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Tiger: New Safari tabs at your Command

As Mr. Gruber mentioned yesterday, 2.0 (Tiger) versions of Safari have added the ability to COMMAND-Return from within a web page’s form field in order to send the resulting page to a new tab (go ahead: try it in the 43F search field in the right column of this page). It also appears that you can COMMAND-Click most forms’ Submit buttons to similar effect. This builds on a feature available since (at least) the previous version of Safari in which you can COMMAND-Return in both the Address Bar and the Google Bar to generate a new, populated tab. (n.b: these also work in Safari 1.3 for Panther [Thanks, Roger.])

These may not seem revolutionary on the face of it, but as someone who’s already committed them to Safari muscle memory, I can assure you they’re wildly useful. A few random examples.

  • If you’re reviewing lots of form-based information, (set criteria; hit submit; look at results; repeat, repeat…), try COMMAND-Click-ing the form submit after you’ve set each new set of criteria, then reset your criteria and COMMAND-Click again. This is so much faster since you can generate all your pages/results at a pass, then move through the results, jogging between tabs at your leisure.
  • If you’re spending a lot of time on an interesting-looking site, you’ll often end up several directory layers deep. You want to pop all the interesting pages into new tabs, but you also don’t want to lose your place in the hierarchy/history. So, say you’re at http://example.com/fruit/apples/. Click in the Address Bar and COMMAND-Return to send the current deep-level apples page to a new tab. Now you can safely clip off “apples/” and truck your way back up the hierarchy by hitting plain old Return as usual. Sending the current page to a new tab becomes a little like hitting Save in your current web-surfing odyssey.
  • Many (um, lazy) developers overuse form submission when an HTML (or DHTML) link would be much more convenient for the user. Clicking a form button causes a page redraw and can easily make you lose your place on a very long page (ever try to quickly delete 10 items from you Amazon wish list?). COMMAND-Click-ing each of your many form buttons sends the superfluous results pages to their own new tabs. Click away, and when you’re finished, just “OPTION-COMMAND-W” to close all but the front tab. Done.
  • Hate those mystery meat “high-security” forms that make you fill out 50 fields of information then “forget” everything if there’s even one error on submission? If you find yourself on what feels like a death march form, COMMAND-Click to submit (or COMMAND-Return from within a field) to send the results to a new tab without losing your data. Flip over to the new tab to see if everything went okay, then head back to your safe copy in the previous tab if anything needs correction.

I’m probably leaving off a lot of good ideas, but I do encourage you to give this new feature a try. Unlocking the form submission functionality changes so much about how I use several sites each day—especially as tabbed browsing gets more deeply ingrained in my basic web behavior.

Edit 2005-05-10 07:16:17: At the risk of telling you something incredibly obvious that you’ve certainly known for months: you can also COMMAND-Click any HTML link to open it in a new tab. (You’d be amazed how many people don’t know that. Seriously.)

Roger Johansson's picture

Actually, the Command-Return / Command-Click...

Actually, the Command-Return / Command-Click feature is also available in Safari 1.3 for Panther. Adding the Shift key to activate the new tab also works.




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