effortless chrome keyword bookmarks

by Leo Babauta

This is a small tip but I use it so often throughout the day it saves me a crazy amount of time. In two words: keyword shortcuts.

Now, these aren’t a new invention, but many people aren’t aware of them, so I thought I’d share. Keyword shortcuts have long been a feature of Firefox, but I switched to Chrome a couple of years ago (seriously, use Chrome), and had to use this hack. Now I can’t live without it.

In a nutshell, it’s an effortless way of accessing your bookmarks, bookmarklets and other common things online using just the keyboard.

Example: I type "gm" to go to gmail, or “ip” to save something to Instapaper (using the Instapaper bookmarklet as a keyword shortcut) or “tw” to go to Twitter. I have a couple dozen of these, including ones that look up when the next train is stopping near my house, the weather in San Francisco, the movie schedule, my bank websites, and more.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Copy the url of the site you want to bookmark. Or, if you want to use a bookmarklet like the “Save to Instapaper”, first drag the bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar, then control-click or right-click on it and go to “edit” … then highlight and copy the javascript text in the “url” field.
  2. Go to Chrome’s settings (Cmd-, on the Mac). Click the “Manage search engines” button.
  3. Add a new search engine. Put a name for it in the first field of a new search engine, then the keyword you want to use in the second field (“ip” for the Instapaper bookmarklet, for example), then the url or javascript text in the third field. Press “OK” when you’re done. You can add as many keyword bookmarks as you like.

That’s it! Do this for everything you commonly access often, including bookmarklets, settings pages on webistes, your most common sites (if you go there once a week or more, create a keyword shortcut).

Now, when you want to do something, press Cmd-L (to go to the location bar) and the 1–3 letters of your keyword bookmark, and return. You’re there! It’s lightnight fast.

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