Wednesday, February 24, 2016

osx: safety and generally better shortcuts for chrome and safari

I wasn't quite happy with the keyboard short cuts for Chrome and Safari.

Luckily OSX is configurable for this stuff! Go to System Preferences | Keyboard | Shortcuts, select App Shortcuts on the left, and then hit the + at the bottom. You have to know the name of command exactly as it appears on the Dropdown Menu at the top. (For example, "New Window")

Here were the issues I fixed for myself:

  • I was accidentally cmd-Q quitting out of browsers when I merely wanted to close a tab with cmd-W - just one key apart. I changed this to "option-cmd-Q" for both. (I hate the option key as a matter of principle -- there are just too many modifier keys on the lower left part of an Apple keyboard -- but shift-cmd-Q is taken by the system Quit.)
  • For some odd reason, Safari has inferior "open last closed Tab" functionality. Chrome and Firefox get it right: shift-cmd-T, an easy to remember variant of cmd-T, opens up the last closed tab, and you can repeat it to get further back. Safari seems to have forgotten that people use tabs now and only offers a "Reopen Last Closed Window". If you close a tab, cmd-Z undo is remapped to "Undo Closed Tab", but it only works if that's the last thing you did, and I think just for one window. Anyway, mapping shift-cmd-T to "Undo Closed Tab" is better than nothing, I guess. (I'm not the only person missing this feature. Apple does so many things right, but this - "Undo is the obvious place for this!" - is exactly the kind of over-simplifed thing they have get a dogged determination not to improve.
  • Finally, I sometimes get mocked for how many browser windows I have open. It's a habit I developed on Windows (where each window had its own place on the taskbar) and sometimes I like the idea of using the physical space of multiple monitors, but I want to experiment with how keeping to one browser window feels (in some ways a single tab bar reminds me of a thermometer, increasing and decreasing with the number of windows I have open, which may encourage me to clean up tabs rather than keep them around.) Anyway, changing New Window to shift-cmd-N instead of cmd-N should get me to think before I go off into multiple window land. 
So, pretty powerful stuff. In some ways, OSX feels closer to its Applications than Windows (at least pre-Windows 8) so manipulating keyboard shortcuts via a centralized System Preference kind of makes sense.

Actually, I guess OSX has always been more App-centric; having the menu bar at the top of the screen for all apps rather than have each app window carry their own reinforces that. I user Hyperdock which means while there's still "one Dock icon per app", I can at least keen little window previews. Still, one window per browser feels more with the grain of OSX than my previous behavior.

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