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Access Web Sites Directly


A quick look at simple ways to open frequently visited web sites directly, without your mouse.

Hopefully you don’t click in the address bar and forward-delete and backward-delete to erase what’s there.  But some people do.  Here are Murphy’s tips for opening web pages directly with the keyboard.

1.  Add an alias for the site to the Dock. You can access the Dock with Control+F3, even if you’re in another application.  DockUse the arrow keys to select your site-alias and the Return key to open it.  You can create the alias by dragging the icon from your browser address bar to the Desktop.  Then drag from the Desktop to the right side of the Dock.

2.  Command+L and a Firefox keyword. This is an easy one.  Command+L selects everything in the address bar in Safari and Firefox.  Control+L does it in Internet Explorer.   Now you can start typing – whatever is highlighted  will be deleted.  But don’t type out the url, just type the keyword you’ve assigned to the site, which could be as short as one character.  Keyword?  Read on…

keywordEdit your bookmarks in Firefox and view properties by selecting a bookmark.  There’s a field for keywords.  Go ahead and set a keyword – now you can enter the keyword in the address bar instead of the url.

Safari doesn’t have the bookmark keyword feature – but you can use Command+1 and so forth to access the bookmarks on the bookmark bar.  They’re numbered from left to right automatically.

TextExpander3.  TextExpander. With TextExpander your Mac is always watching for certain text strings.  When you type a configured string the assigned action is carried out.  The action can be an Applescript.  A simple script can open your browser of choice to your destination site.  The great thing about TextExpander:  Your browser needn’t be active to invoke it.  You could also use TextExpander simple text replacement to replicate the Firefox keyword function in Safari. More about TextExpander. $29.95.

1password4.  1Password. You might know about or even use 1Password for storing all your log-on credentials in one secure database.  But it also features a bookmark pop-up that lets you jump to a site and auto-populate your username and password.   1Password lets you assign names to your entries, so you can keep them short.  It’s a way to bring keywording to Safari.
1Password licenses start at $39.95. This post has more information and a screencast about 1Password.

5. Terminal.
Do you always keep a Terminal window open? Set an alias in Terminal to open your favorite browser and pass along the site to enter.  A command like this will store the alias for you:

alias mm=’open -a Firefox’

Then open a terminal Window, type mm and hit return.  Your page will open.  See this post for information about making an alias available when you reboot.

6. Use Quicksilver.

Do you have a favorite way to open favorite sites? Let us know in the comments.

Related Post: Murphy shows how to open a set of tabs in Safari with one click.

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3 comments to “Access Web Sites Directly”

  1. I use SafariStand to get the keyword feature in Safari. Quicksilver also integrates with that [via a plugin] so I can always call up Quicksilver, type [say] w, tab to search, tab to enter my text, and hit enter to get a Wikipedia search going.

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