Not having a mouse shouldn’t stop you from browsing the web. These apps and extensions are designed for keyboard navigation.
While it often takes a bit of practice to become familiar and familiar with using the computer without a mouse, the effort can be worth it. Any data entry worker or software developer will tell you that keyboard and keyboard shortcuts let you get things done much faster than with a mouse. Today we’re going to see how to apply this philosophy to your internet browsing.
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An Introduction To Mouseless Navigation
Someone who doesn’t know it may be confused: how to follow links without a mouse to click on them? Most mouse-less solutions overlay each clickable item on a web page with a unique “hint,” which is essentially a temporary keyboard shortcut that allows you to click on the item.
Rest assured that if the tricks don’t work, most of these apps and extensions will still let you use a mouse when you need it.
We’ll cover a few extensions available for popular browsers first, and then explore a few alternative browsers designed primarily for mouse-less browsing. All are free and most are open source.
Calling itself “the hacker’s browser”, Vimium is a free extension for Chrome and one of the most popular Vim-based keyboard navigation utilities.
Vimium, as well as many other software we review today, will say it is based on or inspired by Vim , which is a command line text editor used primarily by developers. First released in 1991 for the Amiga, Vim has since experienced multiplatform development that continues to this day, and its influence is prolific.
If you’ve never used a command line text editor like Vim before, using Vimium can take a bit of practice. The Vimium website has a short video demo if you are curious about the experience.
If you are a Firefox user and want to try Vimium, there is an available port called Vimium-FF .
Download: Vimium for Chromium (free)
Tridactyl is similar to Vimium, but exclusively an extension for Firefox. It is designed to emulate Vimperator , a keyboard-based Firefox extension that is no longer compatible with the latest versions of Firefox.
If you are a web developer, Tridactyl might appeal to you with its HTML development tools. It is also very customizable, allowing you to add your own commands or edit standard Tridactyl commands.
To start using it quickly, type f when viewing a web page, and the tips will appear as small red icons. Type the clue you see on the link or object you want to click, and Tridactyl will click it for you. Performing tasks like entering text input mode and navigating tabs may take a bit more getting used to, but the hint feature is a great introduction.
Download: Tridactyl for Firefox (free)
DeadMouse is a free Chrome extension that takes a slightly different approach than Vimium and Tridactyl. Rather than creating unique clues for each link on the page, DeadMouse simply lets you start typing text into the link you want to click, and the extension will attempt to identify the link with a motion animation. You can then press Entrance to click on it or on Tab to go to the next closest connection.
If that sounds confusing, DeadMouse’s website allows you to try it out without installing it, and you’ll see it’s a straightforward approach to keyboard navigation.
Some might view DeadMouse’s process as more intuitive than other expansions, in which the tips created aren’t precise representations of the links they highlight. Of course, a fair amount of the links you come across and use on the internet are images or icons, not text, and DeadMouse may not handle them properly.
Since it doesn’t have as many features as the other options on this list, you can choose DeadMouse if you don’t consider yourself to be a power user and just want to quickly select text links when it’s convenient for you.
Download: DeadMouse for Chromium (free)
Qutebrowser is a free and open-source browser designed with the spirit of Unlikely , another Vim-based browser that is no longer in development.
Like other Vim-based browsers and extensions, you need to enter f and tips for following the links on the screen, as shown in the photo.
Qutebrowser also has a very minimal interface, so to access most of the features, like bookmarks and downloads, you need to enter the correct command. You’ll also find it highly customizable, although you should be prepared to tweak the configuration files.
Originally written by visually impaired developer Karl Dahlke, Edbrowse is unique in this list as the only command line browser. This means that it allows you, via the terminal, to browse the Internet line by line.
If it seems slow and cumbersome, it’s because it is – at the beginning. But if you take the time to learn its controls and interface, you may change your mind about it.
As Karl explains in the user’s guide, most people use their eyes to scan websites to sort through and access the information they really want. Edbrowse controls unload that run from your eyes to your computer. If you’ve ever used the common Ctrl + F shortcut to quickly find a certain word for a phrase on a page, this is essentially the same function.
You might be wondering how Lynx can help anyone. This is useful if you are browsing a large number of server files, or if you are using a “headless” operating system (like Ubuntu Server) with little or no graphics capability. Also, if you have access to very limited internet bandwidth, Lynx uses significantly less amount than you would use to access the same websites with a traditional browser.
Lynx is free and open source, and its developers have been actively improving it since the 1990s. So while it doesn’t do a lot of things that modern browsers do, you can be sure it is achieving its goals and objectives. objectives to the highest degree possible.
Browse The Web With A Simple Keyboard
There are more mouse-less navigation solutions out there, although many are outdated projects (often inspired by the ones we mentioned) or extensions that only work with older browsers. Some are still quite popular, but we haven’t covered them because browsing the internet with out of date apps is dangerous.
If you want to continue to make your workflow more efficient, there are many ways to use your computer keyboard more effectively, even beyond browsing the Internet.