Tech Tip: Let Your Fingers Do the Walking (Back)


Q. Is there any way to set up a keyboard “back” action in my browser instead of finding and hitting the “back” button on the screen with the mouse?


Keyboard shortcuts may vary, but try pressing the Alt and Left Arrow keys on a Windows PC, left, or the Command and Left Bracket keys on a Mac, right, to make the web browser go back to the previous page on your screen.

The New York Times

A. Most web browsers have a large collection of keyboard shortcuts already built into the program — including one that lets you flip back through previous pages in your current web-browsing history. The shortcuts you use to go back a page vary depending on your operating system, keyboard and browser software of choice, but many Windows browsers respond when you are on a page and press the Alt and Left Arrow keys (or the Backspace key). Mac users can often shortcut the Back button’s function by pressing the Command and Left Bracket keys.

Paging forward through your browsing history can typically be done by pressing the Alt and Right Arrow keys on a Windows computer, or the Command and Right Bracket keys on a Mac. Most browsers have at least a few dozen keyboard shortcuts you can use to navigate the web without having to grab the mouse.

You can jump between tabs, scroll through pages and zoom in on the screen, all from the keyboard. To see the list of keyboard shortcuts for your preferred browser, check its Help menu or the support area of the maker’s website. Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and the Opera browser all have keyboard-shortcut guides on their sites with the combinations that work for them.

Microsoft’s site has a list of keyboard shortcuts for the Windows operating system, as does Apple, for its Mac operating system; Linux distributions like Mint and Ubuntu also list their shortcuts online. You can also find the equivalent keystrokes listed next to items in system menus.

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