Keyboard Shortcuts for the Safari Bookmarks Toolbar

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The Ultimate Guide to Keyboard Shortcuts
The Ultimate Guide to Keyboard Shortcuts
Introduction

The Safari web browser makes it easy to access your favorite websites via keyboard shortcuts on Mac. It's supported this feature for quite a while. Starting with OS X El Capitan and Safari 9, though, Apple changed the way those keyboard shortcuts work by default. We explain it all below and show you how you can use those shortcuts for your favorites again.

The following guide applies to Safari 9 and higher.

How to Use Safari's Keyboard Shortcuts

If you hold down the Command key and press a number from one to nine, you can switch between the different tabs currently open on your browser. Before the launch of Safari 9, these shortcuts were used to access websites saved to your Favorites. For example, Command + 1 brought up the first site on the left in the Bookmarks toolbar; Command + 2 accessed the second site from the left, and so on.

How to Enable Safari Favorites Keyboard Shortcuts

If you want to use keyboard shortcuts for your favorites instead of your tabs, you need to change how they work in the browser's settings. Here's how:

  1. Launch Safari.

  2. Select Safari, then Preferences.

    A screenshot of Safari with the Preferences menu item highlighted
  3. Select Tabs.

    The Tabs heading in Safari preferences
  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.

    The "Use Command-1" option
  5. Close Preferences.

Organization Is the Key

Safari's keyboard shortcuts let you access up to nine URLs. Before you give them a workout, though, take some time to look at your Favorites and rearrange or organize them if necessary.

Keyboard shortcuts only work for individual websites, not with any folders that contain websites. For example, let's say the first item on your Favorites is a folder called News, which contains your preferred news sites. That folder and all of the bookmarks within it would be ignored by the keyboard shortcuts. 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 are accessible via keyboard shortcuts. The three folders on the Bookmarks toolbar are ignored. With this in mind, you may want to move all of your individual websites to the left side of the Bookmarks toolbar, while moving your folders to the right.