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Keyboard shortcuts aren’t just for desktop apps: your favourite web apps use them too. From Gmail to Trello, from Facebook to Twitter, learning keyboard shortcuts is the easiest way to do everything faster.
But if you manage your email, your to-do list and your social networks entirely within your browser you might think there aren’t any shortcuts to use. Good news: you’re wrong about that! Let’s learn a few shortcuts together, okay?
A Few (Almost) Universal Shortcuts You Need To Know
First things first: in most apps seeing a list of shortcuts is as simple as typing “?”. If there are keyboard shortcuts for a given website, typing “?” will almost certainly give you a list.
Do this enough times and you’ll see a few patterns emerge on almost all sites. A few things you should know:
- The J and K keys let you scroll down and up, respectively, between items. Once you get used to using these keys you’ll wonder how you used the web without them.
- When scrolling through items with j/k, “Enter” usually lets you expand and/or open the currently selected item.
- Typing “/” starts a search, or moves your cursor to the search window.
Got the basics down? Good. Let’s move on to some specific web apps.
Get Through Your Email Faster With Gmail Shortcuts
If you use Gmail, but don’t know about the keyboard shortcuts, learning them is going to save you a lot of time. Before you can use the shortcuts, though, you need to enable them in the settings.
Once you do, you can check out a complete list of keyboard shortcuts using “?”. The list is somewhat…daunting.
To get started, just use “J/”K to scroll up and down (you’ll see a small line to the left of the currently selected time) and “Enter” to open a message. Even once you’ve opened a message, you can jump to the next one using “J/K”, or you can quickly interact with your emails using the following action keys:
- “e” to archive a message, or “#” to delete it.
- “r” to reply to a message, or “a” to reply-all.
- “f” to forward a message.
When you’re writing your reply, it’s possible to quickly send without using your mouse: just hit “Tab” to select the “Send” button, then hit “Enter”.
You can also quickly get from anywhere to the Inbox. Just press “g”, followed by “i”. As you can see in the screenshot above, you can quickly get to many Gmail functions this way (“a” for All Mail, “s” to Stared, “d” to drafts, and more).
These shortcuts will make managing email much faster, but if you’re having trouble learning them Keyrocket for Gmail makes learning easier.
With this Chrome extension, you’ll see a popup every time you do something with the mouse that could be done faster with a keyboard shortcut.
Search Google, Keyboard Style
We’ve called DuckDuck go the ultimate keyboard shortcut search engine, but Google can also be controlled without using your mouse. The issue: the j/k shortcuts do not work, because anything you type while searching ends up in the search box.
So how to scroll through your Google search results without using the mouse? Hit “Tab” after you’re done typing your query, and then the Down key. You’ll see an arrow to the left of the top result, like this:
You can use the Up and Down keys to move that arrow between results, and hit “Enter” to open one. Want to save more time? Activate Google Voice Search with “Ctrl+Shift+.” (yes, that’s a period) on Chrome.
Surf Facebook Like A Pro
I’ve shown you how to get socially productive by learning the Facebook and Twitter keyboard shortcuts, but it’s worth pointing these shortcuts again. As with other sites, hit “?” to see a summary:
You can scroll quickly using J and K, and even like and share posts without using your mouse. Perhaps a bit more complicated are the shortcuts for jumping from one section of the site to another:
Not helpful, right? But it’s not as bad as it sounds. Just use the above key, along with the proper number, to jump around between sections. Here are the numbers:
- 0: Help
- 1: Home
- 2: Timeline
- 3: Friends
- 4: Inbox
- 5: Notifications
- 6: Settings
- 7: Activity Log
- 8: About
- 9: Terms
Make Twitter Faster
There’s not much to say about Twitter’s shortcuts, other than they make sense and you should use them to save a lot of time. If your objective is to scroll through tweets as quickly as possible, RTing and Faving as you go, learn them.
As in Gmail, you can quickly jump to different pages by hitting “g” followed by another letter. Everything is straight-forward, so try it out.
Browse Cards Quickly In Trello
Trello seems like a mouse-based app when you look at it, but it’s got some serious keyboard cred.
To start with, you can jump from card to card using the arrow keys. You can open any card by hitting “Enter”, and leave a card by hitting “Escape”.
When you first open Trello, instead of clicking a board, just hit “B” to bring up your list of boards. You can type the name of what you’re looking for, or you can use the arrows to quickly scroll to what you want.
Take the time to learn more shortcuts, and you’ll be using Trello like a pro in no time.
Manage Your WordPress Comments Quickly
Spend a lot of time managing comments on your WordPress blog? Here’s something a lot of people don’t know: you can use the J/K keyboard shortcuts to browse your comments, and the following keys to manage them.
- “a”: Approve the comment for publication
- “s”: Mark the comment as spam
- “d”: Move the comments to the Trash
You’ll need to turn the shortcuts on, so check the official WordPress documentation for more on that. You’ll also see more shortcuts.
Which Web App Shortcuts Do You Rely On?
I could go on – Remember The Milk, Slack, and Github all have excellent keyboard shortcuts that will save you time. But outlining the shortcuts in every app out there would take forever.
Instead, I want to know which web app keyboard shortcuts you use. Let me know your favourites in the comments, okay? I’m looking forward to learning from you.