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Accesskeys and Reserved Keystroke Combinations

In a non-scientific study conducted in the summer of 2002, we researched the availability of available Accesskeys which had not already been reserved by various other software technologies which might be employed by various users. The results indicated a real problem in that most ALT + __ keystroke combinations (assuming the Windows operating platform) have already been reserved by one type of application or another.

Given that at this writing there are few if any available ALT + __ keystrokes left, and conceding that built in or assigned keystroke combinations inherent in software applications should take precedence for the end user, WATS.ca continues to advocate that the ACCESSKEY element/attribute, while a good idea in principle, is fraught with so many potential problems that we have abandoned using them in the interest of true inter-operability.

While it would be presumptuous of us to declare this table "complete" it does illustrate the number of keystroke combinations which would conflict with implementation of the ACCESSKEY functionality introduced in HTML 4.0. Errors, omissions or inclusions are gratefully appreciated and will be added to this page upon receipt.

We have included Opera for reference only. We are aware that Opera doesn't use the ALT + _ keystroke to invoke accesskeys. We are also aware that this table only summarizes data on the Windows platform.

Known reserved keystroke combinations

IE 5.5/6 Firefox / NS 7 / Mozilla Opera 7 IBM HPR JAWS Classic Settings(Using IE 5.5/6) JAWS Laptop Settings (Using IE 5.5/6) Window Eyes (Using IE 5.5/6) JAWSAssist Extension for FireFox
IE 5.5/6 Firefox / NS 7 / Mozilla Opera 7 IBM HPR JAWS Classic Settings(Using IE 5.5/6) JAWS Laptop Settings (Using IE 5.5/6) Window Eyes (Using IE 5.5/6) JAWSAssist Extension for FireFox
Alt+A Favorites Favorites Favorites Favorites Favorites
Alt+B Bookmarks Bookmark Read All Options in Dialog Box Bookmarks
Alt+C Read Characters
Alt+D Address Address Dial Address Address Address Address
Alt+E Edit Edit Edit Edit Edit Edit Edit Edit
Alt+F File File File File File File File File
Alt+G Go Go Use Graphics Wizard Go
Alt+H Help Help Help Help Help Read Current Line Help Help
Alt+I Read Items
Alt+J Table Jump Read Prior Word
Alt+K Read Current Word / Spell Current Word (Key must be pressed twice within half a second for the spell function.)
Alt+L Read Links Read Next Word
Alt+M Mail Read Prior Character or Icon
Alt+N Navigate Read Windows Cursor Read Next Line
Alt+O Read Controls
Alt+P Activate JAWS Cursor
Alt+Q QA (Mozilla Only)
Alt+R Turn JAWS Cursor Restriction On or Off
Alt+S Settings Change Screen Echo
Alt+T Tools Tools Table Navigation Tools Speak the Title of the Current Window Tools Tools
Alt+U Debug (Mozilla Only)
Alt+V View View View View View Change Verbosity Level View View
Alt+W Window Window Read Words Read the Application Window Window
Alt+X
Alt+Y Read Prior Line
Alt+Z
Alt+1 Read Headings Reserved for User-defined windows Cycling Heading level 1
Alt+2 Reserved for User-defined windows Cycling Heading level 2
Alt+3 Reserved for User-defined windows Cycling Heading level 3
Alt+4 Reserved for User-defined windows Cycling Heading level 4
Alt+5 Say Sentence (Numberpad) Say Sentence (Numberpad) Reserved for User-defined windows Cycling Heading level 5
Alt+6 Reserved for User-defined windows Cycling Heading level 6
Alt+7 Reserved for User-defined windows
Alt+8 Left Mouse Click Reserved for User-defined windows
Alt+9 Right Mouse Click (Press this key twice within a second for a double mouse click.) Reserved for User-defined windows
Alt+0 Reserved for User-defined windows
Alt+ `
Alt+ - Open a child window control menu Open a child window control menu
Alt+ =
Alt+ (
Alt+ ) Screen Sensitive Help
Alt+ [
Alt+ ]
Alt+ \
Alt+ / Speak Coordinates of Active Cursor
Alt+ ; Activate PC Cursor
Alt+ :
Alt+ , Read Current Character
Alt+ . Read Next Character or Icon
Alt+ (Left Arrow) Back Back
Alt+ (Right Arrow) Forward Forward

Last Updated: January, 2005

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