All web browsers support keyboard shortcuts but the majority offer limited or no options to customize shortcuts or add new shortcuts to the browser.
Shortkeys comes to the rescue. The cross-browser extension is available for Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Internet Explorer officially. It should work in Firefox or Chromium-based browsers as well.
Note: Mozilla may display the "This is not a Recommended Extension" message on the add-ons page on the Firefox AMO website. Follow the link to find out what this is all about.
Shortkeys requires quite a few permissions regardless of browser it is installed on. All of these are explained by the developers on the official Store pages. The extension is open source; you find the source code on the project's GitHub repository.
The extension installed fine in the latest stable versions of Firefox and Chrome but comes without any shortcuts by default. Chrome users need to open the options with a left-click on the extension icon and the selection of options from the menu that opens; Firefox users on the other hand have no icon to interact with which means that they need to open the add-ons manager, about:addons, select the extension, and switch to the options tab.
History: Firefox add-ons supported the editing and creation of shortcuts for a long time. Extensions like Customizable Shortcuts or Keyconfig offered tremendous functionality but the functionality is not supported anymore for the most part.
Creating a new keyboard shortcut is relatively easy. Fill the shortcut field with the combination you want to use and pick one of the available actions (called behavior). You may add a label optionally which helps identify the shortcut, and may optionally enable synchronization to other devices, activation while form fields are active, and limit it to certain websites
Shortcuts are a combination of modifies, e.g. Ctrl or Alt, and one regular key, e.g. a number or letter). Note that you need to type the combination and not activate it. If you wanted to use Alt-Ctrl-K, you'd have to type Alt+Ctrl+k for it it be accepted.
The extension supports multiple key presses and releases; just use a Space to indicate that the previous key or key combination needs to be released before the next key is activated.
The documentation lists all available modifiers and special keys (e.g. f1 to f19, left, pageup, or del) that the extension supports.
Shortkeys highlights if an action is already supported by the browser and lists advantages and disadvantages of using the built-in shortcut and the custom shortcut. Generally speaking, native shortcuts may also work on internal pages and when the address bar is focused while custom shortcuts don't.
Here is an example for Scroll to Top:
This action is supported from Chrome's keyboard shortcuts settings, which will allow it to run on the new tab page and when the address bar is focused, etc. The downside is that Chrome is more restrictive about which shortcuts are supported, and you can't enable or disable on certain websites or when typing in form fields.
Shortcuts work on any webpage that is loaded or reloaded after the shortcut has been created. It won't work on all local Firefox pages or Chrome pages including the New Tab Page. Other restrictions include that the page itself needs to be active and not elements of the browser interface such as the address bar of the browser.
Shortkeys is a handy browser extension that adds several new shortcut options to supported browsers. While most actions that may be mapped to shortcuts are supported natively as well, it gives users the flexibility to remap them or disable them next to using actions that are not supported by the browsers.
Now You: Do you use shortcuts? Which are your favorites?Advertisement
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