Web browsers: power tips for Safari users

By Grant Jacobs 06/07/2010

As a bit of trivia, here are a few random tips I’ve garnered while using Safari. Share your own in the comments. You’re welcome to add features from other web browsers (I encourage people to use different browsers for different tasks). Some of my tips may work with other browsers, try them just in case: I haven’t time to check.

Dealing with long pull-down menus

Click on the pull-down menu, then navigate it using the keyboard.

The page up/down do what you’d hope they do, page your way through the list.

You can type the first few letters of the entry you are seeking to jump straight to that entry.

Press return to select the item.

(I use this sort of thing to navigate the scienceblogs pull-down menu of all their blogs. It’s so long, that i reaches past the bottom of the screen! Selecting from a list of countries is another example where this happens.)

Moving between tabs

Use control-tab or shift-command-right-arrow to move to the tab to the right of the current tab; to move left use either shift-control-tab or shift-command-left-arrow.

This will cycle around the tabs in modulo fashion, which is a fancy way saying that when you reach the last (first) tab in a window, it’ll move to the first (last).

Copying links

Drag and dropping links onto text will paste the URLs of the links into the text.

Sometimes you need to copy an URL to text. If you drag a link, Mac OS X will recognise if the dragged link is over a input text context; if you let go of the mouse at that point it will paste the text of the URL into the document or text box.


Rather than selecting the URL in the address bar, drag the small icon immediately to the left of the URL: it’ll cause the URL to be selected with a single click. This is the icon within the address bar, the one with the green tick in the example using ResearchBlogging above, not the ‘add bookmark’ button with it’s plus symbol to the left of the address bar.

Just clicking (not dragging) this icon will cause the URL to be selected.

(I use this tip to place URLs in the WordPress link creation textbox and to make lists of URLs in text documents.)

Creating links in the WordPress editor

Cunning trick this. See that list of links to other articles on Code for life, below?

I make them manually, but they’re not so hard to do.

If you drag then drop a link into the WordPress editor, rather than pasting text of the URL for the link,  the completed link will be pasted, all ready to go.

For example, if I already have a link elsewhere reading ’Blogimmuniqué: who are you?’, drag’n’droping the link into the editor will create a ready-to-roll copy of the link.


Resizing text boxes

It’s frustrating having to write into tiny text boxes, eh?

Look to the bottom-right of a text-box. If it has a resizing handle, you can re-size the text-box. See the snapshot to the right: the resize handle is right in the bottom-right corner marked by the diagonal lines.

Your own

Share other usability tips you have for your web browser below. Don’t limit yourself to Safari, if that’s your inclination. I probably have a few more that have slipped my mind…

Other articles on Code for life:

Blogimmuniqué: who are you? (Join in the community and share what you’d like)

Boney lumps, linkage analysis and whole genome sequencing (Whole genome sequence offers opportunities to improve how we find the causes of genetic disease, here applied to the genetic cause of inheritance of bone spur growth)

Describe your fantasy institute (Tell everyone what you’d like to see in your ultimate research institute, one that you run!)

Royal Society publishing free to read, 1665 – today (Don’t miss out, this is only to the end of the month)

From the science blogosphere (Recent bits’n’bobs for fun reading)

0 Responses to “Web browsers: power tips for Safari users”

  • To move left and right between open tabs, I’ve got used to using command-shift-[ and command-shift-] — the combination seems to fall under my fingers more easily.

    Safari’s Web Inspector (under the Develop menu – if you haven’t got a Develop menu, go to preferences – advanced and tick the box) is very similar to the Firebug extension for Firefox, and allows you to analyse the way a web page is built. I’m no developer, but I do find it a useful tool.

  • It‘s like that, eh? You look at the written key combination and think “what the…”, but when you try them they’re much more workable they look written down.

    One of too many tips I didn’t put in is that shift-option-command-V will paste contents, matching the style of what they are being pasted into, rather than the style they originally had. The key combination looks frightening when written, but it’s natural when you try it (although I guess purists would object to the moving the right hand past the centre of the keyboard).

    I left developer features out, but you’re right they’re useful. I might do a round-up of developer features once I’ve finished the couple of web-interfaces I’ve got to build. (I get to wear a lot of hats…) Most browsers now have their own collection of developer features that let you browse the DOM, inspect the CSS being used, etc.

  • thanks for the tips… I’m finding “xmarks” (www.xmarks.com/) very useful for synchronising my bookmarks between my work desktop (I use Safari on OS 10.6) and home laptop (OS 10.4 so xmarks doesn’t work with Safari, but works fine with Firefox).