Tag Archive: mac

Today we look back at some previous Keyboard Kung Fu lessons and use them in an exercise to consolidate our understanding of browsing the web using tabs.

Revision: Three Previous Lessons

Let’s quickly refresh our memories with three recent posts involving tabs in the web browser.

Go to back to the previous page, go forward to the next page

Load previous webpage in SafariIn Previous, Next Page we learned how to go back to the previous page by holding your thumb on the key and tapping the [ key with your index or middle finger.

Return to the page you were on by moving the next page with the key and the ]

Moving back and forward in the browser’s history in the way provides a fast and easy way to navigate through pages that you’ve already visited.


Opening additional tabs

Command-T keyboard shortcutThe Open a New Tab lesson demonstrated how to have multiple websites open in one window by opening additional tabs in the browser.

T = open a new tab
W = close the current tab

Open a link in a new tab

We can also open any links we see in web pages in separate tabs. Instead of clicking on the link in a webpage, hold down the Command key first and then click the link.

-click = open the link in a new tab


Switching between open tabs

Mac keyboard showing how to switch tabs with Command and number keysThe Switching Tabs post taught us how to use the Command key and any number key to switch between tabs that we currently have open.

1 = move to 1st browser tab
2 = move to 2nd browser tab
3 = move to 3rd browser tab, etc.

Using the arrow keys to switch tabs

We also saw how you can use the left or right arrow keys to switch tabs in the Safari browser: & and that the same can be done in the Chrome browser by using the & keys.

Alternatively, you can cycle through the open tabs in most browsers with the universal tab-switching keyboard shortcut: `.


Exercises: Tabbed Browsing

Now that we’ve recapped a few previous keyboard shortcut lessons that enable us to work with tabs in the web browser, let us apply these techniques to some real life simulations.

Seven shortcuts in one photo

Exercise 1: Grasshopper Level

In this scenario you currently have your web browser open with a single tab loaded with this page that you are reading right now. While reading this sentence you see this link to the main Keyboard Kung Fu page and would like to visit it to read some of the past lessons.

Task: Visit the Keyboard Kung Fu page by clicking the link above, then click on a link on that page to visit one of the past lessons. Now return to this page using only the keyboard.

Exercise 2: Master Level

A similar scenario: you currently have your web browser open with a single tab loaded with this page that you are reading right now. While reading this sentence you see this link to the main Keyboard Kung Fu page and would like to visit it to read some of the past lessons.

However, this time you would like to load a few of the previous lessons in separate tabs without leaving the main Keyboard Kung Fu page.

Task: Visit the Keyboard Kung Fu page by clicking the link above, then open three links in three new tabs. Now visit each tab and then return to this page using only the keyboard.

Exercise 3: Sage Level

A different scenario this time: You are reading a page that just has a URL, it’s not clickable. http://www.vintuitive.com/keyboard-kung-fu/

Task: Highlight the link above. Now using only the keyboard, copy the link, open a new tab, paste the link into the address bar and visit the page. Close that tab to return to this page, again using only the keyboard, no mouse.

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Reading from a screen for prolonged periods of time can be a strain for many. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your Mac to speak the information to you instead?

Speak at my command

Making your Mac speak to you is just a matter of selecting the text that you would like to hear spoken and tapping on the text-to-speech key combination.

The default keyboard combination for this one is Option-Escape, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can change the trigger to any key combo you like. I have changed mine to Control-Command-S, because ‘S’ is for ‘speak’:

S = speak the selected text.

fingers on keys command option s

Make your Mac speak to you with Control-Command-S

Changing to your preferred key combination

You have the option to change the combination of keys that trigger the text-to-speech action. Go to System Preferences / Dictation & Speech and ensure that there is a tick in the box beside ‘Speak selected text when the key is pressed’. Clicking on the 'Change key...' button then enables you to enter your preferred key combination to speak the selected text.

Dictation Speech Settings

In the screenshot below from an earlier post on audio, I have selected the text and then used the S combination to execute the text-to-speech function. Click on the sound file to listen.

highlighted text

I am Lion, hear me roar…from the Land Down Under

With the introduction of the Lion operating system (10.7) Apple included over 50 new high-quality voices in 22 different languages. You’ll notice in the sound file above that I am using the voice called Lee, who has an Australian accent.

The Mac’s voice quality certainly has improved a lot since it was introduced by Steve Jobs in 1984.

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Sometimes you need to go back to the previous page. Why use your mouse for that when you can let your fingers do the work with a little Keyboard Kung Fu.

Substitute the back button with this simple move

Holding your thumb on the key, tap the [ key with your index or middle finger.

Load previous webpage

Load previous webpage with Command-[

You can also go forward to the page you just left by using the Command key with the right bracket, ].

Not just for web browsers

The command-bracket key combination not only works in Safari, Chrome, Firefox or any modern web browser but it’s also very useful for navigating while in Finder.

