3 Ways the Shift Key Will Change How You Browse the Web

Joel Lee 05-10-2015

Every browser has dozens of keyboard shortcuts The 9 Most Powerful Chromebook Shortcuts for You to Learn For those of you who are just starting to love your Chromebook, it's time to learn how to get super-productive with your Google OS device. Read More , but some shortcuts are more valuable than others. In fact, some are so revolutionary that you’ll wonder how you ever browsed the Web without them — similar to that feeling when tabbed browsing became a thing.


The Shift key plays a big role and it’s about to change your life.

Horizontal Scrolling

Using the scrollwheel on your mouse — you do have one, don’t you? — is the easiest and most convenient way to browse the Web, but what do you do when you come across a page, textbox, or iframe that scrolls horizontally?

If your usual reaction is to roll your eyes and drag the scrollbar manually, try using Shift + Scrollwheel instead! It’s much quicker and easier.

Opening Recently Closed Tabs

If you’re like me, you probably have dozens of tabs open in your browser at any given time. Maybe you’re saving them to read later 5 Better Alternatives to Pocket That Bookmark Anything for Later Pocket has long held the crown of being the internet's best digital bookmarking service. But is it time to scrap it and search for better read-it-later bookmarking alternatives? Read More or you’re just really good at multitasking Single- vs. Multitasking: What's Best for Productivity? Multitasking is a common method to increase productivity. Turns out it's not necessarily the silver bullet for productivity. The key is to know when to multitask. Read More . The problem is when you accidentally close a tab before you mean to.


Most browsers support the Shift + Ctrl + T shortcut which reopens closed tabs one by one in reverse order. Hold down Shift + Ctrl and keep tapping the T key to keep opening tabs.

Paging Up and Down

Did you know that the Spacebar key pages down on the page you’re currently viewing? A lot of people do this accidentally without realizing it.

Even fewer realize that Shift + Spacebar pages up. The next time you’re reading a long article or essay Don’t Squint or Strain: Improve Readability in Firefox With These 8 Add-Ons Whether you spend many hours on your computer, use your display often at night, or just want to improve your reading experience, there are Firefox extensions to help. Read More , try using the Spacebar to read. It’s more convenient than you think.

Got any Shift tricks to share? Tell us in the comments!

Image Credit: Shift Key Closeup by llaszlo via Shutterstock

Related topics: Keyboard Shortcuts, Tab Management.

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  1. Anonymous
    July 6, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    Hello there! I have an interesting problem, when pushing the scroll wheel down on the mouse, a function that enables you to scroll up/down/right/left when moving the mouse should be enabled, but it doesn't work on my Chromebook Acer 720. Why? It works on every computer but not on my chromebook.

    Is that a specific function for Windows?

  2. Anonymous
    October 15, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I hate the spacebar scroll so much. I just don't understand the point. Keyboards have had page up and down for a very long time. Even on small format keyboards there are usually keys that are at best dedicated keys and at worst Fn + something.

    Also, if you don't have the video on a page selected (such as on youtube) you unintentionally scroll instead of starting or stopping the video.

    • Joel Lee
      October 17, 2015 at 2:18 am

      You have a point there regarding videos and spacebar. It can be frustrating when you think the video is in focus but it isn't... :)

  3. Anonymous
    October 7, 2015 at 2:38 am

    Ctrl+Shift+W Closes all the tabs and closes the current window @ Chrome, Firefox, Opera & Safari. (Also try this shortcut on your Adobe's favorite desktop apps.)

    • Joel Lee
      October 7, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      Nice! So it's basically a browser bomb. Not sure when I'd use it, but I'm sure it will end up being useful at some point or another. Thanks for sharing Pedro!

  4. Anonymous
    October 6, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Ctrl ++++++ (zoom in with each +)
    Ctrl ----- (zoom out with each - )
    Ctrl 0 reset to 100%
    Backspace (sometimes works as the BACK button)
    Ctrl P (bring up native print dialog box)
    Ctrl T (open new tab)
    Windows Key D (hide your browser when boss walks by :) )

    • Joel Lee
      October 7, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      The zooming shortcuts are useful to know, especially when you accidentally shrink the website and aren't sure how you did it. Lol. Thanks for sharing Neil!

  5. Anonymous
    October 5, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Click on the mouse scrollwheel to open a link in a new tab

    • Anonymous
      October 5, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      This is the most useful shortcut. I always used to right click>open link in new tab and then had to return to the previous tab.
      Thanks a lot.

    • Anonymous
      October 6, 2015 at 3:21 am

      Alternatively, Ctrl + Left Click...

    • Joel Lee
      October 7, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      That's one of the best ones. Thanks for sharing Mark!

  6. Anonymous
    October 5, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Most browsers and websites also recognize the PgUp and PgDn keys. No extra keys needed.

    • Anonymous
      October 5, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      But then there would be no need for the article. :-)

    • Anonymous
      October 6, 2015 at 3:23 am

      I use a wireless keyboard and Pg Up & Pd Dn keys are shared with Up arrow key & Down arrow key, meaning I need to press the Fn button + Up/Dn.. SO there are use cases for the Spacebar, at least in my case..

    • Joel Lee
      October 7, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Hey Michael. You're right, PgUp and PgDn are pretty much universal. My problem with them is that they sit on the opposite side of the keyboard while my hand usually rests on the WASD side of the keyboard. My right hand is usually occupied by the mouse. So, it's far easier to use Spacebar and Shift+Spacebar than it is to seek out the PgUp and PgDn keys.

  7. Anonymous
    October 5, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Backspace goes back a page.
    Shift+Backspace goes forward.

    • Joel Lee
      October 7, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      Excellent, that's a good one! Thanks for sharing Tom.

  8. Anonymous
    October 5, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Shift+Ctrl+Del – Open the Clear Browsing History window.
    Shift+Ctrl+H - Open the Browser History.
    Shift+Ctrl+B - Open Bookmarks Manager.

    • Anonymous
      October 5, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      Not in chrome... :/

    • Anonymous
      October 5, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      Shift not needed for the last two on Firefox.

      • Anonymous
        October 5, 2015 at 3:06 pm

        Yes you are right - too a point, try the shortcuts without Shift and you should see the difference yourself.

        • Anonymous
          October 6, 2015 at 8:11 pm

          not in chrome. shift ctrl f5 does nothing and shift ctrl b opens and closes the bookmarks bar.