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Change Safari's back and forward keys Web Browsers
If you have a non-US keyboard, you'll find impossible to use command-[ and command-] for Back and Forward functions in Safari. The following instructions will change those keyboard shortcuts. Before messing with Safari's inner parts, be advised that alternatively you can use Delete for Back and Shift-Delete for Forward.

If you haven't done that already, you should install the latest Dev Tools (mine are not the latest; they're marked July 2002 but they worked).
  1. Quit Safari (if running).
  2. Control click or right click on the Safari icon and choose Show Package Contents.
  3. Find your way through Contents -> Resources -> English.lproj and open MainMenu.nib
  4. It will launch Interface Builder and you should have a small window called "MainMenu.nib - Main Menu" with the menu bar.
  5. Click on History, double click each keyboard shortcut and type your desired key combination for that specific shortcut.
  6. Close the MainMenu.nib document, save your changes and start Safari.

[Editor's note: Obviously, you could use this same method of changing the other keyboard shortcuts as well. I would recommend working on a backup (or having the Safari installer around), just in case something doesn't work after making your changes.]
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Change Safari's back and forward keys | 12 comments | Create New Account
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Even easier...
Authored by: Areh on Jan 13, '03 10:30:53AM

for me: Cmd + left/right cursor. I don't know whether that works with any keyboard layout but sure enough works with my german one.

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Doesn't work if a text field is selected
Authored by: snoozer on Jan 13, '03 11:04:12PM

For example, if you have the URL field selected, or if you are entering something into a form (like I'm doing right now), Command-Left and Command-Right go to the beginning and end of that text field. I was going to submit a bug that the Command-arrow keys were sometimes broken, until I realized what was going on.


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command+left/right arrows
Authored by: osxpez on Jan 13, '03 10:31:43AM

Though it seems that the default key combo of most other browsers on Mac use, cmd+arrow (left or right) works for this as well, so you shouldn't need to tamper with the default key bindings. I guess Apple understands that this part of their Human Interface Guidlines doesn't really cut it. =)

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Simply use [Apple]-[Cursor] ...
Authored by: iHank on Jan 13, '03 10:42:48AM
Nice description, but may be obsolete for desktop Macs.

Since the first public version of Safari has been released last week you may use the arrow keys instead (providing you use a full featured keyboard with a desktop Mac). Powerbook and iBook users may wish to change their settings, though. Hopefully, we will be able to do our own keyboard setting in an upcoming version of Safari (Hello, Apple, can you read me?)

[Apple] - [Cursor right] Page forward (if there is one in browser's history)
[Apple] - [Cursor left] Page backward (if ... yaddayadda)

Beste regards,


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Darn that Delete key
Authored by: thinkyhead on Jan 13, '03 02:59:51PM

I'm disabling the Delete key shortcut right away. It's all-too-easy to think you're pressing backspace in a text field or the address line and go back 5 pages before realizing. (Lack of evidence notwithstanding, some of us on the web actually do use the backspace key.)

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Darn that Delete key
Authored by: osxpez on Jan 13, '03 03:10:02PM

Certainly. IE on (at least on Windows) sometimes missunderstands a backspace in a text field as meaning "go back in browser history". This is truly annoying.

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Cycle through windows
Authored by: Azark on Jan 14, '03 12:06:12PM

Is there a shortcut to cycle through windows?
I read there's Command + ~, but this is useless on a french keyboard...
So if this shortcut exists, where can I change it to something I can use?

I already changed Command+B to open bookmarks, I just miss an easy way to cycle trough windows and Safari will be near perfect for me.
I tried to change the keyboard layout but I can't put the ~ anywhere else, tough I switched a few other keys...

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Cycle through windows
Authored by: sprockets on Jan 17, '03 03:32:37AM

I'm using a german system here and I, too, was missing that feature/shortcut. But just the other day I changed my system language to U.S. and started the Key Caps application to see where exactly the "~" is located on an american keyboard layout. It's the key next to the left shift-key.

Pressing command + that key ("<" on a german keyboard) will cycle through windows - even with a german keyboard layout/language enabled.

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Cycle through windows
Authored by: paolone on Mar 03, '04 07:48:01AM

Keyboard shortcuts to cycle trough windows in Safari:
Next tab: Shift-Cmd-RightArrow
Prev tab: Shift-Cmd-Left Arrow

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Change Safari's back and forward keys
Authored by: chueewowee on Jan 29, '09 04:58:20PM

The shift-command { binding works for me on british keyboards, and also, simply, coma and stop (, and .), which I use and find easy to execute and remember. I haven't changed the bindings.
What annoys me is the several alternative for find, which are non-intuitive, and conflict with other more usual shortcuts in OS X applications. It very annoying and happens often. I'm going to remove them. One good option would be better to avoid those mistakes, and easier to remember.

I have to deal with bindings from many applicaitons, and now I try to narrow my applicaitons down, just to avoid a terrible mind's not good for long-term consistent learning.

I speak asd someone who uses terminal apps now by choice, for email, news, and browsing (elinks - though not always ). I even snipe on ebay form the terminal. SHorcuts and regular applications are the way to go. FOr a text editor , I use textmate and that is a powerful for text and for programming. Make slife easier, BUt bindings are still hard to remember long term, because of the reasons given...too many variance.. The terminal programmes ar eslick, and highly cusomizable, designed for keyboars nteraction. `but not for the feint-hearted.

Unfortunately , pc's have been sold and taught through mouse use. It would be better for the human race if the approach was through the key board, with mouse for resizing windows and moving them, though a shortcut might be employed for that too, with vision., to grab a window and move it with the the arrows. Maybe ther eis such a facility, who knows.

Thanks for the tip.

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Change Safari's back and forward keys
Authored by: atonaldenim on Jan 26, '10 10:11:02AM

Obviously this is an old hint, but I'd like to try to disable Safari's default backspace = back button behavior. In 10.6.2 with Safari 4.0.4, double clicking on MainMenu.nib opens Interface Builder, but gives the error:

The document "MainMenu.nib" could not be opened. Interface Builder cannot open compiled nibs.
Try opening the source document instead of the compiled nib.

Is this method still possible?

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Change Safari's back and forward keys
Authored by: TJovian on Aug 04, '11 11:13:27AM

I know you posted this a while ago, but in case you haven't figured a way by now, I think you may need to have the Xcode tools installed via the Mac App store for 10.6+ in order to open/edit the file.

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