Apple Mail and the Control Key

Apple Mail has some decidedly quirky behavior regarding scrolling view focus. One issue that bugs me is that when the message list has focus, the Page Up/Down keys don’t scroll the message list; instead, they scroll the message content pane.

The logic of this design is obvious: the idea is that you can keep the focus on the message list and use the Page Up/Down keys to read long messages. The problem is that this is non-standard behavior. No other app works like this. The standard behavior is that when a list has focus, Page Up/Down scroll the list.

Thanks to the miracle of Twitter, I have been informed of a workaround. I complained, Dave Caldwell (among others) answered. The trick is that if you hold down the Control key, Page Up/Down will scroll the message list.

For what it’s worth, Mail’s help book does have a list of keyboard shortcuts, but this trick isn’t listed. (Nor are Mail’s non-standard focus rules explained.)