Thursday, August 26, 2010

Use Google Chrome keyboard shortcuts to save time

I am pretty sure people waste several minutes everyday in using their mouse to point and click various buttons and other stuff here and there. Now, in the Internet era, most of us spend most of our computer time on our browsers. Today, I'll mention some very common, basic keyboard shortcuts that are useful in everyday navigation, and which can save lots of your time (and you can show off your keyboard ninja skills to your friends too). I am using Chrome here, but you can use most of the keyboard shortcuts in other browsers as well.

New Tab and close tab

This is one of the most commonest things you do in a web browser. Every browser now uses the tab system introduced by Firefox instead of opening new windows. To open a new tab, you simply press Ctrl+N. To open links or bookmarks, or anything you can think of in a new tab, hold down Ctrl while clicking it. But we talk about not using the mouse so much here, so forget it. You can also press Ctrl+[The Back button] to open up the previous page in a new tab, anyway. 

Also, to close the current tab, press Ctrl+W. You can move pretty fast if you use the keyboard to open and close tabs. Oh, did you close the wrong tab? Press Ctrl+Shift+W to open the last closed tab. Remember, bringing in Shift in most keyboard shortcuts generally reverses the effect.

Go Back one page

If you start counting the number of times you hit the magical Back button in a web browser in a single day, you'll be surprised. You may even find it hard to count it all. Try going through a day without using the Back button at all.... Okay, let's get to the point. You also waste time in going back if you use the mouse to do it. If you haven't clicked on a text box, or some interactive element on a page, you can use the Backspace button on the keyboard to go back by one page.

Scroll through tabs

Okay, so we talked a while ago about using the tab system so much these days. Now, it's hard to keep track of things once you have so many tabs open. So, instead of searching for the one you want by getting your hand to the mouse and moving around the screen, use the keyboard!

If you press Ctrl+Tab, you can move through tabs, from left to right, along the tab bar. Try it out. It's useful, once you get the hang of it. And you might have guessed it. You can press Ctrl+Shift+Tab to cycle the tabs in reverse order.

Scroll up and down the page

Ah, the handy directional keys! You can press the up and down button any time (when you have not clicked anywhere else, as usual) to scroll up and down the page. And if you don't like slow things, use the Page Up/Page Down couple to scroll by entire pages.


If you use the history to visit the sites you visited earlier, you need to open it quickly too. It takes a very long time to go through the menus to open this one. So, if you know the right key combination, it will save you a lot of time. Same goes with the Downloads page. Once you have closed the downloads bar at the bottom of the browser (in Chrome), you need to go through the menus to see the download progress. Also, the download speed is shown only on the Downloads page.

It's simple. Hit Ctrl+J for the Downloads page. It does not make sense, but Ctrl+D is used for bookmarking a site, so you have to get the hang of it. For the History page, press Ctrl+H. That one's fine.

Move to address bar

If you don't use this, you surely waste about half an hour per week clicking the address bar to type in a website URL. This one's simple, and I know that this one works with a lot of browsers. Hit Ctrl+L to focus on the address bar. You can quickly start typing the address you want to go to.

So, that was a lowdown on the basic, navigational keyboard shortcuts to use in Google Chrome, and some of them in other browsers too. Hope you have fun. You have grown a step closer to becoming a keyboard ninja. Oh yes, and remember, you can always combine keyboard shortcuts to create new ones. Be experimental and explorative.

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks and be sure to check out my other posts in the archive.