August 21st, 2007 • 1:56 pm
A while back, I wrote that one annoyance in Pages 2.0 was that option-Tab couldn’t be used as a shortcut to insert a tab character when editing text.
Traditionally, in word processors (i.e. in Microsoft Word), option-Tab is used as a shortcut to insert a tab character when the Tab key itself is not available for this purpose. This typically happens when editing text inside table cells. When the cursor is in a table cell, by the default the Tab key is used to jump to the next cell, not to insert a tab character. If you want to insert a tab character inside a table cell, you need to use option-Tab.
The use of option-Tab to insert a tab character in this context (a table cell) works fine both in Microsoft Word and Pages.
However, in previous versions of Pages, when you pressed option-Tab outside a table cell (i.e. when the insertion point was just in regular body text), you would just get a system beep.
This was annoying, because you often need to insert a tab character after a bullet character, and many bullet characters involve a shortcut that includes the Option key. So when you are typing fast, it’s easy to accidentally press option-Tab instead of just Tab immediately after inserting a bullet character with a keyboard shortcut involving the Option key. (Your finger does release the Option key quickly enough.)
And besides, the option-Tab is not used for anything else in the context outside table cells, so there was no reason to prevent it from being used as an alternative for entering a tab character outside table cells, as Pages 2.0. (Microsoft Word has long supported this.)
Well, I am glad to report that this is fixed in Pages ’08. Now option-Tab inserts a tab character whether you are inside or outside a table cell.
It’s a small victory, but it’s a victory nonetheless :). (I obviously don’t have any idea if my own bug report played a part in Apple’s decision to fix the problem in Pages ’08, but I can confirm that I did file a bug report at the same time I posted my original blog item.)