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Use the keyboard to select web page drop-down menus Internet
One feature I like from Internet Explorer for Windows is that web forms are fully-accessable via the keyboard. For a long time, Safari and other Mac web browsers didn't let you select drop-down menus while navigating through a form by pressing the Tab key, so we had to resort to using the mouse for those, which I found fairly annoying. I'm not sure when this changed, but I've been keyboard-navigating through web forms in Safari for months now!

If you Tab through a web form (such as the one on the hint submission page) with Safari or another WebKit-enabled browser, and then hit the down-arrow key when the drop-down menu highlights, you can select all the options, and even jump to a selection by typing out the first few letters of what you want!

kirkmc adds: I couldn't find anything in the archives about this, though I have a feeling it has probably been hinted before. Note that you can also use the spacebar to select drop-down menus; press the spacebar to display the menu, use the up- or down-arrow keys to move around, then press Enter to confirm your selection.
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Use the keyboard to select web page drop-down menus | 11 comments | Create New Account
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Use the keyboard to select web page drop-down menus
Authored by: chabig on Apr 27, '07 07:57:55AM

Apple does it much better than Microsoft. On the Mac, for example, if I want to select my state of residence from a popup menu, I just type "C" and "O" to select Colorado. In Windows, the "C" takes me to California and the "O" takes me to Ohio. It's so frustrating...



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Use the keyboard to select web page drop-down menus
Authored by: osxfan57 on Apr 27, '07 08:36:47AM

Is there some setting in System Preferences I have to change to enable this? I find exactly the opposite when using Safari and it's maddening. Thanks.

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G5 2.5GHz 1.5Gb RAM, OS 10.4.8



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Yes, there's a setting
Authored by: bendala on Apr 27, '07 08:45:48AM

There's a system-wide setting. Go to System Preferences->Keyboard and mouse->Keyboard shortcuts panel and select "All the controls", or press control+F7. In addition, you'll see a lot a useful shortcuts, and you can define your own.



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Yes, there's a setting
Authored by: barefootguru on Apr 27, '07 01:58:29PM

I've got full keyboard access set to text boxes and lists only (not all controls) and it really bugs me that Safari doesn't respect this setting. If I wanted to use the keyboard to navigate I'd turn the option on. I want tab to take me through text input fields, not other controls.



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Use the keyboard to select web page drop-down menus
Authored by: Twist on Apr 27, '07 10:24:06AM

I know that this has worked for a while because I have been using 100% Firefox for quite a while now and this is one of the things I miss the most from Safari (along with fast application launches and much better font rendering).



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Works in FireFox too!
Authored by: dzurn on Apr 27, '07 12:50:33PM
I know that this has worked for a while because I have been using 100% Firefox for quite a while now and this is one of the things I miss the most from Safari ...

Uhh, it works in Firefox too. At least in the 2.0.0.3 BonEcho G5-optimized build I'm running, available at www.beatnikpad.com/firefox. You can tab to a drop-down menu, and fully navigate it with the keyboard.

You can also hit Option-Uparrow or Option-Downarrow, and the whole menu opens up. Home, End, Page up and Page Down all work as expected too. Give it another try.

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Madness takes its toll.
Please have exact change.

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Use the keyboard to select web page drop-down menus
Authored by: PCheese on Apr 27, '07 11:41:44AM

To clarify:

When highlighted, all popup menus in the system can be navigated using the up and down arrow keys (or by using the space bar to pop them open). Once open, you may start typing the name of the menu item to jump to it. You may also start typing the name of an item to jump to it without first popping open the menu, but there is a 2 second delay before the change registers (which is strange because the change WILL register regardless of what you do next, even tabbing away or closing the containing window).

(You may need to press control-F7 (System Preferences, Keyboard & Mouse, Keyboard Shortcuts) before you can tab to popup menus.)

In the latest nightly build of WebKit, there is no 2 second delay when typing to select an item without first opening the popup menu.

However, there is a bit of a problem: currently, typing without popping open the menu first does not fire the selection changed event. But should it really? If you're typing "C o" for Colorado, you wouldn't want it to fire as it hits California on the way there. It's one of the things that drive me crazy about Windows browsers: when the focus is on a popup menu on a webpage and you attempt to scroll, it spins through all the items in the popup menu. For menus that automatically perform an action when the selection is changed, an event fires for every menu item you end up scrolling past, often sending you off to some random page when all you wanted to do was keep reading the current one. Perhaps the event should fire when the focus changes away from the popup menu?



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Re: Use the keyboard to select web page drop-down menus
Authored by: Uncle Asad on Apr 27, '07 12:13:51PM

This also works out-of-the-box in Camino (except spacebar to drop down the menu, which is a filed bug), no messing with System Preferences required.



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Use the keyboard to select web page drop-down menus
Authored by: JKT on Apr 27, '07 02:47:52PM

Welcome to 2004. This has been possible in any OS X application since 10.3 and Full Keyboard Access were first introduced, not just Safari and certainly not just recently.

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PB G4, 1.5 GHz, 1.5GB RAM, 128MB VRAM, 80 GB 5400rpm HD, SuperDrive, MacOS X 10.4.9

Visit www.thelandgallery.com for nature-inspired British Art



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Use the keyboard to select web page drop-down menus
Authored by: sjmills on Apr 27, '07 09:02:53PM

Gah. They're called popup menus. Dropdown menus are menus in the menubar. I expect with the number of Windows->Mac switchers that most of them are used to calling both of them dropdown, but what's with the seemingly recent influx of Mac media getting it wrong? Even some Macworld writer got it wrong recently.



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Use the keyboard to select web page drop-down menus
Authored by: JadeNB on Apr 29, '07 09:38:29PM
Firefox can be set to behave this way, too. As discussed at a Wiki article on about:config settings, setting the accessibility.tabfocus option in about:config to 7 makes tab jump to every page element (not skipping menus).

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