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keyboardlayout06Douglas Engelbart did all of us a huge favor. He is the guy who invented the first mouse. Although it was way back in the sixties when even computers weren’t common stuff, his device influenced the ones that came after it. And of course, till this day, it’s influencing the way we work with the computer.

Most of us would be hogtied around a computer without the mouse. It’s not that modern computing is impossible without the mouse, but it asks for a huge change in behavior. Even then, as anyone can experience, in the race between keyboard shortcuts and mouse clicks, the keyboard usually wins out. That’s why learning keyboard shortcuts is an oft preached (but seldom followed) skill to perform functions and navigate with your keyboard.

Of course, there’s no need to retire your trusty mouse. When you’re all alone with the keyboard, think of the commands you have to learn and master. That’s just too much work.

The second best solution is to use certain software which speeds up our work with the keyboard and save us from the toil of learning commands. We are already skipping that job by using application launchers.

gleeBox is for the guy who loves typing on the keyboard more than clicking with the mouse. Specifically – gleeBox is a browser add-on that lets you navigate the web with your keyboard. Not the full range of controls, but a lot of it. In the end, with a bit of practice, going back, forth, and across a webpage gets considerably speedier.

gleeBox comes in two avatars. It can be installed as an experimental add-on for Firefox and as a Google Chrome extension.


The developer website has an introductory video which goes into the working of gleeBox.

Saving extra mouse-clicks with gleeBox

  • gleeBox defines some keyboard commands which help us move around the web. Starting from the basic “˜g‘ which launches the application, the commands help us to launch a search, find links in the webpage and follow the link with an enter. For instance, I can type in a few letters for a link and gleeBox immediately highlights the link on the page. Pressing Enter, takes me to the URL. I can also press SHIFT+ENTER to open the page in a new tab.


  • A search is as simple as entering a keyword and pressing Enter.
  • gleeBox defines different types of commands. Scrapper commands start with a “˜?‘ and they help to select particular types of elements on the page like titles, linked images, form input fields and all links. Highlighted elements can be hopped using the Tab key.


  • Some of the most useful commands can be executed with what gleeBox calls the Page Commands. A complete list of all commands is provided in the user manual. But without going into the specific command syntax here are just some of the things you can do with gleeBox.
    1. Direct the page to Readability and have a better reading experience. Readability makes web reading more focused by removing the clutter on the page.
    2. Use to create a short URL for the page.
    3. Tweet the page with a short URL.
    4. Subscribe to the RSS feed in Google Reader.
    5. Share the page on social sites like Digg, Facebook, Twitter and StumbleUpon. Also, one can email the page using Gmail.


  • gleeBox is also tied-in with which is a command line tool for the web. A previous post on YubNub Bringing Command Lines to The Web: Yubnub and More! Bringing Command Lines to The Web: Yubnub and More! Read More will help you appreciate it better. Select your favorite commands from the thousands that are available with YubNub and zip across the web.


  • gleeBox has some advanced features too which let you customize commands for a particular webpages. Called the ESP Mode, it allows you to keep a bank of ready to use shortcuts for the websites you visit most often.
  • Definitely not the least, the Options under gleeBox let you customize the look and the feel of the default grey colored box. After all, if you take the pains to use it regularly, you would want to tweak it a bit.


As the developers have pointed out, gleeBox speeds up a few things that we traditionally do with a mouse. Of course, some things will remain the domain of the mouse. But it’s quite handy to have gleeBox on the side. Two tools are always better than one.

Does the little add-on put the glee in your browsing? Or will you remain a lifelong mouse fancier? Let us know if gleeBox (ver.1.1) does something for you.

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