8 Replies Latest reply on Apr 16, 2018 12:14 AM by seanc51

    Alt key to focus on top menu in Mac OS Photoshop?

    seanc51

      Hello!

       

      I'm a Windows Photoshop user. One thing that sometimes comes up here is the fact that the ability to access the top menu (File, Edit, etc.) by pressing the Alt key and navigate it using only keyboard shortcuts is apparently exclusive to the Windows version. How come the Mac OS version doesn't (/didn't) have that? Was it implemented within the past year or so?

        • 1. Re: Alt key to focus on top menu in Mac OS Photoshop?
          gener7 Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          There is no MacOS equivalent to this Windows function, but you can get close with this setup:

           

          Access menus via the keyboard in OS X - CNET

           

          I use Opt + Down Arrow as the shortcut.

           

          Gene

          • 2. Re: Alt key to focus on top menu in Mac OS Photoshop?
            Conrad C Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            There are some important tips that the article doesn't mention.

             

            After you press your shortcut that moves keyboard focus to the menu bar, you have more ways to open menus than just the arrow keys. You can type ahead. For example, if the Apple menu is highlighted and you want to open the Window menu, type W. That's faster than pressing the right arrow key a few times to get past the other menus.

             

            When the menu name is selected, press Return (or spacebar) to open it, then type the name of the command you want, then when it highlights, press Return to open the command. Because you can type ahead, you don't have to wait until you type the entire command; as soon as you type a unique name in the menu it highlights. A lot of times the command highlights after you press the first letter, if no other commands on that menu start with the same letter.

             

            For example, if you want to open the Trim command in Photoshop (which has no default shortcut), you would do this:

            Press: menu bar shortcut, I, Return, T, Return.

            (I prefer using spacebar instead of Return)

             

            If you want to stop keyboard menu navigation, press Esc or click the mouse.

             

            Whether the Mac way is worse or better than the Windows way might be debatable. In Windows, the Alt shortcut is not always the same as the first letter of the command, so you might have to read the menu to see what the actual Alt shortcut is. In macOS, you just start typing the command name from the first letter until it highlights.

             

            seanc51  wrote

             

            How come the Mac OS version doesn't (/didn't) have that? Was it implemented within the past year or so?

            The ability to use menus with the keyboard is not a Photoshop feature in either Windows or macOS. In both, it exists at the operating system level and works in any program in that system, not just Photoshop. On PCs it has been possible before Windows existed, because I think what Windows does was based on how you used the keyboard to navigate the menus of old MS-DOS applications.

             

            On the Mac, navigating menus with the keyboard has been possible for many years, but very few Mac users are aware it exists.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Alt key to focus on top menu in Mac OS Photoshop?
              gener7 Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              I like the Spacebar option, thanks for that!

               

              What's "best" or "worse" depends on the situation. I don't use some tools as much as others, but I'll keep them just in case I need them.

               

              Gene

              • 4. Re: Alt key to focus on top menu in Mac OS Photoshop?
                seanc51 Level 1

                So the capability is there, and the developers just didn't provide a default binding... only on the Mac version?

                • 5. Re: Alt key to focus on top menu in Mac OS Photoshop?
                  Conrad C Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  I'm not sure what you mean...gener7 and I both posted that the capability is there, in macOS, and it works in Photoshop right now, and has for years. There is no default binding necessary since it's all based on the names of the commands that are there. Unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean.

                   

                  In other words, in both Mac and Windows Photoshop, you can use the keyboard to open commands either using keyboard shortcuts (like Command-I) or using the OS capability to navigate menus with the keyboard. You can do both, on both platforms, right now.

                  • 6. Re: Alt key to focus on top menu in Mac OS Photoshop?
                    seanc51 Level 1

                    For example on the Windows version of Photoshop I can press

                    Alt -> I -> A -> C in order to get to brightness/contrast.

                     

                    In my experience, by default, pressing the Alt key on the Mac version does not put the focus on the top menu (though I have been successful in clicking the top with the mouse and using the keyboard from there). I'm specifically referring to the ability to access the top of the menu using one keyboard button press, not the ability to move around when you're already there.

                    • 7. Re: Alt key to focus on top menu in Mac OS Photoshop?
                      Conrad C Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      OK, I see. No, the Mac has never used the Option key (its equivalent of Alt) that way. And I don't know of a way to get menu bar focus with a single key; the system shortcut for moving focus to the menu bar described in the article gener7 linked to only works if you enter a key and at least one modifier (Shift, Control, Command, or Option), so that's a minimum of two keys to press, like the Option+Down Arrow combo gener7 set up.

                      • 8. Re: Alt key to focus on top menu in Mac OS Photoshop?
                        seanc51 Level 1

                        I looked at the Option key Wikipedia page. I see.
                        Two keys is still fine, so I'll just keep that in mind if I ever get a Mac.