Tiger and the keyboard

Apple, General

Okay, one of the coolest Tiger enhancements has to do with keyboard shortcuts. The “really smart” Human Interface people at Apple figured out some stuff that bothered me in Panther. The main one that I like is “move focus to the menu bar”. Turn on this shortcut in the “keyboard and mouse” section of System Preferences. By default it is set to Ctrl-F2, but i changed it to Cmd-F2 because it is easier to type.

First, how does it work?
Well, you type “Ctrl-F2” (Cmd-F2 in my case), and the Apple menu item has focus. Begin typing, and “type to select” matches what you typed. Way cool! Hit Enter to “drop down” a menu item, and then you can begin typing again to select a sub menu item. It took me a while to realize it is doing a “type-to-select” based on the name, and not “type the first letter to select” (which is the way it works on Windows, but the Apple way is MUCH smarter).

So, what is better about it in Tiger?
Well, in Panther, the apple menu was initially dropped down — this means, there was no way of type-to-selecting a menu on the top level. Now, I use this feature ALL THE TIME! It is a great speed improvement for touch-typists who don’t like using the mouse all that much. For example, in most apps I can type this sequence: “Cmd-F2 F ENTER O” and the “open recent” menu will be open. It is GREAT! Use it. It will save you some time.

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