Keyboard Shortcuts for the Safari Bookmarks Toolbar

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Safari Preferences Favorites and Tab Shortcut Options screenshot


Accessing your favorite websites in Safari can be as easy as typing the command key followed by a number. Before you start using these bookmark and tab shortcuts, there are a few things to know first.

The screenshots here were taken in Safari 12.

Safari Bookmark Shortcuts

Safari has supported bookmark shortcuts for quite a while. Starting with OS X El Capitan and Safari 9, though, Apple changed the default behavior for the keyboard shortcuts used to access websites saved to the Bookmarks toolbar.

Safari Bookmarks and Favorites
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

Apple dropped support for using keyboard shortcuts to jump to websites you've stored on the Bookmarks toolbar. Instead, using the same keyboard shortcuts now controls Safari’s Tabs toolbar. You can change the default behavior of the keyboard shortcuts to use them the way you wish.

You can access up to nine URLs in the Safari Bookmarks toolbar without ever touching the toolbar.

  • Safari's Bookmarks bar lists websites you've saved there for occasional future reference.
  • The Favorites bar runs across the top of the Safari window to show site shortcuts you want to have available at all times.

Organization Is the Key

Before you give these keyboard shortcuts a workout, take some time to look at your Bookmarks toolbar and rearrange or organize it if necessary.

This tip only works for individual websites stored on your Bookmarks toolbar, not with any folders that contain websites.

For example, let's say the first item on your Bookmarks toolbar is a folder called News, which contains your favorite news sites. That folder and all of the bookmarks within it would be ignored by the keyboard shortcuts for accessing the Bookmarks toolbar. Consider a Bookmarks toolbar that looked like this:

  • News (folder)
  • Apple (folder)
  • Google Maps (site)
  • About Macs (site)
  • Banking (folder)
  • Facebook (site)

Only the three bookmarks that directly point to a website would be accessible by the keyboard shortcut. The three folders on the Bookmarks toolbar would be ignored, leading to Google Maps being the first usable bookmark via keyboard shortcut, followed by About Mac and Facebook.

To take best advantage of the keyboard shortcuts for accessing bookmarked sites, you may want to move all of your individual websites to the left side of the Bookmarks toolbar, and your folders to the bottom, after your favorite websites.

Using the Keyboard Shortcuts

To access these shortcuts, hold the command key followed by a number from 1 to 9, which gives you access to the first nine websites in the Favorites toolbar. For example, command + 1 (the command key plus the number 1) brings up the first site on the left in the Bookmarks toolbar; press command + 2 to access the second site from the left in the Bookmarks toolbar, and so on.

Place the sites you visit most often with the keyboard shortcuts as the first entries in the Bookmarks toolbar to make accessing them easier.

Regaining Keyboard Shortcut Access

Safari 9, released with OS X El Capitan and available as a download for OS X Yosemite, changed how the command+number keyboard shortcut works. Instead of giving you quick access to the websites on your Favorites toolbar, Safari 9 and later uses these keyboard shortcuts to access tabs you have open on the Tabs toolbar.

Although it's not listed in the Safari documentation, you can use a variation of the command+number shortcut. Simply add the option key to the shortcut (command+option+number) to switch between sites listed in the Favorites toolbar.

Even better, you can change between the two options, using command+number for whichever item you wish to control (tabs or favorite sites), and command+option+number for the other.

Change Safari Preferences to Alter Shortcut Assignment

By default, Safari 9 and later is configured to use the keyboard shortcuts for switching tabs, but you can change to switching favorites by using Safari’s Preferences settings.

  1. Launch Safari 9 or later.

  2. From the Safari menu, select Preferences.

    Safari Preference
  3. In Preferences, select Tabs.

    Safari Preferences > Tabs
  4. Remove the checkmark from Use ⌘-1 through ⌘-9 to switch tabs. The command+number keyboard shortcut returns to switching among websites on the Favorites toolbar.

  5. Close Preferences.