This site is about doing things at their most basic level. A focus on simple design that pays off. Be it in the way we live, design or the products we use, simplicity helps us get things done.

Keyboard Shortcuts

What I love about the commandline is how much faster I can get certain task done faster than I could if I were to use the GUI. My hands simpley work faster typing than they do clicking on a mouse. However, since I am still fairly new to the Mac world (got mine in January) I am still working my way around the thing.

If you use keyboard shortcuts you know how quickly they help you get around. Since Firefox is my most used application it’s definitely a plus to know shortcuts that will cutback on time. Here is what I use so far:

  • CMD-W: Closes tab
  • CMD-F: Opens find search box
  • CMD-Q: For closing out quickly
  • F5: Refresh
  • F6: Toggle the url field

Five simple shortcuts that make my life 10x easier. This is one of the reasons that many people swear by emacs and vi because of their integrated shortcuts. What shortcuts do you use and with what apps?

13 Responses to “Keyboard Shortcuts”

  1. Jacob Rask Says:

    In Firefox I use Ctrl-L to select the location field, and Ctrl-T to open a new tab, Ctrl-W to close a tab and Ctrl-Tab to switch between tabs. In FeedDemon I use Ctrl-G to switch between groups and Ctrl-Space to switch between unread posts. In mIRC I use Ctrl-W to switch between channels, and in Fireworks I use lots of letter shortcuts. I also rely heavily on alt-tabbing between applications, using the great TaskSwitchXP which makes everything much neater.

    Thanks for all the shortcuts btw, I really have problems using Safari when on my PowerBook, because I’m not familiar with the shortcuts.

  2. Paul Irish Says:

  3. Ben Says:

    I don’t know if it’s the same on the mac but I use / to open the find box (not sure why I prefer that to ctrl f), f5 gets pressed a lot for refreshing pages as well (may be windows specific also?)

    I also use shift home, shift end, shift and arrows, and various other shift based key combos for selecting text without using the mouse.

  4. Jonathan Snook Says:

    I use CTRL-R for refresh. Saves me having to move my hand way up to the function row (how lazy is that?). and I use CTRL-D to access the address bar. These work the same in IE and Firefox.

  5. MarkB Says:

    I’m sure these are old-hat and everyone knows them for in FF i use CTRL-B to toggle the bookmarks folder and CRTL-D to add the active page to my bookmarks.

    Laziness can be a good thing Jonothan….its the mother of invention!

  6. Matthew Oliphant Says:

    I don’t like that Cmd-Q and Cmd-W are right next to each other. In tabbed browsing, Cmd-W is very handy, but for those times my finger slips and hits the Q…

    Jacob, you may have this already but here is a list of Mac OSX keyboard shortcuts.

  7. patrick Says:

    I am a big fan of Cmd-Shift-E to open up and edit CSS in Firefox. I also enjoy the simple, but effective Shift-Tab to reverse tab through form fields.

  8. Sam Sugar Says:

    What’s really interesting is that studies, by Apple and others, show that, despite what we all assume, mousing is faster than using the keyboard.

    I use shortcuts myself. The feeling of speed is probably due to the way our brain works. As using the keyboard is less intuitive, and demands slightly higher concentration, ‘time flies’. It’s also probably the reason that when properly tested, the mouse wins out.

    Testing like this is obviously at the bedrock of interface design.

    (NB: Obviously somethings (like typing) are faster on a keyboard but the studies relating to the use of shortcuts show that on avaerage, they make people slower. If you’re foaming at the mouth reading this just put yourself in the ’special’ faster with a deck group and chill. Test results = paper, anecdotes = rock)

  9. Stacy Brice Says:

    So many Mac users! Unfortunately what I have to suggest isn’t available to you, but if PC folks want to ramp up their efficiency, they really should investigate the beyond-amazing program, Active Words (

  10. Stacy Brice Says:

    Premature send… sorry :/

    The best things about AW are that I almost never have to take my hands off the keyboard, I can easily get it to open/execute anything on my computer, it’s great for substituting text, *and*, best of all–it’s not context sensitive. I can execute an ActiveWord from any place in any application, and even on my desktop, by simply typing the trigger word (even though i can’t see it, AW still recognizes that I’ve typed it). What’s cool about that, for me, is that I don’t have to remember shortcuts for several apps.

    So, for example, to open a new Word doc, all I do is type “doc” (w/o quotes), anywhere at all, and then hit my spacebar twice, and a new doc opens.

    You can write scripts, too, to automate multiple tasks.

    Check it out

  11. Zach Blume Says:

    Yup, got to love shortcuts. It’s human nature :-p

  12. michael Says:

    In FF, I have the option selected to “Begin finding when you being typing.” I almost take this for granted when I’m using IE. Now, occasionally I’ll accidentally hit a key and the page will jump as it starts to search, but it doesn’t happen often and not enough to be a problem.

  13. johnke Says:

    cmd-k (select search bar) is the only thing that keeps me using Firefox instead of Camino, in spite of the fact that Camino runs so much nicer on my heap-o-crap G4.

    (Yes, Camino has cmd-shift-F, but I’d much rather something that didn’t force my hand into some awful claw-like shape, thanks)

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