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A slow workflow makes for a slow browsing experience. Speed up both with a few simple tricks.

Since my brush with RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury), I have always been on the lookout for tricks that reduce the need for mouse clicks and typing. I have found various easy ways that give me the opportunity to rest my hands Be Lazy: 3 Tips To Reduce The Risk Of RSI By Resting Your Hands Be Lazy: 3 Tips To Reduce The Risk Of RSI By Resting Your Hands Here are three tips that can ease the burden on your hands and make computer or mobile usage slightly more comfortable. Read More  and have outlined a few of them below. These methods allow me to browse super fast, which is crucial for a web worker like me, and are efficient overall.

Set Up Shortcuts Wherever You Can

Create keyword shortcuts to access your favorite websites quickly. In Chrome, begin by right-clicking on the omni bar and selecting Edit Search Engines… from the dropdown menu that pops up. In the Other search engines section of the dialog box that appears, create a new entry by:

  1. Typing in the name of the website that you want to access with a keyword
  2. Assigning a keyword of your choice, preferably only a letter or two to keep it short
  3. Adding the URL of the website
  4. Clicking on Done

In the following image you can see that I have assigned the shortcut pm to PicMonkey. Whenever I want to open the PicMonkey website, I type in pm and hit Enter.

chrome-keyword-shortcuts

For some people, mouse clicks are less painful than typing, and for others it’s the opposite. If you fall in the latter category, it pays to learn as many keyboard shortcuts as you can. Ergonomically speaking, typing is less harmful than clicking. Memorize and use the following shortcuts while surfing.

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  • Open a new tab – Ctrl + T
  • Close the current tab – Ctrl + W
  • Cycle through tabs – Ctrl + Tab
  • Refresh the current page – f5
  • Switch to Full Screen mode and back – f11
  • Place the cursor in the address bar or highlight the address bar contents – f6

Here are some more Chrome tricks for shortcuts How to Launch Your Chrome Bookmarks with Keyboard Shortcuts How to Launch Your Chrome Bookmarks with Keyboard Shortcuts Read More .

Master Tab Management

Wrangling with tabs is common when you’re browsing. Save yourself unnecessary effort by managing tabs like a pro. To begin with, program search results to open in a new tab automatically. You can do this from the settings of your default search engine.

If you use Google, click on the gear icon near the top right of the search results page, and select Search Settings from the dropdown that appears. Navigate to Where results open and check the box to open the selected search result in a new window. The text is misleading, as the result opens in a new tab instead.

google-search-settings

If you use a service frequently, chances are that you have installed its Chrome app for ease of use. Clear up some precious browser space by setting up Chrome apps to open as pinned tabs automatically. To do this, navigate to the Apps section, right-click on an app icon, and click on Open as Pinned Tab.

chrome-pinned-tab

If your browser is reeling under tab overload, install Layout Manager to bring things under control, but first read Saikat’s overview of the Layout Manager extension Save & Reload Your Browser Tabs Just The Way You Like It With Layout Manager [Chrome] Save & Reload Your Browser Tabs Just The Way You Like It With Layout Manager [Chrome] Layout Manager in my humble opinion is a feature that Chrome or all browsers for that matter should have as a default. It not a complicated piece of work, it simply allows you to save... Read More . If you’re a Firefox user, try this minimalistic approach to tab management The Minimalistic Approach To Firefox Tab Overload The Minimalistic Approach To Firefox Tab Overload Read More .

 Know Your Search Engine Better

I spent years using Google search in the most basic way possible, without using filters or advanced keyword tricks to find things faster. When I switched to DuckDuckGo, I explored it in detail. I was surprised to find many useful features, such as !bang, which, for example, allows me to search MakeUseOf from the address bar by appending !makeuseof to my search query. This Google alternative also has various other tricks 10 Useful DuckDuckGo Instant Answers That Save You Time & A Few Clicks 10 Useful DuckDuckGo Instant Answers That Save You Time & A Few Clicks Instant Answers is a collection of DuckDuckGo goodies that potentially make your online search life somewhat easier. Here are ten from a huge list you can try out on this alternative search engine. Read More up its sleeve. I wish I had taken similar advantage of Google’s search capabilities before.

duckduckgo-bang

Web search is one of the most important aspects of our online activity. Whether you use Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or any other search engine, learn what it is capable of so you can search smarter. Search engines provide various tools to bring you more relevant results, fast. They also make quick work of answering common queries like meanings, conversions, the weather, geographical location, stock prices, etc., if you know what to type into the search bar. As a sample, here are eight ways Google simplifies Web search 8 Google Search Tips To Keep Handy At All Times 8 Google Search Tips To Keep Handy At All Times Figures don't lie, and the figures suggest that the majority of Internet users choose Google over the rest of the competition. With that in mind it's important to make sure all of those Google users... Read More .

Bookmark Efficiently

Instead of bookmarking things at random and ending up with a messy set of unrelated links, have a system in place for managing your bookmarks 3 Simple And Elegant Tricks To Stop Drowning In Your Own Bookmarks 3 Simple And Elegant Tricks To Stop Drowning In Your Own Bookmarks If you need rescuing from the clutches of your bookmarks, this article is for you. Manage your bookmarks with these simple logical tips, and bring some method to the madness of bookmark hoarding. Read More Ctrl+D is your friend for bookmarking pages quickly. If you prefer a third-party app, Pocket is among the most popular options available, and with the redesigned Pocket interface Pocket Gets Smarter With Highlights, A Redesigned Interface, & More Features Pocket Gets Smarter With Highlights, A Redesigned Interface, & More Features Pocket has announced version 5.0, designed to stop interesting content from being buried and forgotten about. The iPhone and iPad apps are out now, while the Android version is coming. Read More , it has only become better.

