The Keyboard Lover’s Guide to IE7

Many are content to spend all day clicking fancy looking buttons or menu items in order to get their tasks accomplished, but those who know the correct keyboard and mouse shortcuts can often get around applications more efficiently: Browsing the web with Internet Explorer is no exception. I want to take a minute to discuss a few useful shortcuts already available in IE6 that will help you get around the web, and then list some great new shortcuts we are providing in IE7.

First: Getting around the web in Internet Explorer 6

Basic navigation

To do the following Press this
Go Back to the last page* Alt+Left Arrow
Go Forward to the next page* Alt+Right Arrow
Stop the page from loading** Escape (Esc)
Refresh the page*** F5 or Ctrl+F5
Go to your Homepage Alt+Home
Give focus to the Address Bar Alt+D
Add “www.” and “.com” to what you typed in the address bar before navigating**** Ctrl+Enter
Scroll down/up the web page Spacebar / Shift+Spacebar
Close the window Alt+F4


Some interesting hotkeys you cannot see by simply looking in the menus…

To do the following Press this
Immediately add this site to your favorites Ctrl+D
Open your favorites in a folder window Shift+Click on the “Organize Favorites”menu item
Put focus on the Information Bar Alt+N
Open a link in a new window Shift+Click
Open the right click ‘context’ menu for the currently selected item Shift+F10
Change the text size (will be Zoom in IE 7) Ctrl+Mouse wheel Up/Down

* Shift+Mouse wheel up/down also navigates forward and back, so does Backspace and Shift+Backspace
** Did you know that hitting the stop button (or Esc) will also stop background sounds?
*** If F5 doesn’t refresh all content try Ctrl+F5.  This ensures no content is pulled from the cache.
**** In the Preview build we also added Ctrl+Shift+Enter when focus is in the address bar.  This works like Ctrl+Enter from the address bar does today but will append a suffix of your choice to the end of the string instead of “.com” (.org, .edu,, etc…).  You can change the default suffix in the Internet Options control panel.

Note: In the Preview build we have changed the pop-up blocker override key from “Ctrl to “Ctrl+Alt” in order to avoid conflicts with our new “Ctrl” tabbed browsing hotkeys

New in Internet Explorer 7

Now that we have basic navigation down, let’s talk about some cool new shortcuts in IE 7. You will notice that for features that exist elsewhere (for example: Tabbed Browsing) we put effort into maintaining consistency where possible.


To do the following Press this
Open links in a new tab in the background Ctrl+Click
Open links in a new tab in the foreground Ctrl+Shift+Click
Open a new tab in the foreground Ctrl+T
Switch between tabs Ctrl+Tab / Ctrl+Shift+Tab
Close current tab (or current window when there are no open tabs) Ctrl+W
Open a new tab in the foreground from the address bar Alt+Enter
Switch to the n’th tab Ctrl+n (n can be 1-8)
Switch to the last tab Ctrl+9
Close other tabs Ctrl+Alt+F4
Open quick tabs Ctrl+Q


To do the following Press this
Increase zoom (+ 10%) Ctrl+(+)
Decrease zoom (-10%) Ctrl+(-)
Original size (100% zoom)* Ctrl+0

* If you are using the recent Windows Vista preview you might notice that the 100% zoom hotkey changed from Ctrl+(*) to Ctrl+0


To do the following Press this
Go to the Toolbar Search Box Ctrl+E
Open your search query in a new tab Alt+Enter
Bring down the search provider menu Ctrl+Down Arrow

Favorites Center:

To do the following Press this
Open Favorites Center to your favorites Ctrl+I
Open Favorites Center to your history Ctrl+H
Open Favorites Center to your feeds Ctrl+J

Great new mouse actions in IE7

Even with all these cool keyboard hotkeys we’ve introduced a few helpful shortcuts for mouse users as well.

To do the following with a mouse Press this
Open a link in a background tab Middle mouse button
Close a tab Middle mouse button on the tab
Open a new tab Double click on empty tab band space
Zoom the page in/out 10% Ctrl+Mouse wheel Up/Down

My favorite shortcuts are the middle mouse button actions to close a tab and open links in the background (Those make using tabs fast and easy).

In Summary

Internet Explorer certainly has more than just these shortcut keys.  I’m sure you have some favorites I did not mention, but I hope you found something here that will make browsing the web easier for you. 

Until next time, keep browsing!

- Aaron