I have Use keyboard navigation to move focus between controls selected in System Preferences, so but the tab key isn't working to select different controls (such as drop-down menus and checkboxes) in application dialog boxes. For example, I tried the Preview Preferences dialog box.

I have tried multiple different applications, and I do not to my knowledge have any additional software running that would be intercepting the tab key press.

Is this a problem that is local to my computer, or am I missing something important?

MacBook Pro running macOS Catalina 10.15.2

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  • Does anyone else running Catalina have the same issue? Jan 31, 2020 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


The only solution I've discovered seems to be using fn+ctrl+F7 to toggle dialog navigation on/off. It might reset after restarting the computer, but it seems to enable navigation in all applications.

  • 1
    This is yet another example of a completely baffling macOS "feature" that is frustratingly obscure. Thanks for the suggestion. Jun 15, 2020 at 15:09

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