Most people rely on browser bookmarks for quick navigation. But like most forms of mouse input, working with them is pretty slow. It only takes a second to click on the most-used icons on your bookmarks bar, but fishing through folders is a slog.
Thankfully, you have better methods for launching Chrome bookmarks. Let’s take a look at the various ways you can interact with your favorite sites using Chrome keyboard shortcuts.
Add Custom Search Engines
Did you know that you can search all sorts of websites right through Chrome’s Omnibox? Aside from your default search engine, you can set up a custom search keyword for almost any site. It’s a bit like DuckDuckGo’s bang feature, but you don’t have to change your default to use it.
To get started, right-click the Omnibox in Chrome and select Edit search engines. You’ll see a page with Default search engines like Google, Bing, and AOL, plus Other search engines from sites you’ve visited.
To start, you can remove any of the Default search engines that you never use, like Ask and AOL, which is just a wrapper on Bing. Click the three-dot button next to one and select Remove from list to toss it.
Then you can start adding sites you actually use. Scroll through the Other list, and you’ll see sites you’ve searched before. Note the keyword field here — this is what you must type into Chrome to search that site. To add a new service, click Add above the Other list and specify the following information:
- Search engine: A friendly name for you to keep track of the site.
- Example: Wikipedia
- Keyword: What you type into the Omnibox to start a new search.
- Example: wiki
- URL: The search URL, with %s in place of the search. To find this, visit the website and perform a search as normal. Copy the URL that appears when you search, trim any excess information that comes after it, then paste it and replace the search term with %s.
- Example: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?search=%s
Once you’ve added a site, you can search it anytime. Press Ctrl + L to focus on the address bar, then type your shortcut (like wiki) and press Tab. You’ll see the left side of the Omnibox say Search [site]; type your query and hit Enter to search. If done correctly, you’ll see what you searched for.
Navigate Your Bookmarks With Chrome Keyboard Shortcuts
Want to browse through your bookmark collection with only your keyboard? If you keep a short list that doesn’t fit on your bookmarks bar, this is a quick way to jump around your various shortcuts.
To do so, press the Ctrl + Shift + O shortcut to open your bookmarks manager. You’ll see a list of bookmarks saved on your bar. Press Tab once to select this list, then use your arrow keys to move around. Enter launches the selected website in a new tab.
If you press Tab seven times, your cursor moves to the left tree of bookmarks. Use the arrow keys to select a folder, then Tab again to move onto the list so you can select one.
Launch Any Website With a Chrome Keyboard Shortcut
Want instant access to any web page? You can create a custom keyboard shortcut that will open it in Chrome anytime.
To start, browse to the page in question. Next, use your mouse to drag the icon at the far left of the Omnibox onto your desktop. Depending on the website, this may be green text that says Secure next to a padlock or an i inside a circle. Regardless, doing this will create a shortcut on your desktop.
Right-click this shortcut and choose Properties. In the Web Document tab, click inside the Shortcut key box, then input the key combo you’d like to launch this website. It must start with either Ctrl + Alt, Ctrl + Shift, or Ctrl + Alt + Shift. Once you set the shortcut, click OK.
Now, you can press that key combo anytime to launch the website in your default browser. To avoid cluttering your desktop with these shortcuts, follow our guide to cleaning your Windows desktop.
If you need more bookmark functionality than what Chrome provides on its own, have a look at these extensions.
Bookmarks Bar Keyboard Shortcuts
This extension was last updated in 2011, but it works better than a similar extension from 2016. It simply allows you to launch the first 10 bookmarks on your bar using the Alt key. Alt + 1 launches the first bookmark, Alt + 2 opens the second, and so on.
The only hiccup is that when you open a new tab, the shortcut won’t work because Chrome focuses on the Omnibox. Thus, you’ll need to press Tab or click anywhere on the page first. It won’t open bookmark folders either. But if you keep 10 of your most-visited bookmarks at the front, this is a handy shortcut to have.
Custom Chrome Shortcut Manager
If you don’t want to create a Windows shortcuts for every site you want to visit, this extension comes in handy. It lets you create custom shortcut words that launch any site.
After installing it, click its icon in the upper-right corner of Chrome. Enter a keyword in the left box and a website address on the right. In our testing, this was quite picky; it failed when we entered www.makeuseof.com but works with //www.makeuseof.com. Thus, we recommend navigating to the page and clicking the Add This Page button instead. Just make sure to add a short keyword as the default is likely too long.
Once you’ve added some shortcuts, type go into the Omnibox and press Tab. From there, enter your keyword and hit Enter. The extension will launch the corresponding site. If you like using custom search engines in Chrome but wish it could launch websites too, this is the one for you.
Download: Custom Chrome Shortcut Manager
Have too many bookmarks and don’t know what to do with all of them? Holmes is here to help. This simple extension adds an instant search for all your bookmarks so you don’t have to wade through folders. You can access it in two ways.
The keyboard shortcut Alt + Shift + H will open the extension’s search box. Start typing and the extension will auto-populate a list with the best matches. Use the arrow keys to navigate and press Enter to open a site.
If you’d rather, you can type an Asterisk (*) in the Omnibox and press Tab. Enter a query to search your bookmarks, and Holmes will show matches that you can navigate with the arrow keys and Enter.
Google Chrome Bookmark Shortcuts
Though you won’t find many Google Chrome shortcuts that relate to bookmarks, it is worth keeping these few in mind:
- Ctrl + Shift + B will show or hide the bookmarks bar.
- Ctrl + Shift + O opens the bookmarks manager.
- Use Ctrl + D to bookmark the current site.
- Ctrl + Shift + D bookmarks all open tabs into a new folder.
- F6 shifts focus between the Omnibox, bookmarks bar, and website.
Ready to Supercharge Chrome’s Bookmarks?
Now you know all sorts of new ways to launch Chrome bookmarks in an instant. This lets you get to your favorite sites faster and stop wasting time navigating around in a sea of links. Whether you have ten bookmarks or a thousand, these tricks keep you moving quickly.
Do you have too many bookmarks? Here’s how to clean up years of bookmarks: