How To Get Your Mac To Tab To Every Field In Web Forms [OS X Tips]

All Controls

I know it’s probably a tiny thing, but man, do I hate having to click on the web form fields to fill in stuff in a drop down menu, like those State choosers, or Date choosers.

There I am, tabbing along from form field to form field, blithely filling in the data being requested (Name, Address, Phone Number, etc.), when it’s time to hit the State form. The input skips it, every time! I have to take my hands from the keyboard, drop them to the trackpad, or (even worse) the mouse, and click on the dang thing.

There’s got to be a better way.

You can enable this better way with a quick trip to the System Preferences app. Launch it with a click in the Dock, or via the Apple Menu, or with an app launcher like Alfred.

Then, click on the Keyboard icon, and then on the Shortcuts button at the top. Ignore everything in the upper region of this window, and look to the bottom. You’ll see two options: Text boxes and lists only, and All controls.

Click on All controls to force your Mac to go to all those little fields that aren’t text boxes or list items. You can even use the keyboard to change this option: Press Control-F7 to change the setting itself (you’ll need to also hit the Fn key if you’re on a Macbook).

Now you can tab to the state field along with the rest of your web form, happy in the knowledge that you never have to click one of these suckers ever again.

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  • Gregory Wright

    Do you know if this functionality has an impact on battery life? I’m figuring there is a reason the All Controls box was not set by default. I have a Mid-2012 rMBP. Increasingly, my battery time is declining even though it is showing 91% health. It seems the more one use the conveniences of a Mac the trade off is battery life.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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