyboard Access. Doesn't seem so to me. (Much as I love TinkerTool!)


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Use the keyboard to select the 'other' dialog button
Authored by: jaminconn on Feb 22, '11 05:53:35AM

hey thank you so much... i'm a video editor and I automate my processes as much as possible. I often make scripts and macros for one-click processing apposed to 10 sequenced keyboard shortcuts. I can't say how happy i am to have learned this hint. I often don't write replies to articles like this but this one really really changes my life. i've had many workflows that i've wanted to automate but they have that one click that I have to do in the middle of the workflow, and now with your spacebar selection, i don't have to worry about this issue ever again. now, i just need to figure out how to select radial buttons. thanks

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