If you read my Mac 911 column you know that under Panther, by default, pressing Control-F2 on a desktop Mac’s keyboard (or FN-Control-F2 on a Mac laptop’s keyboard) allows you to move through the Mac’s menus via keyboard control. (You can change these key commands in the Keyboard Shortcuts area of the Keyboard & Mouse system preference). What you may not know is that there are a couple of other interesting ways to navigate those menus.
For example, if you’ve invoked a menu with the mouse, you’re welcome to move through those menus with the arrow keys. Pressing Arrow Down moves you to the next active command, Arrow Up is the previous active command, Command-Arrow Up (or Page Up or Home) takes you to the first command of the menu, and Command-Arrow Down (or Page Down or End) takes you to the last active command in the menu. If a highlighted menu item has a submenu, pressing Right Arrow activates that submenu. If the higlighted item has no submenu, pressing Right Arrow moves you one menu to the right and pressing Left Arrow moves you to the left. Tab also moves you one menu to the right and Shift-Tab moves you one menu to the left.
If the cursor in the foremost application isn’t in an active text field, activating a menu and typing a letter highlights the first item in the menu that begins with that letter. To zero in on a command when two or more commands begin with the same letter, type more of that command’s name. For example, in the Finder type S – P to highlight the Special Characters command in the Edit menu.
Pressing Enter or Return activates the selected command.