/ Productivity

Fast Keyboard Navigation within a Browser

I spend so much time in browsers these days, being able to use keyboard navigation exclusively has been very rewarding. It's much faster than using a cursor, and reduces the strain in my right arm, shoulder, and wrist, from using a cursor. The technique was inspired by how I sometimes navigate code.

For example, if I'm on Hacker News and want to go to the comments for "Parsing JSON is a Minefield":

  1. command + F for MacOS, or control + F for Windows/Linux, opens the browser search
  2. Type in 94 c
  3. esc exits search & selects the DOM element
  4. enter clicks the element


Sometimes you enter a search with multiple matches on page. In that case just enter or shift + enter while still in the searh interface, to get to the one you want.

Other times you want to click on something that doesn't have text. In these cases, I would pick an element with text that is near the target element, then tab or shift + tab to the target, after esc'ing out of the search interface.

It may seem like quite a few steps, but it becomes muscle memory quickly. It can be executed rapidly, especially on a webpage one is familiar with.

I also recommend changing the "Caps Lock" key to "Escape" in:

System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Modifier Keys

By having the Caps Lock key work as an escape key you'd have less of a reach compared to the top-left corner of the keyboard, and it's doubly easier to hit if you have a Mac with the touchbar.


Monting Lin

Monting Lin

Elixirlang, JS, Ruby. Startups, nutrition, 禪. @UofT CompSci & Econ. @lighthouse_labs Mentor 🇹🇼 🇨🇦

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