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10.5: Use Help to select menu items via keyboard System 10.5
One of the cool new features of Mac OS X Leopard is the search field in the Help menu of each application. Entering a search term in this field will pull up not only help topics related to your search, but anything that appears in the current application's menus (this includes history and bookmarks in Safari).

As you highlight each menu item in the search results (using the arrow keys), that menu item gets pulled down automatically and highlighted with a colored floating pointer. You can then hit enter to activate that menu item. When I first saw it, I wondered if there was a shortcut key for the help menu, so I didn't have to use the mouse (like hitting Command-Space to do a Spotlight search). Well, there is: Command-? (i.e. Command-Shift-/).

This shortcut key is documented in the Mac Help system (under Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts), but it is so awesome, I had to submit it.

[robg adds: You can also customize this shortcut in the Keyboard Shortcuts tab of the Keyboard & Mouse System Preferences panel. Some may dislike the floating blue arrow that highlights the menu items, but the motion really helps my eye find it in the clutter of a complex set of menus.]
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10.5: Use Help to select menu items via keyboard | 12 comments | Create New Account
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10.5: Use Help to select menu items via keyboard
Authored by: chabig on Nov 02, '07 08:20:25AM

This help feature is pretty neat! Sometimes, though, the floating pointer misses the menu item by a few spaces.



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10.5: Use Help to select menu items via keyboard
Authored by: lastfuture on Nov 02, '07 01:22:16PM

Cmd-? opens the help window for me, not the search box of the help menu. This seems to be due to my german keyboard, since Cmd-? is Cmd-Shift-ß. When I switch the layout to US it works just fine. So non-american users be prepared for it not to work (pity).



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10.5: Use Help to select menu items via keyboard
Authored by: TvE on Nov 03, '07 06:03:42AM

Then go to the Keyboard Prefence and see or change the shortcut to what ever relevant.

On a danish keyboardlayout I have to type CMD-SHIFT-7 (or if you like: CMD-/)

Even though it's a very! nice way to use the keyboard quickly get to a menu item deeply buried, it still is an alternative.

The way Windows has implmented it way ahead:

EG.:
- Hit ALT-F to get focus to the unfolded File menu
- Then hit P to get focus to the Print menu item


Yes I know that the underlined letters in the menus does not look (Apple-) pretty, but here Apples choice must (remain) look before functionality - s shame.

MS also defaults to turning of the displaying of the underlined character in the menu's until the user hits ALT.



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works with numpad slash
Authored by: zeichensprecher on Jan 18, '08 01:14:12PM

You can use CMD+SHIFT+/ ("/" on the numpad) to make this work with a german keyboard layout



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10.5: Use Help to select menu items via keyboard
Authored by: adrianm on Nov 03, '07 12:29:35AM

I discovered this by mistake in Safari, where I now use it as a keyboard shortcut to find bookmarks (as they're all on menus too).

Yes, I know spotlight can find bookmarks too, but this is a good narrowing down.

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10.5: Use Help to select menu items via keyboard
Authored by: codingismy11to7 on Nov 03, '07 12:32:19PM

Blegh - using Dvorak it also opens the application's help (Cmd-?). In system prefs the Cmd-Shift-/ shortcut for open help menu is there and selected, but apparently the non-qwerty keyboard layout confuses osx.



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May I suggest the "Dvorak Qwerty Command" option?
Authored by: Viridian on Jan 18, '08 08:25:57AM

I also use the Dvorak layout, but with the "Dvorak Qwerty Command" option selected in the "Input Menu" tab of the "International" pref pane. With this option, you press the Command key and the qwerty key of your choice. I started using this because the usual suspects (Z, X, C, V, S, F, W, Q, A etc) are all under my left hand and easily invoked one-handed. It takes a while to get used to this mixed configuration while touch-typing, but it's become far more comfortable and natural-seeming for me, as well as increasing my productivity.



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10.5: Use Help to select menu items via keyboard
Authored by: cdrx on Nov 05, '07 05:28:12AM

wow. combined with the shortcut the improved help menu might become my favourite feature in leopard. too bad photoshop and other adobe programms don't support this. those are the ones i spend most time searching through menus.



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10.5: Use Help to select menu items via keyboard
Authored by: cdrx on Nov 05, '07 05:34:03AM

oh well. should have tested the other adobe programs before posting. actually it's only photoshop that doesn't support this. still, that's one of my most used ones plus one of those that rely most heavily upon nested menus.



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10.5: Use Help to select menu items via keyboard
Authored by: cibi3d on Mar 21, '08 11:48:46AM

I enjoy very much this new feature. Today I was playing with it a bit in Xcode and I thought: what if I open my last project right now...? and almost unconsciously I start typing the first chars of my project's name... woalá! my project was highlighted in the Recent menu of Xcode!

More on, if you simply want to see last documents, type 'recent' and that's all...

Unfortunately it doesn't work with the global Recents, since it is out the application menu and the Search doesn't look up for it there.



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10.5: Use Help to select menu items via keyboard
Authored by: danlode on May 05, '08 12:13:05PM

If you use Dvorak or another keyboard layout (other than US), just go into the Keyboard shortcuts (system preferences) and look for the shortcut "Show help menu" (it is close to the top of the list). Double-click on the shortcut and change it to something else. You can also just retype the same shortcut (CMD-Shift-/) while your preferred keyboard layout is enabled. CMD-? should then work correctly bringing up the Search menu command "spotlight" field rather than the Help window. Hope that works for you. It did for me :)



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10.5: Use Help to select menu items via keyboard
Authored by: incogenator on Jun 29, '08 08:35:49AM

this is a great feature i agree but some applications dont respect the same behavior for the command-shift-? key that is the shortcut for the help search and so i am presented with an online help page loading in the browser or the application's installed help, etc. anyone know how to change this behavior so that it can be systemwide uniform?



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