I don't want to use the feature in Mac Keyboard that replace Option+a with å. (For example, imagine I want to quickly press the button Repl&ace All in NetBeans) How can I have Mac stop do such thing?

Edited: My question arose out of this situation: I use Replace functionality in NetBeans. When I'm at the replace text box, I'm typing something. When I'm done, I invoke the Replace All button by press Option+A in the keyboard. Netbeans understand it as it perform replace all features. However, right before that, the å character (as a result of pressing Option+A) is appended to the replacement, make such process incorrect. I don't need to type a special character right now, so I want to stop it. Wouldn't it be more sensible if such feature can be turned on/off with another shortcut key?

  • Experienced with both Windows and Ubuntu, I find Mac have very nasty philosophy: No cut files using keyboard, no default keyboard shortcut for maximize windows. Alt+Tab is nasty when an application have multiple windows. – Phuong Nguyen Jun 11 '10 at 9:46
  • Isn't rel&ace cmd A not option A? – Mark Jun 11 '10 at 10:37
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    No cut files using keyboard? The ability to potentially lose a file by overwriting the clipboard is a good thing? It's easy to add a shortcut to maximize windows. What do you mean alt-tab is nasty? Do you mean command-tab? Command-` cycles through open windows of an application, command-tab cycles through open applications. This is much better than the windows way. – ghoppe Jun 11 '10 at 22:21
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    (In Windows, when you "cut" a file it doesn't go anywhere until you "paste" it. If you overwrite the clipboard, nothing happens to the file.) – Bavi_H Jun 12 '10 at 0:38
  • +1 For Cmd+`, I didn't know about it before. Thx. But wait, why don't mac just set the default keyboard for maximize windows instead of "easy to add"? We have one 20 iMac here and you expect us to go around and "easy-to-add" whenever we need to work on another iMac? – Phuong Nguyen Jun 14 '10 at 11:42

The alt key on the Macintosh is primarily used for international character keyboard mapping. This is a much more sane and reasonable approach to extended characters than windows alt-numpad tricks. Because of this, it is not typically used alone as a keyboard shortcut key (except with Function keys), although it is used in some shortcuts in conjunction with command and control.

Keyboard remapping can be done with a utility called Ukelele:


However, this won't help you, since you are expecting the alt key to act like a shortcut (command/control) key.

There is a free utility that lets you swap around modifier keys, if their placement is unfamiliar to you:


Here's the Netbeans article explaining MacOS X keyboard shortcuts, and how to adjust either the Netbeans shortcuts or the Mac OSX shortcuts:


EDIT: Solution for button shortcuts in netbeans dialog boxes.

OK, so the Netbeans IDE is a brain-dead cross-platform java application. Ensure you don't have a text field highlighted before using the alt-key button shortcuts. This can be quickly accomplished by hitting tab or shifttab.

  • Hmm, Cmd as a short cut? Is there any thing wrong with my keyboard, because when I press Command+T in Firefox, it open a new tab (which is equivalent to Ctrl+Tab in both Windows & Ubuntu). – Phuong Nguyen Jun 14 '10 at 11:40
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    I have looked at your suggested solutions but none is what I expected. I have modified the question so that you can understand my problem more clear. – Phuong Nguyen Jun 15 '10 at 2:58
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    Also, open menu with Ctrl+F2? Ick. I'm all for using keyboard shortcuts, but opening, navigating, and selecting menus with the keyboard is backwards. Here's a trick that's better: command-? to open help search menu, start typing the menu command you're searching for, down arrow to select it. – ghoppe Jun 16 '10 at 16:35
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    @ghoppe, I think your assumption of NetBeans being "a brain-dead cross-platform java application" is a flawed judgement and incorrect. Use of the OPTION key IS legal as a shortcut, and is throughout OSX, such as OPTION+COMMAND+C to copy style. A better reasoning would be to state that OPTION is not to be used exclusively for shortcuts. – Brett Ryan Mar 3 '11 at 11:10
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    @Brett I'm sorry if I wasn't clear, but that was my implication, wasn't it? Of course you can use OPTION with a button shortcut. You can use SHIFT with a shortcut too. But does that make it "legal as a shortcut?" NO. It's legal as a shortcut modifier, just like shift. No one would say SHIFT is legal as a shortcut. – ghoppe Mar 3 '11 at 17:16

The question also appears here on StackOverflow https://stackoverflow.com/questions/11876485/how-to-disable-typing-special-characters-when-pressing-option-key-in-mac-os-x

On that question, I found Dan's answer to go to wordherd.com and generate a keyboard map without the [option] key shortcuts to be the quickest and easiest solution. https://stackoverflow.com/a/16019737/266531

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