Work around for accessibility issue with FireFox 1.5 and OS X- tab focus

Upgrading to FireFox 1.5 was a great pleasure but for one problem. FF 1.5 dropped the user preference (accessibility.tabfocus) that enabled tab key access to form elements. Without this preference OS X users can not use the the tab key to shift the focus to check boxes, radio button, pull down menus or buttons. This really slowed me down. When I am filling out a form I like to keep my hands on the keyboard. Reaching for the mouse slows me down and frustrates me. But with the help of a few FF devotes I have learned a work around.

Create a text file named user.js in

~/Library/Application Support/FireFox/Profiles/xxxxxxxx.default

Add the following line to the text user.js:

user_pref(“accessibility.tabfocus”, 7);

There are several values available for the preference:

  • 1- Give focus to text fields only. (The default in OS X.)
  • 2- Give focus to all form elements except text fields.
  • 4- Give focus to links (and linked images) only.

Values can be combine to enable multiple behaviors

  • 7 = 1 + 2 + 4 Allows the tab key to shift focus to text fields, all form elements and links
  • 3 = 1 + 2 Allows the tab key to shift focus to any form element. This is my preference.

More information can be found in the wiki.