As a Vim user, shortcut lover, and mouse hater, I physically cringe every time someone goes to open a new tab in their web browser by pressing the plus symbol, and then move their hands from their mouse to the keyboard to type in the website address, only to move from their keyboard back to their mouse so that they could use it to scroll the page. Isn’t that just so inefficient?
The internet is such a integral part of our daily lives, and knowing how to use your web browser efficiently is probably one of the most valuable skills that anyone can possess. In this article, I’ll show you some cool shortcuts you can use to speed up your usage of Chrome and streamline your browsing experience. Let’s begin!
(Quick note regarding these shortcuts: I’m currently using Windows 10 and Chrome, but these shortcuts should translate over nicely to other operating systems and browsers too. Experiment, and check out the browser’s documentations if you’re ever unsure.)
Opening, Closing, Navigating Browser Tabs
First off, a few basic shortcuts for navigating through and managing your tabs. You might’ve seen some of these before, but they should serve as a nice refresher nonetheless.
- Opening a new tab: Control + T
- Closing the current tab: Control + W
- Moving one tab to the right: Control + Tab
Try using these shortcuts if you aren’t using them already. I find myself browsing so much faster when I use them, and I barely feel a need to use my mouse at all when managing multiple tabs!
Some other shortcuts that I use for tab navigation:
- Moving one tab to the left: Control + Shift + Tab
- Reopening previously closed tabs / windows: Control + Shift + T
- (This shortcut also persist across sessions too! So if your browser crashes unexpectedly, or maybe your computer shuts down, just press Control + Shift + T a bunch of times to reopen your windows back up.)
- Moving to a specific tab: Control + [Number]
- (For example, Control + 1 will navigate you to the first tab, Control + 4 will navigate you to the forth, etc.)
Opening and Closing Browser Windows
Now, some shortcuts for managing browser windows. These shortcuts are most powerful when you pair them up with other OS level shortcuts that you can use to manage windows! More information below.
- Opening a new window: Control + N
- Opening a new window in incognito mode: Control + Shift + N
- Reopening a closed window: Control + Shift + T
- Closing the current window: Control + Shift + W
- (If you’re using Windows, the semi-universal Alt + F4 works too!)
Handy tip for Windows users when opening up new windows: you can use Windows + Arrow Keys to snap the windows to the left or the right to organize them. For example, Windows + Left Arrow Key will snap the newly opened window to the left.
You can do the same using Macs too, but only if you have a window management app like Magnet. Refer to the app’s documentation for more information. (Still don’t understand why Mac engineers won’t implement such a simple feature into their OS.)
Page Controls: Reloading, Navigating, Finding.
Next up: Some handy page shortcuts you can use on the actual pages you visit.
- Reloading the page: Control + R
- Reloading the page, ignoring cached content: Control + Shift + R
- Navigating to the previous page in history: Alt + Left Arrow Key
- Navigating to the next page in history: Alt + Right Arrow Key
- (The side buttons on your mouse do the same thing, but if you’re ever stuck with a mouse with no such buttons, these two shortcuts can be helpful!)
- Focusing on the address bar: Control + L
- Search for word: Control + F
A particularly useful, but rather situational “shortcut” I use within a page is the “next field” shortcut, Tab.
The next time you’re filling out something like a form, try pressing Tab to go to the next field instead of going for your mouse to click the next field. Similarly, if you want to go back to the previous field, you can press Shift + Tab. These two shortcuts will help make filling out forms fast and pain-free.
Browser Feature Shortcuts
Lastly, some browser feature shortcuts. You won’t use these as often as you would the other ones above, but they’re definitely helpful to know.
- Open up browsing history: Control + H
- Open up downloads folder: Control + J
- Chrome Task Manager: Shift + Escape
- Delete Browsing History: Control + Shift + Delete
Another tip, this time for those who use public computers: instead of going back to each website we’ve visited and signing out, we can simply press Control + Shift + Delete and delete our browsing history, along with all of our cookies. This will have the side effect of signing out of all websites we’re signed into, with the added bonus that the next user won’t be able to see your browsing history either!
Some other shortcuts, for developers:
- Open up Developer Tools: Control + Shift + I / Control + Shift + J / F12
- Select element in page: Control + Shift + C
Aaaannnnnddddddd that’s it for this article! There are a lot of other shortcuts that Chrome supports, but these are the ones that I found myself using the most. As with many other things in life, proficiency with using these keyboard shortcuts will only come with practice and time.
The next time you move your hands from your keyboard to reach for your mouse, try to resist that urge and use those helpful shortcuts above instead! It’ll be annoying at first, but after a while, you’ll find yourself using Chrome and navigating tabs faster than you ever were before.
Till next time!