Browsers and shortcuts

I like keyboard shortcuts a LOT; due to bad RSI that gets away from me very easy if I’m not careful; and so it’s important to me to reduce mouse work as much as possible, on my Mac at home i use Quicksilver extensively and can do most anything without a mouse which is cool, way cool. However I also have to use a work provided laptop which has a locked down build on it so I have invested some time in trying to reduce the pain there too, this post is about my experiences with the browsers I’ve used recently.

I’ve been using Chrome for a while and got quite used to it, preferable by a long way from the version of Internet Explorer I’m stuck with on the work laptop I have; the current build has IE6 on it, no tabbed browsing which is a huge pain when you are used to having it, however my biggest gripe is one of my most frequently used shortcut keys which is CTRL-l which puts me in the address bar and highlights all the text so I can type over, especially useful with the auto-search bar in Chrome, once you’ve used it for a while you don’t need bookmarks really as it is intuitive and even replaces the search box, which I still tend to use out of habit only really.

In IE6 (and I’ve since learned even in IE8) pressing CTRL-l brings up a dialog box asking to open a Location; now you can type a URL in and it works kind of but not as good as Chrome and having a dialog box come up is off-putting, to me at least. edit: I just recalled why it’s no good, you can’t hit CTRL-l and highlight a URL to copy it ! Something I do using a keystroke on my Mac

The other one is CTRL-E to get to the search box, now this does work well in IE and so this is basically how I get around the web on a windows machine, it works well in IE once the default search engine is set, on Firefox and Chrome it’s CTRL-K and now in Safari it’s CTRL-ALT-F which is getting to be a pain, perhaps I can change it but I’ve not looked in to that as yet as it’s not something I do on my work windows machine.

I also can’t find a shortcut on Safari to get to the Top Sites page which does provide a hybrid page that allows for less clicking, unless of course you are on a connection where authentication is required and then all your icons auto-update to show the same login page, then if you can’t recall which is which you have to mouse over each one to see the URL !!

Safari Top Sites capture

I’m liking the speed of Safari which is probably the best, however IE8 is very, very close on the particular laptop I’ve tried it on but in the end I may go back to Chrome, my main issue is switching between Mac and a poor windows installation I guess but either Chrome or the new Safari seem better to use, with Safari having more awkward keyboard shortcuts ….


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