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I recently asked a question: How to navigate the Special Characters window with the keyboard?

However, it seems to me that OSX has a class of dialog boxes that seem to be inaccessible to keyboard activation.

  • Finder - View Options
  • TextEdit - Fonts
  • TextEdit - Special Characters
  • OmniFocus - Inspector

I.e., there will be a shortcut key to show the dialog box, but in order to interact with the dialog box you need to use the mouse or trackpad. I.e., Control + backtick does not activate them. I note that this is not the case with all such dialog boxes. E.g., most preference dialog boxes, the info dialog box in Finder, etc. permit keyboard activation.

  • Does this class of dialog boxes have a special name?
  • What do people who prefer to use the keyboard almost exclusively do with such dialog boxes?
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I can’t remember what they are called, but I do know that they never take keyboard focus and thus have a light grey title bar. – duci9y Nov 15 '12 at 7:58

I did a little bit of searching and found this page on OSX accessibility.

They might be called "Utility Windows".

  • Control + F6 Moves focus to the first (or next) utility window
  • Control + Shift + F6 Moves focus to the first (or previous) utility window

Once inside, Tab and Shift tab can be used to navigate.

Interestingly, these shortcut keys worked with the following dialog boxes

  • Finder - View Options
  • TextEdit - Fonts

But did not work with these

  • TextEdit - Special Characters
  • OmniFocus - Inspector
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