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How To Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts For Browser Actions and Extensions in Google Chrome

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Geeks love keyboard shortcuts – they can make you faster and more productive than clicking everything with your mouse. We’ve previously covered keyboard shortcuts for Chrome and other browsers, but you can assign your own custom keyboard shortcuts, too.

Google Chrome includes a built-in way to assign custom keyboard shortcuts to your browser extensions. You can also use an extension created by a Google employee to create custom keyboard shortcuts for common browser actions – and less common ones.

Image Credit: mikeropology on Flickr (modified)

Assign Keyboard Shortcuts to Extensions

Google recently added a feature that allows you to set custom keyboard shortcuts for the extensions you have installed.

You can do this from your Chrome extensions page. (Click the menu button, point to Tools, and select Extensions.) Scroll down on the extensions page and click the Configure commands link.

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Click inside the box next to an extension and press a key combination to create your keyboard shortcut.

Pressing this key combination will perform the same action that occurs when you click the extension’s icon on Chrome’s toolbar. If you’re using the keyboard shortcut to activate the extension, you can even hide an extension’s icon (by right-clicking it and clicking Hide) to free up some screen real estate.

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Create Custom Shortcuts For Browser Actions & Bookmarklets

Google Chrome includes a large amount of keyboard shortcuts, but you may want to set your own custom keyboard shortcuts. Google Chrome can’t do this out-of-the-box, but you can install the Shortcut Manager extension (made by a Google employee) to easily set your own custom keyboard shortcuts. This is a powerful extension – you can even set custom keyboard shortcuts that execute JavaScript bookmarklets on the current web page when you press the keys.

Use the Shortcut Manager icon on your toolbar after you install it to set custom keyboard shortcuts. You can enter any key combination or even use a sequential key combination – for example, if you enter g e e k, you’ll have to type geek on any website to activate your custom action.

Shortcut Manager also allows you to restrict shortcuts to specific websites, but shortcuts will work on all websites with the default settings.

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You can choose from a variety of actions for working with browser tabs, navigation, page scrolling, text entry, opening and closing windows, and more.

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If you want to do something more advanced, you can create a shortcut that executes JavaScript code on the current page by loading a specific JavaScript file or running a bookmarklet.

Bookmarklets can do anything that JavaScript on a web page can do, and the possibilities are endless  — from modifying the web page to sharing it with another online service. You’ll find some of the most useful bookmarklets here.

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After selecting an action, you’re set – you can create additional keyboard shortcuts, if you like. View your custom keyboard shortcuts by clicking the Shortcut Manager icon in the future.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 10/21/12

Comments (5)

  1. cam2644

    Is there a keyboard shortcut on Chrome that stops Google tracking you?

  2. Rizzoli

    Is there a keyboard shortcut to focus the cursor inside the search box? CTRL E is fine for regular searching through Chrome, but if you are searching from within a page (be it Google home page, Google Scholar home page, Wiki, etc), the cursor is not focused in the box (even if it looks to be). This is not corrected by ‘enable instant’. So – the hand must move to the mouse and click.Not trivial when switching and searching on numerous pages.

  3. Dheeraj Thedijje

    RIZZOLI, you can Tap F6 to focus onto Address/Search box of Google chrome, after this you can type Search engine name like Google/Yahoo/Wikipedia whatever you want to pick for search, after typing name, press tab> after this enter the search quarry this will be searched with your specified search engine,

  4. New Venture Websites

    I thought it was going to be an article on how to program it into the site so that people can navigate your site via keyboard shortcuts.

  5. Rizzoli

    Dheeraj Thedijje: thank you! that is a workaround I didn’t know about. I also noticed that I can add scholar.google.com etc to the custom search engines and it comes up more rapidly. Many thanks!

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