Control Safari Windows With Keyboard Shortcuts

Use your keyboard to control Safari windows and links

Safari Tab Preferences
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

Safari, Apple's web browser, has supported multi-window and tabbed browsing for some time, but many of its users aren't quite sure how to control when or how tabs or windows are created. You can always right-click on a link on a page and, from the pop-up menu, select the option to open the link in a tab or new window, but this can be cumbersome at times. Here's an easier way to do it.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Controlling Windows and Tabs

Open a New Tab (Command + T): Opens a new tab with a blank page.

Switch to Next Tab (Control + Tab): Moves you to the next tab to the right and makes it active.

Switch to Previous Tab (Control + Shift + Tab): Moves you to the tab to the left, making it active.

Close Current Tab (Command + W): Closes the current tab and moves to the next tab on the right.

Re-Open Closed Tab (Command + Z): reopens the last closed tab (this is also the general undo command).

Command + Click Shortcuts

Command + click in Safari can perform two different functions, depending on how the tab preferences in Safari are set. That makes describing what the command + click keyboard shortcuts will do a bit difficult. To try to make this as simple as possible, I’m going to list the shortcuts twice, showing what they will do depending on how the tab preference is set:

Safari Tab Preference Set to: Command + Click Opens a Link in a New Tab

Open a Link in a New Background Tab (Command + Click): The link will open in a new Safari tab in the background, keeping the current tab as the active tab.

Open a Link in a New Foreground Tab (Command + Shift + Click): The addition of the shift key to this shortcut causes the newly opened tab to become the focus of the Safari browser.

Open a Link in a New Background Window (Command + Option + Click): Adding the option key to this shortcut tells Safari to perform the opposite of the tab preferences setting.

In this case, instead of opening a link in a new background tab, it will open in a new background window.

Open Link in New Foreground Window (Command + Option + Shift + Click). Simultaneously press and hold the command, option, and shift keys, and click the link to open it in a new foreground window.

Safari Tab Preference Set to: Command + Click Opens a Link in a New Window

Open a Link in a New Background Window (Command + Click): The link will open in a new Safari window in the background, keeping the current window as the active window.

Open a Link in a New Foreground Window (Command + Shift + Click): The addition of the shift key to this shortcut causes the newly opened window to become the focus of the Safari browser.

Open a Link in a New Background Tab (Command + Option + Click): Adding the option key to this shortcut tells Safari to perform the opposite of the tab preferences setting. In this case, instead of a link opening in a new background window, it will open in a new background tab.

Open Link in New Foreground Tab (Command + Option + Shift + Click). Simultaneously press and hold the command, option, and shift keys, and click the link to open the selection in a new foreground tab.

Moving Around Pages

Scroll Up or Down Line-by-Line (Up/Down Arrows): Move up or down a web page in small increments.

Scroll Left or Right (Left/Right Arrows): Move left or right on a web page in small increments.

Scroll Down By Page (Spacebar) or (Option + Down arrow): Moves the Safari display down by one full screen.

Scroll Up By Page (Shift + Spacebar) or (Option + Up arrow): Moves the Safari display up by one full screen.

Jump to the Top or Bottom of a Page (Command + Up or Down arrow) Moves directly to the top or bottom of the current page.

Go to the Home Page (Command + Home key): Goes to the Home page.

If you didn't set a Homepage in Safari's preferences, this key combination won't do anything.

Go Back to Previous Web Page (Command + [ ): Same as the Back menu command, or the back arrow in Safari.

Go Forward a Web Page (Command + ] ): Same as the Forward menu command, or the forward arrow in Safari.

Move Cursor to Address Bar (Command + L): Moves the cursor to the address bar with the current content selected.

Keyboard Information

Not sure which keys are the command, option, or control keys? We've got you covered. Say Hello to Your Mac's Keyboard Modifier Keys will help you find the appropriate key no matter what type of keyboard you're using.