Chrome Shortcuts: Everything You Needed to Know

Chrome has an extensive number of shortcuts, but did you know that you can edit, add, and remove them based on your preferences? We’ll show you how.

Published Categorized as Tech & Apps

Keyboard shortcuts or short keys, make it easier to navigate and handle mundane tasks. If I’m going to be using a new program a lot, I usually take the time to learn the new shortcuts to save my right index finger a million clicks.

To be honest with you, in the old days, I uncovered a lot of Google’s shortcuts by just having clumsy fingers and repeating the action!

In front of you, there’s an entire keyboard of buttons, a good few you probably rarely touch. You don’t just need to point and click to get what you want, which often means dragging the mouse here and there. Modern keyboards typically have up to 105 buttons—a mouse just has two.

I think of learning keyboard shortcuts as the next stage of touch typing. Using them will increase your productivity (and you’ll feel super smart for doing it).

Note: This article is about Google Chrome keyboard shortcuts! Not the shortcuts that appear when you open Google Chrome that take you to different sites.

Chrome Shortcuts for Mac, Windows & Linux

Chrome features a lot of shortcuts and they’re not likely to change any time soon unless we completely rewrite the rules on web browsers. For Windows and Linux, Chrome shortcuts are the same, for Mac, there are a few differences.

Here are Google Chrome’s most common shortcuts for PC and Mac according to their support documentation (check the link for the full list):

ActionPCMac
New windowCtrl + n⌘ + n
New window in Incognito modeCtrl + Shift + n⌘ + Shift + n
New tabCtrl + t⌘ + t
Reopen previously closed tabsCtrl + Shift + t⌘ + Shift + t
Go to next open tabCtrl + Tab or Ctrl + PgDn⌘ + Option + Right arrow
Go to previous open tabCtrl + Shift + Tab or Ctrl + PgUp⌘ + Option + Left arrow
Go to a specific tabCtrl + 1 through Ctrl + 8⌘ + 1 through ⌘ + 8
Go to the last tabCtrl + 9⌘ + 9
Show/hide Bookmark barCtrl + Shift + b⌘ + Shift + b
Open Bookmark ManagerCtrl + Shift + o⌘ + Option + b
History page (new tab)Ctrl + h⌘ + y
Downloads page (new tab)Ctrl + j⌘ + Shift + j
Chrome Task ManagerShift + Esc(Not available for Mac)
Print current pageCtrl + p⌘ + p
Save current pageCtrl + s⌘ + s
Reload the current page(For Mac, this ignores cached content)F5 or Ctrl + r⌘ + Shift + r
Full-screen mode on/offF11⌘ + Ctrl + f
Zoom inCtrl and +⌘ and +
Zoom outCtrl and –⌘ and –
Default zoomCtrl + 0⌘ + 0

Some you won’t remember—you won’t use them enough. But the ones you do remember will make work feel so much easier.

This list doesn’t include video shortcuts, but these often vary on the player you are using. You can check out YouTube’s shortcuts here. Many of YouTube’s shortcuts also work on other players, but not all.

Note: On many new laptops today, the function keys have been swapped for other keys for the laptop, for example, sound, brightness, and airplane mode. And so, to access F1 to F12, you’ll also need to press the ‘fn’ button.

If you’re still looking to make browsing more efficient on Google Chrome, you can check out their ‘Tips and shortcuts for better browsing’ page. It shows you how to group and organize tabs, customize the browser, and find things faster.

How to Edit and Add Chrome Shortcuts

You don’t necessarily have to accept Chrome’s shortcuts. You may be used to another browser that you think is better. Maybe a certain shortcut is difficult for your hands or keyboard or your keyboard has a few broken buttons that you can’t afford to fix it right now.

Unfortunately, you cannot customize Chrome’s shortcuts through the settings, however, you can use an extension like Shortkeys (Custom Keyboard Shortcuts).

Shortkeys (Custom Keyboard Shortcuts) extension in the Chrome Web Store.

It allows you to create your own shortcuts for Chrome, choosing the combination you wish to use and choosing the action it should do.

There are several other extensions like this one in the Chrome Web Store. Have a good look at them before deciding which to use as not all the reviews are perfect. Some complain that certain shortcuts don’t work or that certain changes are irreversible.

Shortcuts for Chrome Extensions

You can also add shortcuts to your extensions to get them up when you need them. Click on the extensions button on the top right (the one shaped like a puzzle piece). Click ‘Manage extensions,’ and this will take you to all your extensions on Chrome. 

