A person watching over my shoulder asked “How are you switching around so fast?” and I realized that while most readers here know this trick, some may not, and it’s awfully useful.

In Chrome and Firefox on OS X, command-1 takes you to your leftmost tab, command-2 to the next one over, and so on. (Except for, command-9 selects the rightmost; huh?) Also, in both Chrome and Firefox, you can right-click on a tab and “pin” it; which shrinks it down to just the favicon, and locks it in place.

So the trick is, put the same heavily-used tabs in the same place, and leave them there forever. In my logged-into-the-Googleplex browser (Chrome Canary), it’s like this:

  1. Gmail

  2. Calendar

  3. Docs

  4. Voice

  5. @androiddev

  6. Internal Google+

In my general-purpose non-work browser (Production Chrome):

  1. Incoming blog comments

  2. Vancouver weather

  3. What’s on TV

  4. The local staging version of ongoing

  5. What you are now reading.

  6. The App Engine dashboard for the LifeSaver back-end.

  7. A report screen with stats for that back-end.

  8. My public G+.

In my Firefox personal-Gmail Textuality.com appliance:

  1. Gmail

  2. Calendar

  3. Docs

Safari? · I migrated off Safari a couple of releases ago when got all sluggish under pressure. They say it’s better now and I wouldn’t mind using it for some stuff; does it have an instant-navigation trick like this?


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Eric (Apr 23 2012, at 08:55)

I've been using Firefox almost exclusively for the tab group feature. You can use shift-command-e to open up your groups. You then start typing something relevant to the window you want to go to and it will highlight it. Press enter and you're there. It reminds me a little of tools like Alfred or Quicksilver.


From: John Cowan (Apr 23 2012, at 09:03)

In Chrome, at least (I haven't used Firefox in years), you can use Ctrl+PgUp and Ctrl+PgDown to riff through the tabs without touching the mouse. This is not as quick but can be very handy, especially if something is obscuring the tabs that can't be moved off the top of the screen, like the display-sharing software $EMPLOYER uses.


From: SlickSlack (Apr 23 2012, at 09:12)

Safari's usage of those shortcuts opens up the respective link from the bookmarks toolbar. I switch between all three browsers and there are times when I like the Chrome/FF shortcut to tabs (downloading purchased stock footage) and times when I like Safari's implementation (lightning fast browse of social networks- FB/Twit/G+ etc) . I have a similar home/away browser breakdown andI work on other systems where I am not admin or top dog admin (video editing) so I have made do with combo's of Chrome/FF/Safari or whatever is the lingua franca of the system or network.


From: ebenezer (Apr 23 2012, at 09:22)

My most-used OS X tab shortcut is Opt+{ (which, as I recall, you have written about before). I have not remapped it. It works almost everywhere, including Terminal (where I use it very much indeed), and this, combined with Cmd+Tab, works excellently well for keeping my fingers off of the trackpad.


From: Eric A. Meyer (Apr 23 2012, at 09:38)

Safari, like Camino, maps command-[1-9]{1} to the first nine bookmarks in your Bookmarks Bar, whether or not the Bookmarks Bar is actually displayed.


From: Cedric (Apr 23 2012, at 09:48)

I've tried a lot of ways to organize my tabs but the only one that ever worked for me is "Quick Tabs" (Chrome), which allows you to navigate to a tab by name. Even if I know in which window my Gmail tab is (since it's pinned), it's still much faster to type "Ctrl-m g m a" and be taken there right away.


From: Peter van Dijk (Apr 23 2012, at 10:12)

'9' going to the rightmost tab is a relatively recent addition (as in, a few years). I did not like it at first but now that I'm used to it I prefer it.

I believe there's a Safari addon to get similar hotkeys.

On a related note, using numbers to get to tabs is why I use iTerm2 instead of Terminal.app.

I wish pinned tabs were numbered separately, or something, though - I pin things like Grooveshark (which I would prefer as a separate desktop app anyway) and have no desire to go there with cmd-1.


From: Bill (Apr 23 2012, at 10:39)

It's relatively easy to get Safari to replicate the tab switching behaviour with AppleScript and FastScripts or Keyboard Maestro. I put my versions up on github:



From: Rafael Verduzco (Apr 23 2012, at 10:45)

In Safari, you can switch to the next tab, that is, the one to the right, using Control+Tab. Alternatively, use Control+Shift+Tab to switch to previous tabs. Whatever method used, once at the first or last tab, using this shortcuts will take you to the last or first tab, repectively.


From: Bud Gibson (Apr 23 2012, at 12:53)

Why are you running multiple browser instances? I just use Chrome's multi-user feature. Maybe you want to run in all of these different browsers, but it's not necessary.


From: Karl (Apr 23 2012, at 16:29)

Chrome on Mac:

Option+CMD+arrow left

Option+CMD+arrow right

Moves you left and right through your tabs. I use this constantly.


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