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Selection and Focus Properties and Methods

Like many elements in applications running on Microsoft Windows operating systems, accessible objects select and receive keyboard focus. These attributes enable users to interact with application elements, change values, and otherwise manipulate them.

There are some key differences between object selection and object focus:

  • A focused object is the one object in the entire operating system that receives keyboard input. The object with the keyboard focus is either the active window or a child object of the active window.
  • A selected object is marked to participate in some type of group operation.

For example, a user can select several items in a list view control, but the focus is given only to one object in the system at a time. Note that focused items are from a selection of items.

Clients determine whether a particular accessible object or child element has the focus by calling IAccessible::get_accFocus. Clients determine whether an object is selected, or which children within an accessible object are selected, by calling IAccessible::get_accSelection. For objects such as list views in which more than one child is selected, the parent object must support the IEnumVARIANT interface, which allows clients to enumerate the selected children.

Events Triggered in Menus

Microsoft Active Accessibility exposes standard menus created with the Microsoft Win32 menu APIs and resource files. To be consistent with standard menus, servers with custom menus trigger EVENT_OBJECT_FOCUS, not EVENT_OBJECT_SELECTION, when a user highlights a menu item.

Note  Active Accessibility does not support the selection of the text contained in edit and rich edit controls because the text is exposed as a single string in the Value property for these controls.