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How to navigate a web page using the keyboard in macOS

How to navigate a web page using the keyboard in macOS

Terminology:

β€˜Alt’ refers to the β€˜Option’ key ( βŒ₯ )

β€˜Tabbing’ round a web page using the keyboard

The keys used to move around the elements on a web page depend on the browser you are using.

To go to the next link or element:
Safari:  press β€˜Tab’ + β€˜Alt’
Chrome:  press β€˜Tab’
Firefox: press β€˜Tab’

To go to the previous link or element:
Safari: press β€˜Tab’ + β€˜Alt’ + β€˜Shift’
Chrome: press β€˜Tab’ + β€˜Shift’
Firefox:  press β€˜Tab’ + β€˜Shift’

Press the above combinations repeatedly to get to the chosen link. The currently selected element is indicated with a blue highlight in Safari and Chrome and a dotted outline in Firefox, Fig 1.

Fig 1 - Website navigation links example
Fig 1

Once the element you need is selected, you can trigger it by pressing the β€˜Enter’ key on your keyboard.

Filling in forms with the keyboard

In web forms there are specific keys for selecting radio buttons and checkboxes.

Radio buttons

When you β€˜Tab’ into a form section that has a choice of radio buttons you can change your choice using the β€˜up’ and β€˜down’ arrow keys or the β€˜right’ and β€˜left’ arrows keys to select the next/previous radio button.  After making your selection press β€˜Tab’ to move to the next section in the form.

Fig 2 - Radio Buttons example
Fig 2

Note: if you hit the β€˜Enter’ key by mistake the form is often β€˜submitted’ before you want it to be because the β€˜Enter’ key is set to trigger the form submit button.

Checkboxes

You navigate between checkboxes using the β€˜Tab’ key.

To select a checkbox:  press β€˜Spacebar’. A β€˜tick’ or β€˜cross’ will appear.

To cancel or deselect a β€˜checkbox’:  press β€˜Spacebar’ again. The β€˜tick’ or β€˜cross’ will be removed. Fig 3.

Press β€˜Tab’ to move on to the next β€˜checkbox’ or form section.

Fig 3 - Checkbox example
Fig 3

Drop-down menus

Many websites use drop-down menus for selecting items from a list in a form or as β€˜quick links’ to other sections of the website. Fig 4

Fig 4 - Drop-down menu example
Fig 4

Press β€˜Tab’ until the drop-down menu is highlighted.

Press β€˜Spacebar’ to activate the menu or press β€˜Alt’ and the β€˜down’ arrow,

Use the β€˜up’ and β€˜down’ arrows to select an item from the list and press β€˜Spacebar’ to select it, Fig 5.

Fig 5 - Drop-down menu activated example
Fig 5

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