A Garden of Meditations

Optimizing the browser experience

This post contains a list of tricks I employ to make my browser usage more efficient. All of these should work on Chromium (and thus Chrome) as it is my primary browser and I use these there (I was a Firefox user until it started using noticeably more resources, if anybody knows how to improve Firefox’s performance please let me know), however most of them will work on Firefox (and most likely, other browsers) as well. They take barely ~15 minutes to set up but have saved me a lot of time, so it is definitely worth investing those 15 minutes.

Browser keyboard shortcuts

Here are my top 5 most used ones

  • Ctrl+l: switching to url bar from content
  • Ctrl+t: open new tab
  • Ctrl+w: close current tab
  • Ctrt+Shift+t: reopen last closed tab
  • Ctrl/Alt+<number>: switch to tab

A full list can be found here

Search engines

If you go to chrome://settings/searchEngines in Chromium (about:preferences#search in Firefox), you can add shortcuts for search engines. For instance, I have w set to the following at the moment

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Search&search=%s

Now if I wanted to go to the Wikipedia page on Red Hot Chilli Peppers, I’d have to enter

w Red Hot Chilli Peppers

in the url bar instead of going to Wikipedia, clicking the search bar and entering my query.

I’ve also found having a leaveAddressBar engine to be very useful. This is to switch back to the webpage from the url bar, without having to click or press tab multiple times (taken from here).

Plugins

Vimium

This plugin lets me use Vim bindings inside Chromium, making it convenient to employ my vim muscle memory. It has keyboard bindings for almost everything - scrolling, navigating tabs, opening links, inserting text in forms, searching etc. The GitHub README lists all features.

Adblock Plus

This blocks most ads

uBlock Origin

This allows me to enforce my own content filtering choices - I can hide things I don’t want to see etc