How to Enable CMD + n Shortcuts in Safari for Easy Tab Switching

OS X’s Safari has quite a few advantages over Chrome, but we miss Chrome’s ability to switch tabs using “Command + #”. Thankfully, we’ve found a solution, which will enable Chrome-like tab keyboard shortcuts in Safari.

It’s not that Chrome is bad, it’s still right up there with the rest of the browsers that aren’t Internet Explorer, but on OS X, it’s a notorious battery hog. Safari, being native to OS X, doesn’t have this problem.

We see what you’re doing Chrome!

Plus, Safari has a few nice features that Chrome doesn’t, such as the ability to save web pages to a reading list and subscribe to RSS news feeds.

But, if you’re a steady Chrome user, then cold switching to Safari may be a bit of an adjustment. One of the things that we miss the most when we use Safari are Chrome’s tab keyboard shortcuts.

For example, say you have a bunch of tabs open and you want to quickly switch between them. On Chrome, you can switch between up to nine open tabs using the hot-key combination “Command + #”. So, “Command + 1” for Tab 1, “Command + 2” for Tab 2, etc.

On Safari, the default behavior is to open the first nine Bookmark Bar links.

“Command + #” will open the first 9 Bookmark Bar favorites on Safari, which in our opinion is not very useful.

We found a neat little hack, however, that rebinds those “Command + #” keys from Safari’s Bookmark Bar favorites to its tabs. It also gives you the ability to reopen the most recently closed tab (but just one) using “Command + Shift + T”.

The Safari Tab Switching plugin is a simple package you can install in just a few minutes. To do so, you first need to download the SafariTabSwitching.zip file.

With the file downloaded, make sure Safari isn’t running. If it is running, use the “File” menu or “Command + Q” to completely quit it.

Unpack the Safari Tab Switching plugin and double-click on the resulting plugin package file. The first thing that will most likely happen is you will see an error dialog.

Never fear, if you see this, it means your system security preferences are set correctly. Click “OK” and open your system’s “Security & Privacy” preferences to the “General” tab.

You see that our system will only allow apps from the Mac App Store and identified developers. To change this we’d have to click the lock and enter our system password, and then change it to “Anywhere.”

Of course, then we need to change it back as soon as we’ve installed the Safari plugin (or any other unidentified app). That said, you should be able to click the “Open Anyway” button to install the Safari Tab Switching plugin this one time. We recommend this in lieu of changing your security settings.

You will know you’re good-to-go when you see the plugin’s installer pop open.

From here, continue through the installation process and when prompted, enter your system password to completely install the Safari Tab Switching plugin.

Once everything is complete, reopen Safari and a bunch of tabs (up to nine) and try “Command + #” to  see if it works. Close a tab and try “Command + Shift + T” as well – just remember, if you close more than one tab, only the most recent can be restored.

If you ever want to uninstall the Safari Tab Switching plugin, open the Terminal and use the following command (you can just paste it so you don’t make a mistake):

sudo rm -r “/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins/SafariTabSwitching.bundle”

Note, when you execute this command, you will again have to enter your system password to approve the action.

As we’ve discussed before, keyboard shortcuts and the ability to change them are one of OS X’s true strengths. Adding these tab keyboard shortcuts to Safari moves it one step closer to being our everyday browser on OS X.

As such, we hope this article has been useful to anyone using Safari. If you have any questions or comments you would like to offer, please leave your feedback in our discussion forum.

Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and dyed-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.