16 April 2008

No Tab Key With GMail in Firefox!

Have you ever gotten so used to certain key bindings that when they're suddenly not working you can't hardly contain your frustration? I just experienced this and thought that it might help someone else so I'm posting this info.

I spend a lot of time using GMail with Firefox. So much so, that I have gotten really used to all the key bindings for GMail, especially those from Better GMail 2 (if you haven't checked this out yet you should do it NOW!). Well today I just upgraded to a newer MacBook Pro so I had to install much of the software I use. Firefox and all of the plugins I use was on the list. After installing this and starting to use GMail, I could no longer use the tab key to get to the send button when composing a message. Hitting the tab key would just pop to the top of the page and place the cursor on the browser command line. After a few minutes of Googling and finding nothing, I remembered Better GMail 2.

After actually going into the Better GMail 2 prefs and selecting the options I like, I again had the functionality I expected from the tab key. Phew, I'm again sane.

WARNING - Adult Humor
BTW, upon searching Google Images for the Firefox logo for this post, I discovered a new Firefox logo. Click on the link above to see the search results.


  1. Hi Bruce,

    I'm facing the same dilemma you describe above: I can't tab to the Send button in Gmail (FFox 2 on MacBook running 10.5). It's driving me bonkers.

    I'm using Better Gmail 2 as you are, but I don't see any options there to fix this.

    Any chance you can add more detail for how you were able to get this working in your setup???

    Much obliged.


  2. Unfortunately I can't remember which one brought back the use of the tab key. If my memory serves me, it was some of the prefs I used in the General and Messgaes tab of the Better GMail 2 prefs.

    The other thing to look for are other Firefox extensions that might be conflicting with Better GMail 2. I don't know of any, but it might be worth only installing Better GMail 2, getting it to work and then installing your other extensions one-by-one.

  3. You can retrieve the tabbing function in Firefox gmail in Mac OS X Preferences. Specifically, System Preferences --> Keyboard & Mouse --> click on "All controls" button at the bottom.

  4. On reflection, I realize my comment earlier today about setting System Preferences to retrieve the tabbing function in Firefox was a bit terse. The buttons in the Keyboard & Mouse pane labelled "Text boxes and lists only" and "All controls" determine where the tab goes next. This will affect tabbing in all programs. The suggestion works for Leopard -- I am not familiar with earlier versions of OS X.

  5. Yes, yes, yes! That was it. Many thanks yous.

    Although, just to clarify for others possibly facing the same issue:

    1. Open Keyboard & Mouse prefs from System Preferences.
    2. Choose Keyboard Shortcuts pane/tab.
    3. At bottom of pane, change Full keyboard access to All controls.