Try it now – leave this page and go back to the previous page using [ and then go forward with ] to return to this page.

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Do you turn off your Mac when you’re not using it, or do you put it to sleep?

You are getting very sleepy

Instead of turning your Mac off it can be put to sleep so that it can be revived instantly when you next want to use it. To do so is really easy, in fact, there are several ways to put your Mac to sleep.

In the image below I show how you can hold down the key, then the key, and then the key to put your Mac to sleep.

Showing Command-Option-Eject on the keyboard

Inducing sleep with Command-Option-Eject

Putting just the display to sleep

Sometimes you might just want to put the display to sleep while the Mac continues to work. will put your Mac’s display straight to sleep, without warnings.

Additional options with Control-Eject

The combo will pop up a confirmation window that gives a few different options: Restart, Sleep, or Shutdown.
Sleep Confirmation Window on the Mac

You can go a step further and shut down the computer completely with .

Sleeping remotely

Apple Remote ControlI bought my Mac back in the days when every Mac came with an infrared remote control. I personally use the remote control many times throughout the day, mainly for audio and video and always have it on hand.

Holding down the ‘Play’ button on the remote control for a few seconds will send your Mac to sleepy bo-bos.

Visit the Keyboard Kung Fu page for more tips like this by clicking on the icon below.

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Would you like to know how to easily improve your display and sound settings?

Options Aplenty

The aptly named “option” key (the one with the ⌥ symbol) provides several options when combined with particular F keys. For example, F1 brings up the Display window of the System Settings. This is because F1 is the ‘decrease brightness’ key. Similarly, F2. is the ‘increase brightness’ key and like the F1 key, when combined with the key, brings up the system’s display settings.

Display settings screenshot with photo of Mac keyboard showing Option-F1

Change the Display settings with Option-F1

Options for Sound Effects, Output and Input

On the top-right region of the keyboard are the volume settings, F11, F12, and F13. Using the key with any of these will provide instant access to the Sound panel of the System Settings. There you can adjust your mic’s input volume, or adjust the volume of your alerts.

Sound panel of System Settings

Grasshopper to Mission Control

Mission Control is great for quickly and easily getting an overview of and access to all your open windows, your Dashboard, and all your open applications. Customising your Mission Control settings to your own choice of key triggers is just as easy.

Use the F3 or F4 keyboard combination to bring up the Mission Control settings. From here you can set what key combinations you prefer for accessing things like Mission Control, open Applications, showing Desktop or Dashboard and also for setting the Hot Corner triggers for your mouse.

Mission Control Settings



Young Caine: You cannot see.
Master Po: You think I cannot see?
Young Caine: Of all things, to live in darkness must be worst.
Master Po: Fear is the only darkness.

Master Po: Do you hear the grasshopper that is at your feet?
Young Caine: [looking down, sees the insect] Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Master Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?

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Let’s say you’ve sent a lot of files to the Trash and you would now like to empty the Trash. You probably know that you can right-click on the Trash icon and choose “Empty Trash” but did you know…yep, you guessed it, there is a keyboard shortcut for that!

Empty the Trash with Finder in focus

This is a general keyboard tip for the Operating System. That is, it applies to the Finder and will have a different effect that the one described here if you use it while using an app, such as Chrome, for example.

fingers on the command, Shift,  and Delete keys

Empty the trash with CMD-Shift-Delete.

While in the Finder, or on the Desktop, which is technically a part of Finder, put your thumb on the key and while holding it down put your index finger on the key and while holding both those down, add you middle finger to the mix by tapping it on the delete key.

Empty the Trash = delete

A small message will pop up asking you are sure you want to permanently delete the files in the Trash:

pop up confirmation message

Added Option: Permission to take out the Trash

You can bypass the need to confirm that you want to empty the Trash by adding the (option) key. It’s a bit of a handful, literally, but it is not too difficult as you can hold the key down at the same time as the key with your thumb.

Empty the trash without confirmation = delete


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You can always drag a file into the Trash, but there is a much faster and easier method of getting rid of unwanted files.

Send straight to Trash with Command-Delete

Instead of wrestling that file to the ground and dragging it into the Trash, kick that file straight into the bin using the delete combo! Just select the file by clicking on it with your mouse or using your shift and arrow keys, and then hold your right thumb on the key and tap the delete key.

Photo of hand on the keys Command and delete

Take out the Trash with Command-Delete

Command key or Apple key?

As you may have noticed in the image above, and in the previous post about selecting the URL, on some keyboards the key also has an Apple logo on it (my thumb is covering the ⌘ symbol in the photo above). To add some confusion, the Command key is sometimes referred to as the “Apple key”.

Trash files without getting your fingers dirty

The beauty of the delete combination is that, unlike the drag and drop method, you don’t have to go any where near the Trash. So if you prefer to keep your hands clean you can send unwanted files to the trash in one swift move with delete.

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