How To Make Tab Work for Drop-down Controls in Firefox on OS X

Do not find yourself alone if the tab function in the OS X is making you go nuts. Many Mac adopters of late are facing this problem. The tab key is a great shortcut to shift the control on the screen at a particular text box or button and even for the list items.

However, if the same is used in the Firefox browser you will notice that the tab key acts naughty and does not function exactly the way you want it to. Actually, it avoids some controls when used with Firefox. The drop-down menu is one such example. In this case, you will want Firefox to function the same on your OS X, but it hardly will. But interestingly, you should find no difficulty if you are using Firefox on a windows platform.

There is a Solution with Apple

However, Apple has made sure that the users will not face similar problems anymore. In fact, Apple has developed it as a system preference. You can use the following steps.

Open “System Preferences”. Now choose “Keyboard & Mouse”. Here, you will see four more options, namely “Keyboard”, “Mouse”, “Bluetooth” and “Keyboard Shortcuts”.

Note that there is a difference between “Keyboard” and “Keyboard Shortcuts”. You have to navigate to “Keyboard Shortcuts”.

keyboard shortcuts

 At the bottom of the page, you should see the category that reads “Full Keyboard Access”. There are two options under it – “Text boxes and lists only” – which is selected by default and “All controls”. Select “All controls” and save the changes. Now whenever you use the tab key, the focus will also set on the drop-down menus.

Using the Keyboard

There is a shortcut to the steps mentioned above. You can use the Ctrl+F7 shortcut key combination to execute the same steps as above. There is no need to open the system preferences in any way. Use the same combination again to toggle back and forth.

If you have to set the keyboard focus on the address bar in the Internet Explorer, you can just press the F4 key. The same works for the windows and Windows Explorer in Windows as well. The drop-down menu – the address bar opens up instantly.

Benefits of Using the Tab Key

The tab key allows you to save your time to a great extent. Just tapping the key shifts focus from one control to another. The focus even sets on hyperlinks as well. So you can virtually click a link with only the use of the tab key and the keyboard. It will give you a new toggling experiencing and you will find that it is extremely user-friendly.

Having the drop-down tabs in browsers, make selection process quite easier. Just with the tab key, you can navigate to the desired item in the list. At the same time, you can also use the tab to run through the items in the list faster. You can skip through the items on a form as if they do not exist at all – it’s a great time saver.



Rekha Samavedula