A Proposal for Keyboard Navigation in Charts

Last modified: 02/18/2002


1. Introduction

2. Other Applications
3. Proposal

1. Introduction

For the chart to become accessible, it is necessary to do everything that you can do using the mouse. Especially selecting objects is a task that is currently not available. Apart from selection, the most important thing is access to menus and context-menus, which is already accessible by keypresses.

2. Other Applications

What MS Graph supports

In MS Graph, you can cycle through all groups using the cursor up and down keys. With cursor left and right you can navigate through the objects in the current group. At least this is what is described in the Help. The cursor left/right navigation not only travels throught the members of a group but also reaches all top-level objects, that can also be selected with cursor up/down. In my opinion the navigation is not very intuitive; however, you can access all objects.

What Draw/Impress supports or will support

In Draw/Impress, you can travel through all top-level objects, or objects belonging to group currently entered, by pressing Tab and Shift-Tab. This is the same behaviour as in MS PowerPoint.

With the cursor keys you can move objects by 1 millimeter into the respective direction.

You can enter a group by pressing F3 and leave it by pressing Ctrl-F3.

To edit text objects you can press F2 (which is a common key for text editing).

3. Proposal

To consistent with other OOo applications, I think it makes most sense to adapt the navigation from the Draw application. The usage of tabulator keys also has the advantage that the cursor keys are available for moving objects which seems to be impossible in MS Graph so far.

To select a data point inside a series that is currently selected, you could enter a group by pressing F3. It may be not very intuitive, but it is consistent. Therefore I suggest to adapt this behaviour as well.

Internally the diagram (plot-area) is a group, which has to be entered to access the axes and the series. I suggest not to offer this structure directly to the outside, but instead treat the diagram, the axes, and the series as being on the same level. So you need the entering/leaving of groups only for series and the legend.

KeyFunctionValid for
TabSelect next object in current group. After the last object, the first one is selectedAll objects
Shift-TabSelect previous object in current group. After the first object, the last object is selected.All objects
Home / EndSelect first / last object in current group.All objects
EscUnselect all objectsAll objects
Cursor KeysMove object in the respective directionAll objects that are not move protected, i.e., all top-level objects
Cursor KeysMove a pie segment in the direction of the cursor direction projected on the bisector of the segmentPie segments in a pie chart
F3Enter a group.Series, Legend
Ctrl-F3Leave a group.Series, Legend
F2Edit textTitles
F4Standard position/size dialogPosition for all top-level objects, size only for diagram
+ / -Resize diagram proportionally (enlarge/shrink)Diagram
+ / -Drag pie segment out/inPie segments in a pie chart

The cursor keys and + / - move / resize objects by 1mm. If together with those keys the Alt-Key is pressed, the objects are moved one pixel corresponding to the current view. Dragging of pies, drag five percent in standard mode, together with Alt one percent of the radius.