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Keyboard users

The information on this page is aimed at those who find it difficult or uncomfortabe using a mouse and therefore rely on the keyboard.

Using the keyboard to navigate

Navigation means moving through web pages in a site by selecting links and using browser buttons. All browsers enable you to do this using the keyboard alone, and the following table provides a summary of the keys used in Internet Explorer (IE), Firefox and Opera browsers. (Mac users substitute the Command key in place of Ctrl.)

Useful navigation keys
Action Key
Next link Tab (or A in Opera)
Previous link Shift + Tab (or Q in Opera)
Activate a link Enter
Go back a page Backspace or Alt + Left Arrow
Top of page Ctrl + Home
Bottom of page Ctrl + End
Scroll page down Page Down or Space
Scroll page up Page Up
Close window Ctrl + W

Visual browsers highlight the current link with a "focus". In IE and Firefox it appears as a dotted border around the link, in Opera reversed colours. It is the link with the focus that will be acted upon when you press Enter.

For more information please see the following web pages (links open in a new window):

Access keys - why haven't we used them?

Access keys are keyboard shortcuts that jump the focus to a particular part of the page. We haven't used them on this site for two reasons:

However, if people feel they would benefit from their introduction we will certainly reconsider this decision.

See also