Pages 2: Find/Replace dialog box loses focus

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Pages
March 14th, 2006 • 11:37 am

The Find/Replace dialog box in Pages suffers from some rather irritating quirks. Consider, for example, what happens when you search for a string of text that does not exist in your Pages document.

Here’s the dialog box when you bring it up and type the search string in:

Focus in Find dialog

As you can see with the blue halo, the focus is quite clearly on the “Find:” field here.

Then consider what happens once you press Return to start the search. If the string does not exist in your Pages document (or indeed, even if it does exist), here’s what the dialog box looks like after starting the search:

Focus in Find dialog after starting search

Where’s the blue halo? It’s gone. What’s the focus on now? God only knows. You can still press the Return key as a shortcut for the “Next” button, of course, but there is little point if the text string does not exist in your Pages document.

If the text string does not exist in your document, the next thing you’ll want to do is edit that text string and change it to something that might be found in the document. But you cannot edit the text string if the focus is not on the “Find:” field!

What you have to do here is bring the focus back on the “Find:” field and, in order to do that, you need to either use the mouse or press Tab repeatedly until the focus is back on the field.

Why did the “Find:” field lose its focus in the first place? I have no idea. I fail to see what point there would be in putting the focus on anything else—or, indeed, as is the case here, in putting the focus on nothing instead.

If you press Tab repeatedly to cycle through all available controls—with Full Keyboard Access on, you can tab through all the buttons, etc.—you will notice that there is indeed one step in the cycle where the focus (blue halo) disappears altogether and does not seem to be on anything in particular. In that situation, pressing any key other than the Return key (which bypasses the focus cycle and goes directly to the default button anyway) or the Escape key (another keyboard shortcut that always works even when no focus is apparent) will result in a system beep. Very useful indeed.

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