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I noticed that when I use a Flash-based file select, such as the one below, I am unable to paste using CMD+V into the file select location dialog.

Steps to Reproduce Problem

Visit any Flash-based file select dialog, such as this uploader:

enter image description here

Click select file

enter image description here

Press CMD+Shift+G to pull up the "Go to Folder" dialog

enter image description here

Try to paste something with CMD+V. Nothing happens.

Right click inside the file location box and choose paste. Paste works fine.


I know that flash has certain restrictions with being able to access the clipboard for security reasons. However, this doesn't quite seem like a proper use of that restriction here.

I am curious to know if there is some workaround to allow me to use CMD+V with the keyboard to paste into such a dialog box. Can I edit the flash security settings or something to enable this?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The reason it doesn't work is that when Flash opens a file dialog, the Edit menu items in Safari stay disabled, even with the Go to Folder sheet opened.

Edit menu with Flash file dialog Go to Folder

Native upload or other file dialogs behave differently: When the sheet is visible, the menu items are enabled.

Edit menu with regular upload dialog Go to Folder

To reproduce this independent from Safari, create a new document-based Cocoa application in Xcode, save and run. Press Cmd-O, Cmd-Shift-G, Cmd-V. It will paste. Quit, then remove the Edit menu items from MainMenu.xib and repeat. It won't paste, similar to the Flash dialog in Safari.

Xcode MainMenu xib

It's very unlikely that this is a deliberate security feature, since Cmd-A also stays deactivated, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, security-wise.

It's just that the Flash dialog doesn't use or enable Safari's regular menu items and possibly can't, as the application itself provides the callbacks for menu items. It's just one of the limitations of plugin integration we have to live with. FWIW, Microsoft Silverlight file dialogs behave exactly the same, see here.

Adobe documentation for the file selection API doesn't mention anything regarding permissions either..

share|improve this answer
thanks for the explanation although i don't agree with the statement "it's just one of those things we have to live with" - i'd like to find a workaround or find out who to report this to as a bug / feature request. any suggestions on how to do that? – cwd Sep 13 '11 at 20:15
@cwd You can report bugs to Apple at -- I have reported several dozen bugs over the years, including one or two security issues, and the result is more than disappointing. Also, "UI" is the lowest category of issue there. Do something useful with your time instead. – Daniel Beck Sep 14 '11 at 7:56

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