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A handy Safari keyboard shortcut for Google searches


Here I go again, professing my love for keyboard shortcuts. I have shortcuts and hotkeys for just about everything I do on a daily basis. I'm running out of intuitive combinations, actually, but my muscle memory seems to have room for a few more. There's one shortcut, though, that I think every Safari user -- keyboard-obsessed or not -- really should know about.

If you have a Mac, and forgive my bold assumption that you do, you already have your own copy of Safari's lesser-known keyboard shortcuts on your drive. It's buried inside of the Safari application bundle, but you can reach it directly from a Web browser (Safari or not) at file:///Applications/ Clicking that link should take you directly there, if you have a current version of Safari. The particular keyboard shortcut I'm referring to is Command-Option-S, the shortcut for Search Results SnapBack.

You may not have heard of this command before; it's been sitting in the History menu for a while, but it hasn't ever made a huge splash. It lets you travel multiple pages in from a Google search result, and when you hit the end of the line and don't find what you need, you just use Search Results SnapBack to go right back to the last search results page. It's not as elaborate as the original version of SnapBack found in earlier versions of Safari, and it only seems to work with Google, but for my needs, it's very handy. If you combine the Command-Option-S shortcut with gleeBox (which we mentioned very recently) and Google's keyboard shortcuts experiment (I think you have to be logged in to access that), you can navigate an entire search session from the keyboard.

Granted, keyboard-only solutions aren't always faster than purely mouse-based solutions, and Web surfing is one area in particular where the mouse is generally the preferred tool. I'd probably be willing to challenge someone to a mouse vs. keyboard race sometime, but this is really a matter of preference more than speed. Of course, the Search Results SnapBack menu command is always available to mouse users.

We mentioned the SnapBack Extension, which recreates the original SnapBack functionality, back in August. The download page for the SnapBack extension seems to be offline, however, and I haven't had much luck with it recently, so I'll make do with the built-in feature for now. What tricks speed up your Web searches (in Safari or any browser)? Let us know in the comments!

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