Google is actively experimenting with different interfaces and features to let us try new search experiences. But what it has always missed is a set of good keyboard shortcuts that would make navigating through Google search results much easier.
This article attempts to collect and organize various ways to add and use keyboard shortcuts with Google search.
1. Google Instant Keyboard Shortcuts
While You Are Typing:
Tab / Right arrow — Auto-complete the search term using the top suggestion (to continue typing the next search term)
Up / Down keys — Navigate through search suggestions
Navigating Search Results:
Down arrow + Right arrow — Navigate to the result line you need and preview the page with Google Instant preview
Down arrow action pictured below
Right arrow action pictured below
General Google Search Shortcuts
By default, there is no keyboard support to navigate through Google search results. However there are a few ways to add that functionality:
1. Join the Experiment
Google has a number of experimental search features listed
J — Selects the next listing.
K — Selects the previous listing.
O / Enter — Opens the selected result.
/ — Puts the cursor in the search box (and selects the text already there).*
Esc — Removes the cursor from the search box.
Works in Google Instant? – Yes (but the experimental shortcuts disable Google Instant navigational shortcuts)
2. Greasemonkey scripts
There are a few Greasemonkey scripts to help but there is always something missing from each. The two that still seem to be working are:
This one does have some good ideas and potential but it hasn’t been updated for a while I guess (some of the features are no more working including numbering of results).
The keyboard shortcuts it supports:
n — Go to the next page
p — Go to the previous page
e — Select the query to edit it
a — Add something to the search query
Works in Google Instant? – Partially (you can still navigate through pages using n and p keys but you can no longer edit the search query)
The good thing about these shortcuts are easy to remember.
The problem with these shortcuts is that there is no good way to remove the cursor from the search box. So, for example, when you use n to go to the next page, the search box will be automatically active and you will have to click away to make the shortcut work again (to go to the third page). Otherwise, you will be typing in the search box.
It does work if you also opt in to the experimental search I mentioned above and use Esc each time to leave the search box and then n to go to the next page.
This another semi-working Greasemonkey script that does have one feature which is worth a mention.
The script offers a handier way to switch between search result pages:
Alt+PageDown — Go to the next page
Alt+PageUp — Go to the previous page
Works in Google Instant? – Yes!
This way you don’t need to mess around with Esc key to de-activate the search field each time you land on the next page and everything works much faster.
Putting Them Together
If the above article seems to contain too much information for you, here’s a handy cheat sheet summarizing it.
Combining different tools, you get almost 100% mouseless Google search result browsing!
|Process||Key||What it does||How to enable|
|Control the search box||/||Puts the cursor in the search box (and selects the text already there).*||Experimental search|
|<Esc>||Removes the cursor from the search box.||Experimental search|
|Tab / Right arrow||Auto-completes the search query using the top suggestion (to continue typing the next search term)||Google Instant enabled|
|Navigate through results||J||Selects the next result.||Experimental search|
|K||Selects the previous result.||Experimental search|
|O / <Enter>||Opens the selected result.||Experimental search|
|Right arrow||Lets you preview the page with Google Instant preview||Google Instant Preview enabled|
|Navigate through pages||alt+PageDown||Goes to the next page||This script|
|alt+PageUp||Goes to the previous page||This script|
Do you think these keyboard shortcuts can enhance your searching experience? Please share your thoughts!
Image Credit: webaxes