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Problems tabbing through checkboxes and radios in MacOSX Safari

Posted by at 1:45pm on October 21, 2008.

Many people find it easier to use the tab key to cycle through the various fields of a form in a web page. This is a well supported and adopted behaviour – yet if you are using a browser in MacOSX, you will find that you cannot use the tab key to access checkboxes or radio buttons… instead you have to use the mouse/trackpad.

The solution is rather trivial – and also very simple to achieve.

Open the System Preferences application and choose Keyboard & Mouse then change the Keyboard Shortcuts option to “All controls” (this can also be toggled using Control-Function-F7 if you are so inclined).

You can now use the tab key to cycle through checkboxes (use the spacebar to select a checkbox when you have cycled to it) and radio buttons (you can use up/down or left/right arrow keys to toggle a radio button when the group is in focus).

A similar option is available in Safari (MacOSX as well as Windows) in the Preferences menu option (within the Edit menu). Select the Advanced tab and select “Press Tab to highlight each item on a webpage”. When enabled, this option allows you to cycle through all elements that can receive focus using option+tab (this includes standard links on the page as well).

I’d like to credit this “discovery” to Brad Jasper and Dylan Ryan at MacTips: Tips & Tricks – but the post is no longer available. Thanks for the heads-up guys!

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