Learning method

General points
Files and Folders
The Finder
Apple menu*
Scanning panel
Mouse action
Electronic mail
Keyboard shortcuts
System Preferences*
Making scanning panels I*
Making scanning panels II*

For SwitchXS users, mouse actions are difficult to manage, clicking on a certain point of the screen, is a delicate operation. This is why I want to give here some means to avoid mouse actions.

Dialogue windows : a dialogue window has two or three buttons, which are answers to a question. One of those buttons is blue, another is “Cancel”. For example, if you want to close a window that you have changed without having saved it before, once you have typed “Command W” () keyboard shortcut, a dialogue window will appear, asking you if you want to save the changes. It will have three buttons. A “Saveblue one, a “Cancelwhite, and a “Don’t savewhite. To answer Save, as the button is blue, just type Return (fourth key, fourth row of Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel). To answer Cancel, type Escape (bright green key, fifth key, last column before last row of Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel), it will have the same effect as if you had not typed “Command W” keyboard shortcut. To answer Don’t save, select the button with the Tab key (first key, second column, fourth row of Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel), it is selected when circled in blue, then type Space (first key, fourth row of Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel).

Preferences window : they have generally several sections, and in each section, popup menus, cases to tick, and fields to fill. These sections appear :

  • either on a toolbar, as Mail or Safari preferences (select the section with the Tab key, then type Space).
  • either through columns, like the Netscape preferences (select the left window with the Tab key, then select the section with up and down arrows).
  • either through bars like the System Preferences. Once you open the System Preferences application, a window appears with all sorts of sections, select one with the Tab key, and then type Space to be in the selected section. Then in the new window, you have a bar with several other sections, and the section in which you are is blue. To change section, select the bar (selected, it is circled in blue) with the Tab key, then select the section with right and left arrows.
  • either through a popup menu, like the SwitchXS preferences.

A popup menu is a bar that has most often a blue square on the right end. When clicking that bar, a list appears, then after having clicked a title on that list, the list disappears and the title is on the bar. You often do not need the mouse for those two operations. With the Tab key, select the popup menu (when selected, it will be circled in blue), then with up and down arrows (last two keys of the sixth row, in the Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel), select the title, after type Space, and the list disappears with the right title on the popup menu. 

Note : sometimes, after having selected the popup menu with the Tab key, typing up or down arrow does nothing ; you must click the popup menu so that the list appears, then do as explained above. If the mouse cursor is on the popup menu, you have to do things quickly, for the selected title will rapidly come back where the mouse cursor is. To avoid that problem, you should click the blue square, at the right end of the popup menu.

To tick a case on or off, select it with the Tab key (when selected, it will be circled in blue), then type Space. If you cannot select the case with the Tab key (which is very rare), no need to click exactly on the case, it will have the same effect anywhere on the title after the case.  

To fill a text field, select it with the Tab key (when selected, it will be circled in blue and at the beginning of the field there will be a winking vertical bar), then type what has to be written. If something is already written, generally it is shaded when selected with the Tab key, otherwise shade it by typing “Command A” () keyboard shortcut, and type on what is written and shaded, it is not necessary to rub it first.

In a text, instead of using the mouse to move in a text or to select a part, you can use the following keyboard shortcuts :

Pass to above line
Pass to lower line
Pass to left letter
Pass to right letter
Select above line
Select lower line
Select left letter
Select right letter
Pass to beginning of text
Pass to end of text
Pass to beginning of line
Pass to end of line
Pass to previous paragraph
Pass to next paragraph
Pass to previous word
Pass to next word
Activate/disable bold characters
Activate/disable italic characters
Activate/disablthe underlining
Bigger characters
Smaller characters
Erase last word

Other useful keyboard shortcuts :

Pass to previous application
Pass to next application
Pass to previous window in same application
Pass to next window in same application
Pass to previous window in any application
Activate floating window
Activate status menu
Select Finder icon in dock

Activate status menu, which is the menu top right of the screen (then you scan the menu with the right arrow, and select inside a menu with up or down arrows, and when selected, type Space or Return) : Control F8

Moving in the Dock : typing “Control F3” (last key, fourth column, before last row of Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel) selects the Finder icon, very left, in the Dock ; then with right or left arrows, you scan the Dock, switch to stop scanning when you are on the right icon, and type Return to open the icon’s application or file.

Force quit : one of the great advantages of Mac OS X operating system, is the possibility to force a blocked application to quit, without restarting your computer. Then you reload it, saving time, and SwitchXS users can do this operation on their own, whereas pressing the restart button is impossible for them. Choose “Force Quit” in the Apple menu, or type “Option Command Escape” () keyboard shortcut (last key, before last row of Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel), a window appears with the list of all open applications, select the blocked one with up or down arrows, then type Return twice. The application quits and you can reload it. To close the “Force quit” window, select it by typing “Option Command Escape” () keyboard shortcut again, and then “Command W” ().

Character Palette : it is very useful to have a special character palette at hand, that should be in the flag menu, top right of the screen. To put it in that flag menu, go to :

System Preferences / International / Input Menu

and tick the “Character Palette” case. To make the character palette window appear, type “Control F8” keyboard shortcut, then select the flag with the right arrow, and then Character Palette with down arrow, type Space or Return and the Character Palette window appears ; to hide it, do the same operation. You can make that Character Palette window appear/hide by typing “Option Command T” () keyboard shortcut, but on my computer, it does not hide the window.

In the character palette window, you have possibility to put all characters you use in the “Favourites”, by drag and drop, which saves precious time. To put a character where the text cursor is, double click it.

“Drag and Drop” or “Copy and Paste” ? With hands, the Drag and Drop operation to transfer a file or folder, from a folder to another folder in the Finder, is very simple and very fast; but for SwitchXS users, it is not at all simple. This is why I prefer Copy and Paste, selecting the file or folder to transfer, typing “Command C” () or “Command X” () keyboard shortcut (which copies and moves to trash, all in the same operation), then selecting the new folder, and typing “Command V” () keyboard shortcut to put it in the new folder.

Shade a word : can be done by double clicking on word. 

Compression : it is often useful to compress a file, either to send it by Mail (you cannot send files of more than 10MB), either to keep it on an external disc. Point the mouse cursor on the file’s name, type “Control Click” (last key, first row of Keyboard and Mouse bis scanning panel), a local menu appears, select “Create Archive of …“ and type Space or Return. A new file appears with extension “.zip”. A compressed file can have it’s weight divided by three. To decompress a file, just open it.