Category Archives: Google Chrome

Shift+Click: Open link in new window (Firefox, Chrome, IE)

While I spend a lot of my day without ever touching the mouse, when browsing it’s definitely easier to click on a link to follow it (rather than having to hit Tab a few dozen times until the right link is selected, then pressing Enter).

When doing so, there are a couple of quick shortcuts that work with any browser.

To start with, try press Shift then next time you click on a link. Instead of replacing the current web page with the contents of your link, a new page appears, with the contents of whatever web page that you clicked on.

(You can then close this new window with Ctrl+W.)

Shift+Esc: Task manager in Google Chrome

There are several ways you can see the new task manager in Google Chrome (which helps you monitor your tabs and the overall memory performance for the pages you’re browsing).

You can:

  • Right-click in the title bar at the top of the Chrome window and select “Task manager” from the shortcut menu that appears.
  • Press Alt+Space to see that same shortcut menu, then use the up and down arrow keys until Task manager is highlighted, then press Enter.
  • Press Alt+Space, T
  • Or just press Shift+Esc.

To close the Task manager dialog box, simply hit Esc.

Ctrl+Shift+N: Start incognito session in a new window in Google Chrome

(Since we had yesterday off for Labor Day, two posts today!)

One new concept in Chrome is the idea of an incognito session, where the history and cookies are not preserved. This could be useful if, for example, you’re at a friend’s house or an Internet cafĂ©, or if you don’t want your spouse to see that you’ve been shopping for a surprise birthday present. Or other things.

To start a new incognito session in Chrome, just press Ctrl+Shift+N. A new window appears, with slightly different coloring and a “secretive browser person” icon at the top.

(To close the incognito session, just press Alt+F4 as you normally would to close a program. All tabs in your new window close at once.)

Using the keyboard with Google Chrome

Google Chrome was released in beta today (Tuesday, September 2). This is Google’s browser, currently only for Windows, and its arrival rekindles the browser wars into a three-way race between Mozilla’s Firefox, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and now Google’s Chrome.

Chrome offers much faster loading speed and more stability as its main differentiators, but also a new feature called an “incognito session” (which we’ll cover later today), plus the ability to quickly use web sites (such as Gmail) as applications on your desktop and Start menu.

The majority of the Firefox keyboard shortcuts we’ve covered here previously do work in Chrome. There are a few exceptions, which I’ve outlined below.

Here’s what works:

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the keyboard control of Chrome, but there’s a lot of room for improvement in this beta:

  • There’s no apparent way to open the “Control the current page” and “Customize and control Google Chrome” dropdown menu icons in the upper right, except by clicking.
  • In a very serious breach of Windows usability, the F1 key does nothing at all instead of calling up help.
  • The list of keyboard shortcuts in their help is very incomplete.
  • Ctrl+S does nothing instead of saving the current web page, although you can right-click (even with Shift+F10) and choose “Save as” from the shortcut menu.
  • At least one keyboard command, Ctrl+O to open a file, has no listing anywhere on any menu. (All keyboard shortcut commands should have toolbar icons or menu entries as equivalents, and those icons or commands should always list the keyboard shortcut as a visual reminder.)
  • When Chrome offers to save a password when you log in to a site, there’s no keyboard method to say yes or no — you have to click on one of the buttons that appear.
  • You can’t navigate your saved bookmarks in a menu to select a site as you can with Firefox’s bookmark menu. (In Chrome, you can only click on the bookmark toolbar under “Other bookmarks” or search bookmarks in the omnibox using Ctrl+L and typing in a few letters from the bookmark.)

Here are some of the Firefox keyboard commands that do NOT work in Chrome: