Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've been on a bit of a Keyboard-only kick lately, enabled chiefly due to the Chrome Keyboard Shortcut Extension, and I've begun bumping into a few difficult situations in everyday Desktop App use.

In applications like iTunes, or Code Editors, they have a unified sidebar with categorically organized content. iTunes has categories for your library, other people's libraries, your device, and playlists, Coda has a file picker, etc. But what is the easiest way to move keyboard focus to these sidebars? My current solution is to alternate Tab and aimlessly until I see an item on the sidebar highlighted. Needless to say this is frustrating and can lead to unintended changes being made in content panes.

I notice that most all apps have a function to hide the sidebar in the app menus, but restoring it doesn't move the focus to the sidebar.

I've looked at the Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcut Question but didn't find what I was looking for. Is there some kind of a global shortcut that will move focus between different interface elements, easily? Reliably?

share|improve this question
    
Just keyboard or track/touch pad based ones too ? –  garikapati Dec 29 '10 at 20:36
1  
Just keyboard. This is a desktop question, not an iOS question. With a mouse, I can just click in the sidebar. The point is to avoid the mouse. –  Jason Salaz Dec 29 '10 at 20:41
    
Nice extension! –  Martín Marconcini Dec 30 '10 at 21:01
    
Something tells me that this feature doesn't exist, and that's sad. If I'm particularly motivated enough, I may write this up at rdar://. I'm going to accept the only answer I got, because it, well, actually tried to solve the issue! :). –  Jason Salaz Feb 4 '11 at 22:28
    
Thx :-) Let us know when you got something working. –  Jeroen Wiert Pluimers Feb 5 '11 at 13:58
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Thinking outside the box:

If the only reason you want the keyboard shortcut, is to avoid your mouse, have you considered a trackpoint keyboard?

Because I had RSI in the past, trackpoint keyboards are about the only ones I can use (even at clients, I usually bring my keyboard, or work from my laptop that has such a keyboard).

The big upside of those keyboards is that you don't have to take your hand of the keyboard in order to use the mouse.
For trackpads I still need to (somehow using my thumb is far less accurate on trackpads than using my index finger, o I still need to lift my hand for pointing).

It takes a little while to get used to a trackpoint, but I can't do without them any more.
USB trackpoint keyboards work equally well on Mac and PC.

--jeroen

share|improve this answer
    
I want a keyboard shortcut because (when implemented correctly), the keyboard is blazingly fast, and more accurate than a mouse could ever hope to be. I understand that you can't map everything back to the keyboard, but when I can, I would love to use it. Again, reference the Chrome extension I linked in my post, that extension has been a boon (except in some places on this network, imagine that). I use a MacBook Pro and find myself nudging the trackpad occasionally, but again, the mouse is imprecise (to a point) by definition. I do miss trackpoints though, always preferred those to touchpads. –  Jason Salaz Dec 30 '10 at 18:32
    
thanks for your clarification; I agree that keyboard-only is way faster than any pointing device for repetitive tasks. –  Jeroen Wiert Pluimers Dec 31 '10 at 13:15
    
See the comment on the original post, thanks for your answer. –  Jason Salaz Feb 4 '11 at 22:28
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.