Preferring the keyboard for switching between various fields in BibDesk (V1.8.15, High Sierra), I am looking for a keystroke to jump back to the main panel.

For example, after searching for a reference in the upper search field I would like to jump directly to the found references. Any ideas?


1 Answer 1


If you have Full Keyboard Access enabled in the Keyboard pane of System Preferences, and if there is an item already selected in the main table of a BibDesk window, you can simply press Tab or shift-Tab several times to move keyboard focus forward or backward between search field and main table. If you enter a search term and no item is already selected in the main table, you can press Tab several times until the main table is active, then press the up- or down-arrow key to select an item, or command-A to select all items.

If you don't like pressing Tab so many times, you can also automate the focus-switching with AppleScript. For example, here is an AppleScript that uses UI scripting to activate BibDesk's main table:

tell application "System Events" to tell process "BibDesk" to set focused of table 1 of scroll area 1 of splitter group 1 of splitter group 1 of window 1 to true

To use this AppleScript via a keyboard command:

  1. Enable UI Scripting for BibDesk as described here
  2. Open Script Editor on your Mac, paste in the code above, and save it in ~/Library/Application Support/BibDesk/Scripts so that the script appears as a command (with a name of your choice) in BibDesk's scripts menu
  3. Add an App Keyboard Shortcut for the command as described here
  • @"Big Mac" thx for your answer! Indeed this might be a work around. But I think the exact numbers of Tab you would need depends on your view preferences (in my case I would need 16 Tabs starting from the search field). Is there a chance to modify your suggested AppleScript such to activate the main panel directly?
    – Bernd
    Mar 18, 2023 at 16:28
  • 1
    @Bernd Yes, I am sure there must be a way to activate the main table directly with AppleScript, but I don't know how to do it yet. I will do some more research later and report back if I find a solution. Perhaps someone else knows. You could ask on the bibdesk-users list, where the developer Christiaan often responds, and he is much smarter about these things than I am!
    – Big Mac
    Mar 18, 2023 at 17:54
  • @Bernd I revised the answer with efficient AppleScript code to switch the focus to the main table in BibDesk.
    – Big Mac
    Mar 19, 2023 at 22:32
  • 1
    @Big_Mac: indeed this script is working ... nice and big thanx
    – Bernd
    Mar 20, 2023 at 13:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .