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I like using the keyboard as much as possible. In particular, I'd like to be able to activate a search, type my search term, press a key to move to the search list, and then use the arrow keys to navigate to my search result.

I can trigger a search in Finder in a number of ways:

  • commandf
  • commandoptionspace

When I search "This Mac", pressing the tab key six times enables keyboard access to the search list. When I search within a particular folder, pressing tab gets me as far as "This Mac", and then the tab key stops working.

Pressing the tab key six times is not a particularly efficient option, and it doesn't always work.

After a little exploration, I learned that if I switch Full Keyboard Access from "All controls" to "Text boxes and lists only" (in System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts), it only takes one tab keypress to activate search results. However, in general I like to have full keyboard access.

I was hoping there would be some key combination that could be used to focus on the list of files in Finder. Thus, my question is:

How can I focus on a list of found files after search in Finder using the keyboard with Full Keyboard Access set to "All controls"?

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An ideal solution would be a single key press that is relatively intuitive and consistent with other keyboard interface rules. Nonetheless, I have found a couple of hacks that seems to work.

  • Cmd+[ then Cmd+]: This navigates back then forward. After this has occurred the focus is on the file list. A mild nuisance with this option is that the search is refreshed, which can lead to a brief lag.
  • Cmd+Shift+G followed by escape: This opens the go to folder dialog box; escape exits the dialog box and returns focus on the file list.

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