I tried using the tab key with the modifier keys, but I didn't get Safari to write a tab character in a text field shown in an HTML page.

Is it possible to do it? If it is possible, how can I do it?

6 Answers 6


Enable the "Unicode Hex Input" input method from System Preferences > Language & Text > Input Sources and then type Option 0009.

  • Where do you enable this?
    – nohillside
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 4:27
  • System Preferences / Language & Text / Input Sources.
    – Josh Lee
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 4:44
  • 3
    Before anyone changes their main keyboard layout to Unicode Hex Input, note that option-arrows and option-delete don't work work with it by default, it is based on the U.S. keyboard layout and OS X doesn't come with versions of it for other keyboard layouts, and it removes dead keys like option-U for inserting umlauts.
    – Lri
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 10:10
  • This does not exist anymore (Mac OS 11).
    – Oscar
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 4:34

You can use control-option-tab.

In other applications you can use option-tab, but in Safari tab and option-tab are used to select elements in web views.

  • 2
    This should be the correct answer. Its Safari only though (doesn't work on Chrome in OS X). Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 1:53

Press Cmd-Alt-T to bring up "Special Characters..." in the Edit menu.

Search for "tab" and click Insert. You're looking for the one named "Character tabulation"

The website may not display it correctly,

but it will indent code.

I usually wind up typing a tab in TextEdit or Stickies and copy-and-pasting it in Safari.

  • I use TextExpander. Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 20:03
  • Honestly this is the simplest, best answer. I couldn't get the other answers to work.
    – Aaron
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 16:36

The Wikipedia article titled Control key reports the following text:

Under Mac OS X, the Control key allows the use of Emacs-style key combinations in most text entry fields. For example, Ctrl-A moves the caret to the start of the paragraph, Ctrl-L vertically centers the current line in the editing field, Ctrl-K cuts text to the end of the line to a kill ring separate from the normal clipboard, etc.

The table before that note reports that Ctrl-Q works as "Literal insert." I tried entering Ctrl-Q, Ctrl-I in Safari 5.0.4, and I get a tab in the text entry. It doesn't work on SE sites, as those combinations are used, respectively, to start a quoted text and emphasized text.

It doesn't seem to work on Safari 5.1, or Firefox 4.


Old discussion, but maybe someone will find it useful: just use Esc Tab

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