Featured image of post Tab-tastic tips for streamlined web browser use

Tab-tastic tips for streamlined web browser use

What is the single most common action you repeat over and over when using your computer? Let me guess – opening a new tab in the browser. Here are my tips for opening, switching and closing tabs everyone should know.

Opening a tab

This one most people know: press Ctrl+T to open a new tab. But did you know that you don’t always need to type an URL or start a web search? You can also jump directly to the content you wanted to view by using custom address bar shortcuts.

All popular browsers support defining customer keywords so that what you type in the address bar can take you where you are going even faster. In Chrome (and Chromium) you can customize what shortcuts can be used in the address bar by opening Settings > Search engine > Manage search engines and site search. Below are my favorite custom searches.

Ask with Perplexity AI

Want to quickly ask an AI for something? Just configure @p in your shortcuts to query https://www.perplexity.ai/search?q=%s&focus=internet and you are never further than a couple key strokes away from asking Perplexity AI.

Ask Perplexity AI a question directly from the browser address bar

I used to always google everything I wanted to know, but nowadays I find myself doing it less and less. Instead, I type @p <question> in the address bar, press enter and immediately get the answer from Perplexity along with links to the information sources. No more wasting time on skimming through unrelevant search result pages!

Open a man page instantly

Yes, any man page can be accessed easily by running on the command-line man followed by the command name. But reading man pages in a browser window with nice fonts and in a separate window next to the command-line window is much more ergonomic and an easier way to craft commands. For this use case, I have configured the shortcut @man that jumps to the latest version of the man page in Debian using URL https://dyn.manpages.debian.org/jump?suite=unstable&language=en&q=%s.

Custom search engine configuration view in Chrome

Jump to any Google Drive file or folder quickly

Oddly enough, Chrome does not have any built-in shortcut to Google Drive. Adding a shortcut with this url will achieve it https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/search?q=%s.

Search Google Drive directly from the browser address bar

Jumping between tabs

If you are like me and have dozens of tabs open simultaneously, learn to use keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Tab. This will jump to the next tab. Pressing Ctrl+Shift+Tab will do the same in reverse direction. By pressing Ctrl+1 you can instantly jump to the first tab, and with Ctrl+2 to the second tab and so forth. This is handy in particular if your first tabs are pinned and always have your e-mail or calendar and you need to open them frequently.

Too many tabs to cycle through them? No worries, you can always press Ctrl+Shift+A to open a dialog where you can search the tab based on the website title.

Searcing open tabs after pressin Ctrl+Shift+A

In Chrome you can also type @tabs in the address bar to search your open tabs, or @history to search tabs and pages you recently closed.

Close a tab, or reopen a closed tab

To close a tab, press Ctrl+W. Oops – if you accidentally close a tab, re-open it quickly with Ctrl+Shift+T. You can even press it multiple times to re-open several old tabs in the reverse order of closing them, basically undo for tab closing.

Bookmark all tabs

What if you have too many tabs open and you need to close the browser window? In Chrome, there is a handy shortcut Ctrl+Shift+D that will bookmark all open tabs in a folder name you choose. Then you can safely close the window knowing that you will always find them in that specific folder in your bookmarks.

Keyboard shortcut summary

Open a new tabCtrl+T
Close a tabCtrl+W
Undo closing a tabCtrl+Shift+T
Jump one tab to the rightCtrl+Tab
Jump one tab to the leftCtrl+Shift+Tab
Open first tab, open nth tabCtrl+1, Ctrl+2, …
Search tab by website titleCtrl+Shift+A
Bookmark all open tabs (e.g. before closing window)Ctrl+Shift+D
Open link in a new tab without leaving current web pageCtrl+click

What is your tip?

Knowing how to use a web browser efficiently should be considered a basic life skill in modern society. The above keyboard shortcuts work in all browsers and are as universal as Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V.

What is your additional browser productivity tip? Share it in a comment below.

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