In macOS dialog menus, two buttons are usually already in focus: one will probably be encircled in blue and is invoked by hitting Space, the other will be filled in blue and can be invoked by pressing ↵.

Sometimes, there's only one button in focus (like in the following image) or there are simply more buttons than the two already in (either kind of) focus.


In either of those cases, is there any way to quickly set focus on the unfocused buttons?

P. S. - I was considering settings this: figure2 To All controls, but that's too much of compromise in dialogs where I actually need quickly to move between boxes and modify their contents.


1 Answer 1


There is a set of default keyboard shortcuts that should serve the need of interacting with the default file save sheets:

  • Press Enter key to Save.
  • Press esc to Cancel.
  • Press Command + Backspace key combination to Delete or Delete Copy, Don't Save, etc.
  • @Nimesh Thanks for your edit, but in my opinion enabling Full Keyboard Access is not the preferred approach, as this means you have to spend time tabbing between the buttons and manually interacting with them. I much prefer the shortcuts to directly press the buttons. Feel free to leave an answer yourself regarding your opinion on Full Keyboard Access, however I will be editing this back out of my answer since it doesn't represent my view, thanks
    – grg
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 7:32
  • I don't see how All controls cannot be the preferred navigation method. Take a look at the default macOS printing dialog, for example. With All controls turned off, you can't set focus to checkboxes (among many others) like Black & White or Two-Sided in order to quickly tick or untick them with Space.
    – voronoi
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 9:07
  • @voronoi It's not the preferred option for interacting with the Cancel/Save buttons, but is the preferred option if you wish to regularly interact with the rest of the sheet with the keyboard. It's personal preference, and personally I do have All controls enabled, but when it comes to this specific question regarding pressing the Don't Save/Cancel/Save buttons with the keyboard, enabling All controls is excessive.
    – grg
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 9:10
  • I see, thanks. What could be done for dialogs with options other than the default "Don't Save/Cancel/Save"? For example, Photoshop has "Discard" button, which isn't invoked by CMD+⌫.
    – voronoi
    Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 9:06
  • 1
    @voronoi Does ⌘D work for Don't Save? Esc should cancel and Enter would Save. ⌘D is the old shortcut macOS used to use before ⌘⌫, and it's possible that Photoshop has programmed that dialog manually, since it doesn't look like the standard macOS document-based dialog.
    – grg
    Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 9:40

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