Click on the three lines on the top left and then ‘Keyboard shortcuts’ and in the following window, you can create shortcuts for your active extensions, most of which are to activate the extension. You can of course come back at any time and change or remove these shortcuts.

Example of two extensions for Chrome without keyboard shortcuts.

How to Disable Chrome Shortcuts

If you absolutely loathe shortcuts and keep accidentally opening or closing features and have no idea why you could always just disable them. Here’s how you can disable Google Chrome’s shortcuts.

Just like editing or adding Chrome shortcuts, you also need to get an extension to disable them too. At the time of writing, there appears to be only one extension for this, aptly named Disable keyboard shortcuts.

Disable keyboard shortcuts extension shown in the Chrome Web Store.

Once added to Google Chrome, you can start selecting the shortcuts you wish to disable.

Why Are My Chrome Shortcuts Not Working?

Shortcuts, like other functionalities, can sometimes stop working and there are a variety of reasons why this might happen.

Before you panic, first double-check the shortcut you’re trying to use and double-check that you’re pressing the right keys. It may sound silly, but you’d be surprised. (I’ve done this plenty of times.)

If you’re totally sure the problem is not you, close and reopen Chrome. It may be the case that something went wrong, and the browser simply needs to restart. Before doing this, you can also clear your cookies and disable extensions (some can take up a lot of processing power).

If you still don’t have your Shortcuts back, Vaibhav of Techwiser has several other options you can try:

  • Change your default browser to Edge and then back to Chrome.
  • Check your new tab settings.
  • Re-install Chrome.
  • Try a different browser.
  • Try performance mode (if you have it).
  • Change your keyboard language.

Shortcuts for Google Docs

I use Google Docs and Word regularly, and I must admit Google Docs’ shortcuts make it far easier to use. The easiest way to find Google Docs’ shortcuts is to press ctrl + /. Unsurprisingly, there are some differences between Mac and PC.

A full list of Google Docs shortcuts is also available in their support documentation here. Meanwhile, here are Google Docs’ most common keyboard shortcuts for PC and Mac:

ActionPCMac
CopyCtrl + C⌘ + C
CutCtrl + XX
PasteCtrl + V⌘ + V
Paste without formattingCtrl + Shift + V⌘ + Shift + V
UndoCtrl + Z⌘ + z
RedoCtrl + Shift + ZShift + Z
Insert or edit linkCtrl + K⌘ + K
Open linkAlt + EnterOption + Enter
Show common keyboard shortcutsCtrl + /⌘ + /
SaveEvery change is automatically saved in DriveCtrl + S⌘ + S
PrintCtrl + P⌘ + P
OpenCtrl + O⌘ + O
FindCtrl + F⌘ + F
Find and replaceCtrl + H⌘ + Shift + H
Find againCtrl + G⌘ + G
Find previousCtrl + Shift + G⌘ + Shift + G
Hide the menus (compact mode)Ctrl + Shift + FCtrl + Shift + F
Insert page breakCtrl + Enter⌘ + Enter
Search the menusAlt + /Alt + Shift + zGoogle Chrome: Alt + zOption + /Ctrl + Option + Z
Repeat last actionCtrl + Y⌘ + Y
Switch to editingCtrl + Alt + Shift + Z⌘ + Option + Shift + Z
Switch to suggestingCtrl + Alt + Shift + X⌘ + Option + Shift + X
Switch to viewingCtrl + Alt + Shift + C⌘ + Option + Shift + C

There is one general Chrome shortcut that I use a lot for Google Docs and that’s F11—this makes the window full-screen. I usually do this on a second screen with Google Docs for better focus and to take up more of my screen real estate.

Shortcuts for Google Drive

If you’re an avid user of Google products, a good grasp of Google Drive’s keyboard shortcuts will also be beneficial to know, especially if you need to sort many files. They are a little different from Chrome’s regular shortcuts and Google Docs in that they rely less on the Control or ⌘ button.

Here are Google Drive’s most common shortcuts for PC and Mac, taken from their documentation (again, check the link for the full list):

ActionPC & Mac
Go to navigation panel (folders list)g then ng then f
Go to items viewg then l
Switch between grid and list in items viewv
Go to the details paneg then d
Open selected itemEnter
Rename selected itemn
Share selected items. (dot)
Move selected items to a new folderz
Star or unstar selected itemss
Create shortcuts to selected itemsShift + z
DocumentShift + t
PresentationShift + p
SpreadsheetShift + s
DrawingShift + d
FolderShift + f
FormShift + o

By Craig Britton

Jack of all trades on writing-related topics with extensive experience in copywriting.

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