Internet Explorer 9 Improved for Keyboard Researchers

Windows 7 users can upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer and those of you who rely on your keyboard may want to do so. There are some standard conventions for Web browsers and versions previous to IE9 have not always implemented them the same way as Firefox and Chrome. Or any other Web browser.

My biggest pet peeve was getting to the location bar. In IE8, you can click into the location bar to type a Web address. You can also send a search query to your default search by typing a question mark followed by your query: ? where’s waldo. But if you hit the key combination of CTRL L, you would not place the cursor in the location bar. Instead, Internet Explorer would open a small dialogue box. You could then type in the URL or search. But since it took you off your Web browser, you could not tab across to the search box or to other elements of your browser. The dialog box was also a lot smaller, so you couldn’t always take advantage of your URL history, which popped up to remind you where you had visited in the past.

IE9 uses many of the other standard key combinations. Now you can use these no matter which browser you use:

  • CTRL L: get to the location bar. In IE, add a question mark for a search. In Firefox and Chrome, just type the search and it will automatically treat is a a search.
  • CTRL T: open a new tab
  • CTRL TAB: move between tabs
  • CTRL D: create a bookmark or favorite
  • CTRL F4: close a tab

There are many other hotkeys you can use in your Web browser of choice, but I am looking forward to being able to move more seamlessly between browsers. Of course, I will have to wait until we upgrade from Windows XP!

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