Macos – OSX Keyboard Shortcuts in Dialogs

keyboard shortcutsmacos

On Windows, every dialog box includes underlined letters that you can activate using the Alt key. I use these "Alt" keyboard shortcuts all the time; I'm missing them as I'm trying to switch to OSX.

On OSX, all I can find is Tab navigation, which requires you to press Tab seven or eight times to get anywhere in most dialog boxes. (And even that is hidden by default: you have to enable "Full keyboard access" in the "Keyboard & Mouse" control panel to be able to Tab between buttons.)

Is there some way I can get something like the Windows Alt accelerators for OSX dialogs? I'm willing to write Automator code, download/purchase software, etc.

Specifically, I'm imagining maybe something where you do some shortcut command and then start typing the name of the button, and hit Enter to push the button…?

Best Answer

In OSX there's no such thing as the "_" for dialogs like in Windows. However, you have:

esc → defaults to no/cancel

cmd + deldon't save (cmd + d before OS X Lion)


spacebarclick selected button (use tab to move).

A quick Google search for "osx keyboard shortcuts" will teach you way more than you can memorize in one day, but you should; there are dozens and some are very valuable.

You can always add more/change some existing ones by going to System Preferences -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard Shortcuts, exactly where you activated "all controls".

But as far as I know, there's no "underscore" thing in OSX.