Dialog box navigation via keyboard

When a Windows application asks you a question, such as how many pages to print, it does so via a dialog box, which is a window that pops up and has an OK button and a Cancel button and one or more fields.

You can use the keyboard to handle dialog boxes and not bother with the mouse for 99% of dialog box tasks.

  • The Esc key is always the same as clicking on Cancel — it gets rid of the dialog box without taking any action.
  • The Enter key is the same as clicking on the default button. The default button has a thicker border around it than any other button. Usually the default button is the OK button, so pressing Enter is usually the same thing as clicking Ok.
  • Use the Tab key to move from field to field. (Or press Shift+Tab to move back a field.)
  • Press Alt plus the underlined letter from the field name to jump to a particular field.
  • Pressing Spacebar while on a highlighted field that’s a checkbox will check or uncheck that field.
  • If the dialog box has more than one tab (with different questions on each tab), usually pressing Ctrl+Tab will change tabs.

One thought on “Dialog box navigation via keyboard”

  1. I try to make a system restore in HP laptop/window 10 operating system without mouse.
    Everything is fine until I get the dialog box and need to select the date, but is IMPOSSIBLE to get in. I try all keyboard combination but nothing worked out to get inside onto the dialog box to select the wanted restore point date!

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