macOS has an accessibility feature called Full Keyboard Access, and it lets you use your keyboard to interact with things on the screen. You use the Tab key and arrow keys in order to navigate, and the Space bar to select an item.
Full Keyboard Access
To turn on Full Keyboard Access:
- In the menu bar, click on the Apple () icon.
- Click System Preferences.
- Click Keyboard.
- Click the Shortcuts tab.
Here is where you’ll find default shortcuts for various things. You can change the shortcuts to your liking (double-click), and choose whether you want to navigate only text boxes and lists, or all controls on the screen.
Apple has a full list of commands on its Full Keyboard Access webpage. Here are a few:
|Switch between navigation of all controls on the screen, or only text boxes and lists||Control-F7|
|Move to the next control||Tab|
|Move to the previous control||Shift-Tab|
|Move to the next control when a text field is selected||Control-Tab|
|Move the focus to the previous grouping of controls||Control-Shift-Tab|
|Move to the adjacent item in a list, tab group, or menu
Move sliders and adjusters (Up Arrow to increase values, Down Arrow to decrease values)
|Move to a control adjacent to the text field||Control–Arrow keys|
|Choose the selected menu item||Space bar|
|Click the default button or perform the default action||Return or Enter|
Once you’ve gotten some shortcuts memorized, it should actually be quicker than using a trackpad or mouse. Power users often make use of the keyboard more, and this goes back to the days when computers had a console interface without a graphical user interface.