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Reduce excess 'Tabbing' in Mail Apps
I am a big fan of using keyboard shortcuts on my 10.4.8 system. One of the last system updates, however, "fixed" OS X's Mail app such that when I tabbed from the Subject in an email, I had to tab through two more fields before reaching the body. What a hassle. I thought it couldn't be changed, until I used a PowerBook (also running 10.4.8) that had the right behavior.

I looked all over in Mail to no avail. Thanks to this Apple discussions forum post, though, I found the answer! On the bottom of the Keyboard Shortcuts tab in the Keyboard and Mouse System Preferences panel, click the radio button next to "Text boxes and lists only" from "All Controls." Warning: This is a system-wide prefences settings, so tabbing in Safari, etc. will also be affected.

[robg adds: I do exactly the opposite to any new machine -- make sure this setting is on All Controls. Even though it costs a few extra keystrokes here and there, it makes the keyboard much more useful in every application.]
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Reduce excess 'Tabbing' in Mail
Authored by: @man on Mar 15, '07 07:47:49AM

i like to switch between the two myself (depending on the amount of links on a page and my mouse-dependency level of the day), so i just learned the keyboard shortcut to turn it on and off - ctrl+F7.

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Reduce excess 'Tabbing' in Mail
Authored by: Shunt on Mar 15, '07 09:22:20AM

Just try Shift+Tab combination

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Reduce excess 'Tabbing' in Mail
Authored by: jiclark on Mar 15, '07 12:57:39PM

I believe you're shift-tab solution is not universal. In Safari, for instance, it's option-tab. I can't test it right now, but is there a chance that it's actually option-tab in most cases??

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Reduce excess 'Tabbing' in Mail
Authored by: ssevenup on Mar 15, '07 09:41:59AM

I wish Firefox would let you tab to drop downs like Camino will do.

Mark Moorcroft
Sys. Admin.

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Reduce excess 'Tabbing' in Mail
Authored by: ra5ul on Mar 15, '07 10:31:12AM
Reduce excess 'Tabbing' in Mail
Authored by: n8gray on Mar 15, '07 02:19:51PM

Hey, at least those are actual controls! Thunderbird's main view makes you tab through a bunch of non-editable text fields before you get to the message body so you can, say, use the arrow keys to scroll the text. (sigh)

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Reduce excess 'Tabbing' in Mail
Authored by: afb on Mar 16, '07 06:22:11PM
I thought I might be able to set this pref for Mail only doing defaults write AppleKeyboardUIMode 1 but it doesn't work for me. (1 is apparently the right setting for "Text boxes and lists only".) Anyone else get this?

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