Using Google Without a Mouse

This is part of a series of articles about how I’m trying to reform my bad keyboarding habits as a result of Repetitive Strain Injury. Other articles in this series can be found here. Other articles about demousification can be found here.


TL;DR - Navigating through Google search results with the keyboard means hitting the Tab key over and over and over again.

I just went to Google and did a search for “Repetitive Strain Injury”. To go to the first search result requires hitting the Tab key 15 times.

That clearly sucks.

Fortunately, if you use Chrome or Firefox, there’s a great extension you can get that will allow you to navigate much better. I installed it immediately.

The Google Search Navigator extension for Chrome or Firefox makes it very easy to navigate search results with the keyboard. If you’re using Edge or Internet Explorer, you have my sympathies.

The first thing it gets right is that it immediately focuses the first search result, which is almost always what I want.

Google Search Navigator results

It has lots of keyboard shortcuts, but the main ones I’ll use are:

  • Down (or J) to move to the next result
  • Up (or K) to move to the previous result
  • Enter to navigate to the result
  • Ctrl+Enter to open the result in a new window

Other keys of note:

  • Esc (or /) to go back to the search box
  • A (or S) to go to the All tab
  • I to go to the Images tab
  • V to go to the Videos tab
  • M to go to the Maps tab
  • N to go to the News tab

It’s still pretty instinctual for me to reach for the mouse once the results display, but I’m getting over it. I’m not quite ready to actually remove the mouse from my desk, but that may be what it takes for me to really reprogram my brain.