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Eclipse Workbench User Guide
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Navigating the user interface using the keyboard

The user interface is navigable using the keyboard. The Tab key is used to iterate through the controls in a particular scope (for example, a dialog or a view and its related icons). To navigate to the main controls for the Workbench window or to tab out of views that use the Tab key (such as editors) use Ctrl+Tab.


Most menus are assigned mnemonics for each entry which allow you to select them by typing the underlined letter instead of the mouse. You can also select an item by moving through the menus and sub-menus with the arrow keys.

The various menus available can be accessed using the keyboard in the following ways:

  • F10 accesses the menus on the main menu bar.
  • Shift+F10 pops up the context menu for the current view. (Note: this shortcut is actually dependent on your window manager, but for most people it should be Shift+F10.)
  • Ctrl+F10 will open the pull down menu for the current view if there is one. For editors, Ctrl+F10 will open the menu for the marker bar on the left of the editor area.
  • Alt+mnemonic will activate the Workbench menu for a particular entry (e.g., Alt+W will bring down the Window menu).
  • Microsoft Windows only: Pressing Alt will give focus to the menu bar.


Mnemonics are assigned to most control labels (e.g., buttons, checkboxes, radio buttons, etc.) in dialog boxes, preference pages, and property pages. To access the control associated with a label, use the Alt key along with the letter that is underlined in the label.

Navigation Context

Navigation context is saved for the packages, navigator views, Workbench preferences and properties dialogs. The selected page for the preferences and properties dialog is saved between invocations of the dialog but are not saved between workbench invocations.

Cycling Editors, Views and Perspectives

To switch between editors, views and perspectives, the workbench provides a cycling function that is invoked by Ctrl and a function key. All of these cycling functions recall the last thing selected to allow for rapid cycling back and forth between two items. The cycling functions are

  • Ctrl+F6 - Cycle to Editor
  • Ctrl+F7 - Cycle to View
  • Ctrl+F8 - Cycle to Perspective

Also, Ctrl+E can be used to activate the editor drop-down, and Ctrl+PageUp and Ctrl+PageDown can be used for switching between the open editors.


Many of the actions in Eclipse have an accelerator assigned to them. For additional information on accelerators, see Keys.

Quick Access

To quickly access UI elements such as views, commands, preference pages, and others, you can use the Quick Access dialog, Window > Navigation > Quick Access and bound to Ctrl+3 by default. Start typing in the filter field to see matches. For example, to open the help view, type Ctrl+3 followed by "help". One of the first matches will be to open the help view; other matches show commands and preference pages related to help. You can use the arrow keys to select a different match for a given filter string. Press Enter to select the highlighted entry. This will execute the command, or open the view, perspective, or wizard etc.

Help system

You can navigate the help system by keyboard using the following key combinations:

  • Pressing Tab inside a frame (page) takes you to the next link, button or topic node.
  • To expand/collapse a tree node, press Right/Left arrows.
  • To move to the next topic node, press Down arrow or Tab
  • To move to the previous topic node, press Up arrow or Shift+Tab
  • To display selected topic, press Enter.
  • To scroll all the way up or down press Home or End.
  • To go back press Alt+Left arrow; to go forward press Alt+Right arrow.
  • To go to the next frame, or toolbar press Ctrl+Tab (Ctrl+F6, if using Mozilla, or Mozilla based browser).
  • To move to previous frame, press Shift+Ctrl+Tab. (Shift-Ctrl+F6, if using Mozilla, or Mozilla based browser).
  • To move to the frame displaying topic content press Alt+K (when using embedded help browser on Windows, or Internet Explorer).
  • To move to Contents tab, press Alt+C
  • To move to Search Results tab, press Alt+R
  • To move between tabs, press Right/Left arrows.
  • To switch view, select a tab and press Enter.
  • To switch and move to a view, select a tab and press Up arrow.
  • To move to the search entry field, press Alt+S
  • To print the current page or active frame, press Ctrl+P.
  • To find a string in the current page or active frame, press Ctrl+F (when using embedded help browser on Windows, or Internet Explorer).

Most labels of controls on help system pop-up dialogs have mnemonics are assigned to them. To access the control associated with a label, use the Alt key along with the letter that is underlined.

Related concepts
Accessibility features in Eclipse
Changing the key bindings

Related references
Font and color settings in Eclipse

  Published under the terms of the Eclipse Public License Version 1.0 ("EPL") Design by Interspire