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You are here: browser/composer front-end test cases > Keyboard navigation > Testing Scrolling

Keyboard Navigation: Scrolling

Maintained by: Sarah Liberman

This document outlines tests for scrolling through content in the browser window, including page content, frame content and the tabbed browser.

Just to be clear, however, this outline does not cover scrolling in the following:

  • UI elements (eg, XUL) such as listboxes in dialogs or windows, and so forth
  • Mail compose or editor windows
  • MailNews 3pane window
  • Mail standalone window
  • HTML form controls within a web page: scrolling within textfields or textareas

Scrolling web content using the keyboard can be accomplished by several means:

  • Arrow keys: up, down, left, right, which move a line (or column) at a time
  • PageUp and PageDown, which move a pagefull at a time
  • Home and End, which move to top and bottom of a page, respectively

The ability to scroll depends on how and where focus is set in the page. Visually, focus can be seen as:

  • a grey outline around the (interior) border of a frame (aka, a "focus ring") to denote the active frame in a frameset --but only via keyboard navigation
  • a thicker, black outline around the (interior) border of a window's pane --more relevant to tabbing navigation
  • a dotted box (again, a "focus ring") around web page links and form elements --more relevant to tabbing navigation
  • an active highlighted effect for an item in a outline, tree view, list or content in a textfield. Note that this differs from an item that's highlighted but not in focus --such things appear as greyed out (aka, "disabled, inactive"). More relevant to tabbing navigation.
  • a blinking cursor in a form's text area or text field, or within a textfield in a widget (eg, at the end of the URL bar, inside the textfield of the Find dialog, etc.)

Open issues

There are several bugs which currently affect how scrolling works. Check out the dependency tree for the following tracking/meta bugs for more details.

Bug 83552 : Focus and tabbing navigation issues
Bug 55416 : Location field (URL bar) focus issues


Test with each key type (where applicable) for the following areas.

Scrolling tests dependent on initial focus, or when a browser window/tab is first opened: also see bugs 37638 and 141295

  1. Upon starting Mozilla/Netscape
  2. After opening a new browser window:
    • top-level menu: File > New > Navigator Window
    • shortcut (accel+N), when the default home page is not about:blank
    • context menu for opening links: "Open Link in New Window"
  3. After opening a new tabbed browser:
    • top-level menu: File > New > Navigator Tab
    • negative test: shortcut (accel+T): Since about:blank is loaded in new tabs, focus should be in the URLbar, not the content area.
    • context menu for opening links: "Open Link in New Tab"
  4. Open a page where focus is set to a textfield, eg, or --you won't be able to scroll initially, but after moving out of the textfield (tabbing out or mouse-clicking), you should then be able to scroll using the keyboard.
  5. Opening another browser window from another application:
    • Mozilla/Netscape: Accessing link from MailNews
      • Open link in current browser window/tab
      • Open link new browser window
    • Mozilla/Netscape: Browsing a document being edited in Composer
    • Netscape: Accessing a link from Netscape Instant Messenger
    • Win32 applications (make sure Mozilla/Netscape is the associated browser!): Accessing a link from MS-Word, MS-Excel, etc.
    • Mac OS applications (make sure Mozilla/Netscape is the associated browser!): Accessing a link from, AOL Instant Messenger, Terminal, etc.
    • Linux applications (make sure Mozilla/Netscape is the associated browser!): Accessing a link from gaim, gnome-terminal, xterm, etc.
  6. Opening a window/tab after Accel+clicking a link (dependent on prefs settings); also middle mouse button+clicking on Linux.
  7. Frames: also test the above (where applicable/time permits) for pages/tabs with frames. Generally, focus will be in the frameset document to begin with --until bug 86931is resolved. So in the meantime you'll need to hit the tab key to bring focus into a frame's content.
    • link context menu: "Open Link in New Window"
    • link context menu: "Open Link in New Tab"
    • frame context menu: "Show Only this Frame"
    • frame context menu: "Open Frame in New Window"
    • frame context menu: "Open Frame in New Tab"
    • when startup page contains frames
  8. HTTP directory and FTP listings. Test in both a window and tab.

Test scrolling during (not really initial window or tab opening) a given browser session (when time permits):

  1. After selecting a URL:
    • top-level menus: Go, Bookmarks
    • Personal Toolbar links
    • autocomplete menulist from URL bar
  2. After entering (typing) a URL in URL bar
  3. Session history:
    • Back and Forward buttons from Navigation Toolbar
    • Alt+left/right arrows (Linux, Win32); Cmd+left/right (Mac)
  4. Multiple windows open:
    • Switch between windows (mouse-click, Window menu, or preferably via keyboard) and test scrolling
    • Close one and after focus goes to the next one, test scrolling
    • See also bug 166501: focus "lost" (not obvious) when switching windows from Window menu
  5. Multiple tabs open
    • Switch between tabs --both via mouse-click and Ctrl+PageUp/Down-- and test scrolling
    • Close one and after focus goes to the next one, test scrolling
    • Switch between tabs, when at least one tab contains framed content and/or where focus is initially set in a form field (eg, For example, check out
      • bug 106123: Control+Tab, F6 shouldn't focus the (hidden) frameset doc.
      • bug 120148: Tabs [frames, textfields] don't remember which element was focused when switching tabs.
  6. Multiple desktop applications open: Cycle through using Alt+Tab (Win32 and maybe Linux), and test scrolling in browser window

Scrolling tests cited in specific bugs (when time permits):

  • Bug 153681: Need to hit tab key to set focus in content
  • Bug 58250: Opening link in a new window should put focus in content
  • Bug 63663: Can't scroll in a document using fixed position layout
  • Bug 67977: Unable to scroll in