Master The Option Key In OS X Safari [OS X Tips]

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What fun the Option key is in OS X, right? Adding it to clicks and keystrokes makes many features accessible that would otherwise be hidden. We’ve spent the last few days talking about how to maximize the Option key in your power-user Mac workflow, in the Finder, the Menu Bar, and in iWork apps.

Now, we’re going to head over to Apple’s built-in browser, Safari, and show you how the Option key can make your Safari life just that bit better.

Tab To More Links
Like point and click without a mouse.

Like point and click without a mouse.

When you hit the Tab key in Safari, you move from search field to search field or drop-down menu down the page. If you add the Option key, you get more keyboard control, skipping your way merrily through every link on the page. If you hit the Return key when you highlight a link with Option-Tab, Safari will open the link for you.

Precise Scrollbar Positioning

Scrollin, scrollin, scrollin.

Typically, if you click in the scrollbar area in Safari, you’ll move down a page at a time. It’s like scrolling, only faster. If you add the Option key in, and Option-Click anywhere in the scrollbar area, you’ll move the scrollbar indicator right to that spot. So, if you want to zap down near the bottom of a long web page, for example, Option-Click in the scrollbar region near the bottom of Safari’s window. This will also work within any window with a scrollbar.

Download Options
Just, you know, be careful what you click.

Just, you know, be careful what you click.

Typically, when you click on a link in Safari, you will go to whatever web page it links to. You can use the Command key to open that link in a new tab, too. But if you Option-Click that link, you’ll download the target right to your downloads folder on your Mac. Slick! Clicking a web link will download the target .html file, while clicking a link to a data file will download that specific file.

Close Those Other Tabs
No, no. Not THIS tab. The OTHER ones!

No, no. Not THIS tab. The OTHER ones!

Got a bunch of tabs open in Safari? Of course you do, that’s why they’re there, of course. If you click on the File Menu, you can click on Close Tab there, or hit Command-W to close the currently active tab. Add Option to the keystroke or menu command, though, and you can close all the other tabs, except the one you’re currently looking at. Just press the Option key when you head up to the File menu, or hit Option-Command-W.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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Posted in OS X, Tips & Tricks | Tagged: , , |