Select some dialog options with a keypress

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As an OS X user, you’re probably aware that you can activate the buttons in most dialog boxes—such as the “Don’t Save - Cancel - Save” one that comes up when you try to close an open document with changes. There are a couple ways to use the keyboard here. First, you can try Command-D (Don’t Save), Command-C (Cancel), or Command-S (Save). Alternatively, you can use the Tab key to cycle among the three options, and press the Space Bar to activate the currently selected option. (You will have to have Full Keyboard Access enabled, in the Keyboard System Preferences panel, in order for this method to work).

But here’s a third way that saves a keystroke, though it won’t work in all (or even most) applications—leave out the command key. This works in the previously-discussed Office 2004’s dialogs, as well as in iTunes. In iTunes, if you Comamnd-Delete a selected song, you’ll see a dialog box offering three choices: Cancel, Keep Files, and Move to Trash. Press C, K, or M, and that action will be activated as soon as you press the key—so make sure you really want to move the selection to the trash before you press M!

Beyond Office 2004 and iTunes, however, you’re on your own—I’m not aware of any other apps where this works, but I know they must be out there…

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