Mac OS X is full of great accessibility features to help those with differing abilities access their Macintosh, whether they have visual, hearing, or motor challenges. One feature, Full Keyboard Access, is set for those who can’t use the mouse reliably. You can use it, too, if you just want to keep your hands on the keyboard, focused on the task at hand.
Here’s how to activate it and make it work for you.
First of all, to toggle the Full Keyboard Access, hit Control-F1 on your keyboard. You may need to also hit the Fn key if you have your function keys set up to use the Mac controls for brightness and media.
Once Full Keyboard Access is toggled on, you can then hit Control-F2 to move the focus to the menu bar. You’ll see the Apple menu highlight with blue, letting you know it’s now accessible via keyboard. Use the arrow keys from there to move right, left, up, or down. Once you move the highlight to the menu item you want to select, simply hit the Return key.
To use the keyboard to access the Dock, hit Control-F3, and you can use the arrow keys again to move left and right. The Finder icon will darken first when you do so, and when you hit the right or left arrow key, the selected Dock icon will darken to let you know it’s selected. To activate the selected icon, hit the Return key.
To navigate between open windows in all apps, simply hit Control-F4 to move the focus to the active or next widnow. Hit Shift-Control-F4 to move to the previously selected window.
Now you can move around your Mac a bit better using only your keyboard, and ignore the mouse altogether.