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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts System
In OS X, you can change Spaces, apps, and windows with the keyboard. What's missing? An easy way to globally navigate tabs in a Web browser, Terminal window, or other tabbed program. Many programs come with a keyboard shortcut to change tabs, but they vary by program and are frequently hard to reach. The solution: use System Preferences to change the shortcut to a single, easy-to-reach command for all programs.

I'll go through the steps of creating a shortcut for Apple's Safari browser. Other programs work the same way.

  1. Open System Preferences and go to the Keyboard Shortcuts tab of the Keyboard Pane. Click Application Shortcuts in the list on the left, and then the [+] button to add a new shortcut.
  2. Open the application you want to create a shortcut for, and find the Menu Bar commands to switch tabs (usually in the Window menu). Remember exactly what they are called. In Safari, they are Select Next Tab and Select Previous Tab.
  3. Back in System Preferences, set the Application menu to the app you want the shortcut to apply to (in this case, Safari). Type the name of the command to go to the next tab (in this case, Select Next Tab). Select the Keyboard Shortcut: field and press your desired shortcut. In my case, I used Command-Period. Click Add to make your new shortcut.
  4. Do the same thing for the Select Previous Tab command (for Safari), and set it to another shortcut. I used Command-Comma. Because Command-Comma is already used for Preferences, I created a new (global, all applications) shortcut for the Preferences... command with the shortcut Shift-Command-Comma.
Now try out your commands in Safari (restarting Safari shouldn't be necessary). Open a few tabs and press Command-Comma and Command-Period to cycle through tabs, left and right respectively. If you're at the first tab and press Command-Comma, you are taken to the last tab; you'll go to the first tab from the last with Command-Period.

Complete this process with other tabbed programs you use, such as Chrome, Firefox, other browsers, Terminal, and anything else that has a menu bar command to change tabs.

These shortcuts are very easy to hit, but can take a little getting used to. It's worth it! It takes very little time to use these combinations, especially compared to the mouse or trackpad.

[robg adds: This is a semi-obvious but great idea, and you can extend it beyond tabs. I've set the same shortcuts to switch between open documents in BBEdit, for instance. Personally, I wouldn't choose Command-Period and Command-Comma, because both have other meanings in various programs. I've used Command-Option and the Left/Right arrow keys, which is still fairly easy to type and very easy to remember.]
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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts | 16 comments | Create New Account
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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: asmeurer on Mar 31, '10 08:09:19AM

I've got BetterTouch Tool set to have three finger swipes switch tabs or the equivalent in every relevant program that I use.



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: LimitlessX72 on Mar 31, '10 09:18:13AM

and I have 1 finger tip tapin JiTouch to do that, I use 3 finger swipe to move back and fourth in movement histories.

But I still use the keyboard a lot depending where my hands are, I mostly set cmd [ ] to switch tabs back and fourth except TextMate uses that for something else completely and haven't got round to change them.

I miss using [ ] but it makes sense

Edited on Mar 31, '10 09:42:09AM by LimitlessX72



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: wrg007 on Mar 31, '10 09:44:10AM

I personally can't think of a single tabbed program that I use that does not use Command-Shift-[ and ] for tab switching. And that includes Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Terminal, and everything else I can think of. It's the de-facto Mac standard. My fingers are so programmed to use this that I can't conceive of using a different shortcut to navigate tabs. If I do come across a program I have to use without those shortcuts, I'll use this hint to add them! :)



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: TvE on Apr 01, '10 11:30:23AM

Well - this must depend a lot if you're using a US keyboard or something from a different country.

Using a danish keyboard the above is not quite true…



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: sjk on Apr 02, '10 03:20:38PM
I personally can't think of a single tabbed program that I use that does not use Command-Shift-[ and ] for tab switching. And that includes Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Terminal, and everything else I can think of.
Camino is the most obvious app to me that doesn't use those shortcuts for Next/Previous Tab. Can't find something I read a few months ago explaining the reason.

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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: krsmes on Mar 31, '10 09:52:15AM

Firefox and Chrome both default to Cmd-Alt-Left and Cmd-Alt-Right. I've added those as the shortcuts for both Safari and Terminal and it saved me a lot "fidgeting"



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: frank_martin on Mar 31, '10 11:51:14AM

SafariStand lets you set the "," and "." keys to select the previous and next tabs in Safari, respectively. The checkbox is in Stand menu > SafariStand Setting... > Key Action.

SafariStand is free at:

http://hetima.com/safari/stand-e.html



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: ragmaxone on Mar 31, '10 12:46:37PM

I have Safari in french and it doesn't work ...

The functions are "Sélectionner l'onglet suivant" and "Sélectionner l'onglet précédent".
I chose the "cmd+opt+right/left arrow", restarted Safari and it doesn't work.
I also tried to set the english version of the functions but still the same.

Safari and Mac OS X are up to date on my machine.



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: LimitlessX72 on Apr 01, '10 01:22:00AM

your probably having problems with the special characters (the ones with hyphens on), they have to be exactly the same or it won't work



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: ragmaxone on Apr 01, '10 05:08:52AM

I checked ten times if it was the same.
I do not know any other way to type these special characters :o/



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: rooma on Jun 18, '10 07:15:14AM

Actually it comes from the apostrophe character, which must not be the standard vertical apostrophe but a 'right single quotation mark' (Unicode U+2019). You can type this character with a french keyboard using opt+shift+4.



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: VSB on Mar 31, '10 04:00:07PM

This hint isn't new to me. But I've been trying to find a way of changing Firefox's default tab selection for years. Can anyone tell me where the equivalent to Safari's "Select Next Tab" is in Firefox's menu bar? I never managed to find it... Or in Opera.
Either I'm not seeing something or this hint only works in Safari.

(I'm using the last version of Firefox for Mac)



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: nathanator11 on Mar 31, '10 06:55:39PM

I can't speak for Firefox, but in Opera, I can't find this command, either.

It seems likely that Firefox has it; check in the Window menu.



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: LimitlessX72 on Apr 01, '10 01:17:29AM

you need to install the keyconfig extension, as FireFox isn't a true blue Mac application

then press something odd like ctrl shift F12 to bring up the keyboard shortcut settings



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: pingfreak on Aug 25, '10 11:40:34AM

im using total finder on imac21.5 inch
does it work for total finder to
i'm new on mac!!



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Create global tab-changing keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: pingfreak on Aug 29, '10 09:23:50AM

hi find out it does on several apps like adium,safari ...
i use option-right arrow and option-left arrow to switch between tabs
nice hint you put here
grts a mac learning newby



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