Friday, September 5, 2008

Keyboard Shortcuts - Others

In my previous post I covered my favorite Eclipse shortcuts fairly extensively. Here are some of my favorites in other programs:


Most folks know that Firefox, IE7, Chrome and some other tabbed interfaces provide the following shortcuts for working with tabs:
  • Ctrl + T => New Tab
  • Ctrl + Tab => Next Tab
  • Ctrl + W => Close Tab
You can also hold the Ctrl key when following a link to open it in a new tab in the background. Similarly, you can hold the Shift key instead to have it open in a new window altogether.

Perhaps a bit less known is
  • Alt + D => Goto the Address Bar
While there are similar shortcuts to do the same thing, this one will work across Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer (the Windows File Manager) and most other apps I've used with a similar layout.

I have begun to use this Alt + D shortcut in combination with the Quick Search feature in Firefox. This is a feature that allows you associate a keyword in the address bar with a particular type of search. Firefox comes preloaded with a number of useful ones, including "wp" for wikipedia (though my Linux version of Firefox 3 seems to be missing these for some reason). To try this out, simply navigate to the address bar and type "wp firefox". This should pull up a page with the results of the wikipedia search. You can even set your own Quick Searches (much like setting a bookmark). For more info on this nice little feature, check out

Finally, there are the page search shortcuts (at least in Firefox).
  • / => Find As You Type Text
  • ' => Find As You Type Link
I still tend to use the Find shortcut Ctrl + F for text searches instead of / because you can more easily toggle through multiple hits. However, the ', search_string, Enter sequence is a very useful one for quickly finding and following a link on the page.

Finally, some new-fangled, web 2.0, RIA, Ajax-enabled, Software-as-a-Service webpages provide their own shortcuts. The only ones I know of and use are the Google shortcuts (especially for Gmail and Reader). In particular, I find the use of j/k and n/p to navigate lists/items quite useful. For a useful reference list, be sure to type '?' while in one of these services.

Operating Systems

Operating systems usually provide some useful shortcuts for managing the desktop and the running applications.
  • Alt + Tab => Switch between applications
If you continue to hold the Alt key (and have multiple apps running), pressing Tab multiple times will cycle you through a list of the running applications. Interestingly, there is a lesser known Alt + Esc shortcut which can be used to switch between applications in-order (queue) as apposed to the last used (stack).

On my work computers I use Windows XP and have gotten familiar with a number of the special windows shortcuts (many involving that silly little "windows" key between Ctrl and Alt on the keyboard). Of these shortcuts, perhaps my favorite is:
  • Winkey + D => Show Desktop (Toggle)
However, for some reason, this shortcut doesn't work on my T60p Thinkpad! For more shortcut-related info on the Windows Key, be sure to check out

Well that is enough for now. I will have to write new posts or update these ones as I find particularly useful shortcuts which I have missed.
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