On a laptop I prefer to adjust module sliders with the keyboard instead of using the touch-pad and clicking. Better control.

But giving focus to a slider is quite a pain, can only be done with the mouse: rightclick twice.

For example: I open the module Contrast, Brightness, Saturation by clicking on it.

Somehow you would expect that keyboard focus for arrow keys is then automatically set on the first slider/dropdown etc. It isn't.

Then you expect something like tab to move to the next to input (like on the web). Well Tab is not available, but CTRL Tab could be a viable alternative.

And there is no visual feedback which slider has keyboard focus. Ouch!

I'm sure I'm missing something, but how is focusing sliders supposed to work with the keyboard in Darktable?

  • \$\begingroup\$ It doesn't really answer your question, but it might be a workaround you can live with. Rather than using the built in touchpad, I often use a small wireless mouse (connected via a small USB receiver) when working with applications such as you describe one a notebook/laptop. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Sep 23, 2018 at 3:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can also middle click instead of right clicking twice. (Probably not so useful on a laptop but hey) \$\endgroup\$
    – qwazix
    Dec 29, 2018 at 19:11

2 Answers 2


Focus in darktable is driven entirely by the pointer, so there isn't a specific way to direct it to a particular slider. Use of the arrows once a slider has focus is intended as an adjunct.

You can, however, bind keys to directly alter specific sliders, which might be a good substitute. Go to Light Table -> Preferences -> Shortcuts -> Image Operations, select a parameter and double click on each operation to set a key. Here's a (trimmed-down) example of what I do for exposure and black point:

Slider key binding examples

Not all operations make all of their parameters available this way, but many of the major ones do.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thx, this can come in hand. \$\endgroup\$
    – Janghou
    Sep 25, 2018 at 13:02

In Preferences > shortcuts map Toggle Side Borders to CTRL Tab, and keyboard support for sliders will be available.

Tab will bring focus to the next slider, and SHIFT Tab will focus the previous slider. Use arrow keys to adjust the sliders.

There is no visual indication though, and there is no way to move to the next module.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not seeing that on the Linux version when I do that. BTW, this should have been a comment since it doesn't answer your question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Blrfl
    Sep 25, 2018 at 11:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ It does here in Ubuntu 18.04 latest version 2.4.4. (PPA), so you can select between sliders in a module with the keyboard (tab). Version 2.2 brought basic support ` Allow using the [keyboard] cursor keys to interact with sliders, comboboxes and curves; modifiers apply too` discuss.pixls.us/t/darktable-2-2-0-released/2930 \$\endgroup\$
    – Janghou
    Sep 25, 2018 at 12:57

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