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Use Vimium to navigate the keyboard in Chrome and Firefox



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The mouse is a great invention, but don't sell the keyboard too short – not even for surfing the Internet. Thanks to a very effective browser add-on called Vimium, you can surf the Internet without ever touching your mouse.

Imagine the following: You are lying on the couch and have your laptop supported on the legs of the trackpad. Moving back and forth between the trackpad and keyboard while lying down is less useful.

With Vimium you can surf comfortably without moving your hands and lean back to your heart's content.

First steps with Vimium

Vimium was inspired by the classic text editor Vim. Vim is a favorite among programmers and navigates through text files using the keys on the start line of a QWERTY keyboard. Vim (and its predecessor Vi) supports simple keyboard shortcuts to move lines, words or sentences, or to cut and paste text, delete lines, and do a variety of other operations.

The Vimium browser add-on is not available. t as complex as its predecessor. However, it borrows the idea of ​​controlling a program from the start line in order to be very efficient. Anyone who knows how to use Vim can easily get used to the browser add-on as it uses similar commands.

Vimium is available for Chrome and Firefox. It also works with Opera, the new version of Edge, Brave and Vivaldi, all based on Chromium ̵

1; the open source version of Chrome.

Vimium doesn't work with every website, but it works with most. If it doesn't work on a particular website, the Vimium icon in the browser will be grayed out as shown below. If Vimium is working, the icon is blue.

  The Vimium icon is greyed out in a Chrome window.
When the Vimium icon is grayed out, it is inactive.

Using the Vimium keyboard shortcuts

Shutting down the keyboard shortcuts requires a little practice. However, once you do this, navigating the web becomes much easier. We can't cover all of the Vimium shortcuts in this tutorial, so we'll focus on those that are most useful – especially for newcomers to Vimium.

Some Vimium shortcuts require lowercase letters. Others require uppercase letters, so you must also press Shift while you type the letters. We have shown the letters in the corresponding cases.

First, however, you need to know how to navigate a website. These links are identical to those in Vim. To scroll down, press j – you can tap or hold j to scroll quickly. Tap k to scroll up again. Again, you can work faster or slower by briefly tapping or holding the button.

If you want to skip a large part of the page, press d. Press u to make the same space. According to the Vimium team, these commands should scroll up or down about half a page, but in our experience, it's more like a third or less.

  The blue Vimium symbol at the top of a web browser.
When Vimium is active, the icon is blue.

To jump to the top of a page, press g twice. To go to the bottom of a page, press Shift + g. The latter command is a great help when trying to get to the bottom of a webpage designed for endless scrolling. You get there much faster and without repeated strain injury by turning the mouse wheel.

You can also press f to open a link on the current page, or Shift + f to open a link in a new tab. After pressing f or Shift + f, each link on the page (as shown below) will be labeled as DE, F, SE, etc. Enter the name of the link you want to open.

  A Google results page, on which each link is overlaid with a yellow label with two letters each.
Links marked in Vimium.

Opening links can take some practice, especially on search engine pages where each entry can contain three or more links. Spend some time with Vimium and you will understand.

After understanding the basics of navigating a page, it's time to navigate between the tabs. There are four keyboard shortcuts for this. To switch to the next tab on the right, press Shift + k. To go left, press Shift + J.

You can also go forward or backward in the course of a tab, as you would do by clicking the Back or Forward buttons with the mouse. Press Shift + h to go backward or Shift + l to go forward.

Some other shortcuts to get you started are t to open a new tab, x to close a tab, and Shift + x to restore the Recently Closed tab or browser window.

Vimium can also open bookmarks, search a page for a word or phrase, reload a page, open the HTML source of a web page, scroll left or right on a page that does not fit. Copy the URL of one Links and more on the screen.

For a complete list of commands, see the Vimium GitHub repository. Vimium conventionally describes its keyboard shortcuts with lower and upper case letters. For example, suppose you need to press the Shift key for capital letters.

Troubleshooting Vimium

Once you remove the shortcuts, Vimium is very easy to use, but there are some issues you are likely to encounter. The first of these is a new tab. If you return to a new tabbed screen through history, you will not be able to scroll forward because Vimium does not work with blank tabs.

You must either use your mouse or trackpad to go forward one page in the history, or press Ctrl + L to enter a new URL in the address bar.

Another common problem is getting stuck in a text box or address bar where your keystrokes are interpreted as text. In these cases, it is easiest to press the Tab key to exit the text entry area, or to click away with the mouse or trackpad.

Overall, Vimium is a fantastic way to browse. With these basic links you can surf the internet in no time!


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