You'll surf a lot faster by using shortcut keys in your browser.
Do you ever use shortcut keys when using a browser? If you do, go to the bottom of this article and rate this tip as "Not useful." But if you don't and you want to learn something new, please read on.
A TechTip about browser shortcut keys might make you think, "How cool is that?" Well, I think it is pretty cool, maybe because I believe shortcut keys make me more productive and help me work faster.
I made my own little investigation around the office and among friends and colleagues, and none of them knew about browser shortcut keys. The good thing about them is that, to my best knowledge, they are generally the same in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera (see my note on Opera later), and even Google Chrome if you are getting keen on that.
There are minor differences in the browsers, usually in the more exotic ones, so please try to keep your fingers on the keyboard and let's start the ride.
Very often, the same function can be done with various shortcut keys. The keys in this tip are the ones I find useful (and can remember), so you might have different ways of doing things. If you have more clever or useful ways of doing things than mine, please comment in this tip's forum.
Let's Sing in Key
Scroll Up and Down a Page
Everybody reads news on the Web, and sometimes you have to scroll down to read the "next" page. By pressing the spacebar once, you'll scroll just one page down. If you want to scroll back, press Shift-spacebar.
Page Forward and Backward in History
When you have to go back one page in history, use Alt+left arrow, and when you want to move one page forward, use Alt+right arrow.
If you want to see your browser history, Ctrl+H will bring up the overview.
Tabbed browsing is now a common function in all modern browsers, and when you get used to it, you just can't stop using it. To open a new tab, press Ctrl+T, and to close it again, Ctrl+W will do the job. If you want to jump between tabs, use Ctrl+Tab. In IE, you can press Crtl+Q to get to the fast tab navigation window. Then use arrow keys to move between the tabs and Enter to select the one you want to see.
When you open a new tab in Google Chrome, it will start by showing you your most-visited sites. Use Tab and Shift+Tab to navigate between tabs and Enter to select.
Some Function Keys
If you want to move the cursor to the address field, just press F6. To see the links you have typed, press F4 and select with arrow up/down and Enter. For some reason, these F keys seem to stop working if you press them multiple times. Go figure.
If you want to mark up some text to copy/paste, you can of course use the mouse (which is not always easy), but if you're using Firefox, try pressing F7; you'll see an alert as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: F7 turns Caret Browsing on and off.
When you are in Caret Browsing, you can select text as you normally do in a document. And then use Crtl+C and Crtl+V to copy/paste. Be aware that if you try to move up and down using the arrow keys, the browser starts behaving pretty strangely.
Pressing F11 toggles full-screen view.
And in Firefox and Google Chrome, F3 will bring up the search bar. If you already have a search going on, F3 will search for the next match. To remove the search bar, press Esc. To bring up the search in IE, press Ctrl+F.
And the Rest
If you want to see the source code on a Web page in IE, you can use Shift+F10 and then select "View Source." If you are using Firefox, press Ctrl+U to see the source straight away. Then use Crtl+F to search, F7 to mark up the code, and then Crtl+W to close the source code window. Fast and easy if you ask me.
If you want to access the menu bar, press Alt and use the arrow keys to move through the drop-down menus. This is not just a browser key; it works in almost all Window applications, but for some reason, a lot of people do not know it. If you press Alt again, it will toggle back to where you came from.
If you never use shortcut keys, start now. At first, you might think you'll never learn to remember the combinations, but start out with a few easy ones you use every day, and when you get the hang of those, move on to more and more.
I have only scratched the surface of shortcut keys and only in browsers. Try accessing the help documents, and you will be surprised how many shortcut keys are waiting for you.
If you want to be totally blown away, try downloading Opera and have a look at the shortcuts keys available there. That's what I call cool!
The Mouse Is Still Alive
Even though I am a great fan of shortcut keys, I am not trying to "kill" my mouse. The mouse is in need when clicking links, and very often a combination of the mouse and the shortcut keys will make you efficient when using the browser or other applications.
Try using some shortcuts, and please comment and give tips to everybody else if you have some useful key combinations to share.