Saved.io is another interesting way to save content for later. After you sign up for the service, whenever you want to save a link, prefix the url with saved.io/. The link gets saved to the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere without the need to install any add-on. Inserting listname.saved.io/ before the url automatically creates a new list and saves the current url to it.

saved.io

Declutter Extensions

While extensions come in handy, they’re often distracting, especially the busy ones like social media extensions and email notifiers. The solution to get rid of this visual and mental clutter is to hide the extensions from view. In Chrome, you can do this by right-clicking on the extension icon where it rests next to the Omnibar, and selecting Hide Button from the subsequent dropdown menu.

Better yet, disable all those extensions that you use infrequently. If you want to display the extensions or enable them again, you can do so from the Extensions page, which is accessible by typing in chrome://extensions/ in the omni bar.

chrome-extensions

In older versions of Firefox, you could drag all the extensions to a separate toolbar, and hide and display the toolbar as and when required. But that’s no longer possible by default with the latest release, Firefox 29. Thankfully, it is possible if you restore the classic Firefox theme How To Restore The Classic Firefox Theme In Firefox 29 How To Restore The Classic Firefox Theme In Firefox 29 "What happened to my tabs? And what is this hamburger-Chrome-looking button in my Firefox toolbar??" Here are some answers for Firefox users who woke up one day to find themselves using Firefox 29. Read More .

Surf Smarter

The steps outlined here might seem too simple to make a difference, but from my experience, they really do. Browsing is at the heart of our digital experience. Making it as efficient and comfortable as possible is just good sense, and if you earn a living from the Web, it’s a must.

Which tricks do you use to speed up your browsing? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Featured image is a derivative of arvindgrover via Compfight cc

  1. Kannon Y
    July 8, 2014 at 4:18 am

    Really good article. Right now I use folders in the quick launch bar to manage long lists of links. For example, I have a folder dedicated to MakeUseOf content. But pinning tabs might actually be more efficient, particularly when combined with Chrome profiles, since each can store different pinned tabs/apps. Thanks for the info!

    • Akshata
      July 9, 2014 at 2:34 am

      Thank you, Kannon!

  2. Hisham S
    June 14, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    This article is excellent. It is very useful.

    • Akshata
      June 15, 2014 at 5:29 am

      Good to know! Thank you for reading, Hisham.

  3. Ravi
    June 13, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Excellent article.. loved it.. Thanks for sharing Akshata..:)

    • Akshata
      June 15, 2014 at 5:28 am

      Good to hear that, Ravi :)

  4. Surajit Basak
    June 12, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Alternative of [F6] for going to address bar [ctrl + L].
    Also If you want to open your focused tab in new tab just press [ctrl + L] and press [alt + Enter] key.
    Alternative of [F5] for refreshing your webpage is [ctrl + R].
    To quit from Chrome press [ctrl + Q] (I think it will work on Linux/Ubuntu).
    Reopen closed tab if you accidentally closed your important tab: [ctrl + shift + T]
    Thank you for sharing with us.

    • Akshata
      June 13, 2014 at 3:27 am

      Thank you for adding more shortcut info for our readers, Surajit.

    • Øystein "DreymaR"
      June 18, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Nice shortcuts!

      I also use Alt+D for going to the address bar. Not sure if it works exactly like Ctrl+L in all situations?

    • Akshata
      June 29, 2014 at 4:59 am

      That's one I haven't heard before. Alt+D works too. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Julia N
    June 12, 2014 at 1:26 am

    Loved the article!
    What a great way to boost productivity. I'm definitely sharing this with my co-workers ;-)

    • Akshata
      June 12, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      Great to hear you found the article useful, Julia.

  6. Amadou M. Sall
    June 11, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Truly awesome post!

    • Akshata
      June 15, 2014 at 5:28 am

      Thank you, Amadou.

  7. Leo
    June 11, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    My life on this point is easy! (1) i open with an fixed key combination my (every) browser and (2) i bought roboform and log in, easy as can! roboform is always free with a max of 10 (most used) passwords. Or use Lastpass.

  8. Nancy B
    June 11, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for the article and leads in it. Takes me forever to write some emails, I do know some shortcuts for cutting/pasting/moving sections but the additional shortcuts will help when I'm typing.
    Also some of the shortcuts on browsers I was totally unaware of so thanks for the info!

    • Akshata
      June 11, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      Glad to be of help, Nancy. Thank you for reading.

  9. Sudeepto D
    June 11, 2014 at 9:02 am
  10. Matteo P.
    June 11, 2014 at 6:55 am

    It is right to remind people that the keyboard does not exist only to write!
    Nice article!

    • Akshata
      June 11, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      Thank you, Matteo!

  11. Micheal B
    June 11, 2014 at 2:57 am

    Really liked this article! Thanks!

    • Akshata
      June 11, 2014 at 4:18 am

      Glad to hear that. Thank you for reading, Micheal.

  12. Sudeepto D
    June 10, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    If someone wants complete keyboard domination (well not completely ) then use Vimium :)

    [Vimium](https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/vimium/dbepggeogbaibhgnhhndojpepiihcmeb?hl=en)

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