While some software giants are trying to make the URL bar disappear, we've found that over the years, it's still very useful, especially if you know how to use it right. We use the URL bar in all of our browsers, in Windows and OS X, as well as iOS, making it an essential way of navigating the web. Here's how you can develop your own one-key shortcuts.
The trick is to make your browser learn your favorite sites, by going there repeatedly. All browsers will store your favorite locations, unless you methodically clear the browser cache regularly. Even once it's cleared, it won't take your browser long to re-establish the shortcuts. To make these work, you don't need to setup anything special.
The keys don't have to be the first letters of the addresses of the sites you visit. It can be any letter included in the address. For example connect.garmin.com can work well with either 'c' or 'g', depending on your preference.
In Firefox, once your browser has been made familiar with the sites that you regularly visit, a process that can take from a day to a week, depending on how often you use the web, just type in the first letter of the website you want to go to. Firefox will immediately give you the most visited site beginning with that letter. Now, just touch the arrow cursor down for one click and press enter. This is very quick, depending on how you usually navigate the Internet.
In Safari, the greatest improvement is that you actually don't have to press the arrow key at all. Safari will display the most visited site with that letter directly in the URL bar. This means that you only have to push the enter key to navigate to it. This might seem like a small improvement over Firefox, but it is so much more convenient. We wish that all browsers did this.
Chrome works the same way as Firefox, you'll need to push an arrow key after the right URL has been displayed and then press enter. If one key doesn't work in the beginning, you can try using two, the first two letters of the address. The more you associate one key with one URL, the more your browser will display that URL first before anything else.
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(Images: Flickr member Drubuntu licensed for use under Creative Commons and Flickr member Houltmac licensed for use under Creative Commons)