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How To Switch Between Tabs in Any Browser Using Shortcut Keys (2020)

Summary – It is easy to switch from one program to another using Alt + Tab key, but changing tabs in the same browser is not that simple.

There are several shortcut keys that you can learn to use while using multiple tabs in Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer.

Once you get familiar with these keys, you will save a lot of time while working on a desktop computer.

Switch Between Tabs in Any Browser Using Shortcut Keys

We live in an era of technology where working fast on a computer system is seen as one of the most efficient skills. In general, 'the faster, the better' is the motto that leads to a standard scale of productivity.

Besides, rapid movements on the keyboard tend to become even more important when you spend at least 6-7 hours on a computer.

Typing consumes most of the time on an operating system, but it gets even worse when you need to switch from one tab to another. Whether it's typing, designing, coding, or anything else, switching between tabs like a hundred times per hour is exhausting.

Fortunately, this problem has a possible solution that comes in the form of shortcut keys.

Most of us know that multiple programs in windows can be switched frequently using Alt + Tab, which is a common shortcut key. But this doesn't help in the case of several tabs in the same browser. Besides, using a mouse every time for switching the tabs is not quite convenient, especially on laptops.

So, what we need is a shortcut method that can simplify operating more than one tab at a time. Most of these keys are similar on numerous devices with slight modifications for a Mac device.

This post will focus on shortcut keys for different browsers to change the tabs without approaching the mouse:

Switch Between Tabs in Any Browser Using Shortcut Keys

1. Shortcut Keys for Switching Between Tabs in Google Chrome

Let's find out how you can switch between tabs in Google Chrome using any device:

A. Ctrl + Tab for Next Tab  

If you want to switch to the next tab in the Google Chrome window, you can press Ctrl + Tab. This shortcut key will take you to the right of your existing tab. No matter how many open tabs you have on a browser, you can switch from one tab to the next one easily.

This tab system works rotationally, so you will reach the furthest left tab after pressing this key when there are no more right tabs. Other than this shortcut key, you can also use Ctrl + PgDown to change between tabs.

If you use a MAC device, you will have to consider slight changes in shortcut keys. There are two shortcut keys to discard the use of a mouse while working on a MacBook. You can press either Command + Option + Right arrow sign or Control + Fn + Down to change tabs.

B. Ctrl + Shift + Tab for Previous Tab

To move to the previous tab, you just need to include an extra key in the shortcut method for switching to the next one. By pressing Ctrl + Shift + Tab, you can switch to the current tab's exact left.

As per the rotation rule, pressing this key will take you to the rightmost tab when you are on the browser's first tab. Ctrl + PgUp is also a suitable option for this optimal command. Those who use Mac devices can use Command + Option + Left arrow sign to go to the previous tab.

Other than this, they can also press the Control + Fn + Up arrow.

C. Ctrl + N for a Certain Tab (N being the number of the tab)

If there is no specification about the left or right tabs and want to switch to a particular tab, you can consider using the Ctrl + N key. In this method, N is used for the number of tabs that you need to switch.

For example, you can press Ctrl + 2 to switch to the second tab on the browser, Ctrl + 3 for the 3rd tab, and so on up to the 8th tab. For moving to the last tab in the window, you will need to use Ctrl + 9 even if there are more than 10 tabs open in the window.

Though, this method can vary based on the type of your operating system. While using a MacBook system, you can just replace the Ctrl key with Command and apply Command + 1 to Command + 8 keys to switch between specific tabs.

For jumping on to the last tab, you can simply press Command + 9.If your system shuts down or accidentally removes or discards a tab, you can use Ctrl + Shift + T to get all those tabs back right where they were.

D. Google Chrome Tab Changing in Smartphones and Tablets

Google Chrome is a rare application that you can use on any given operating system, including windows, android smartphones, and apple devices. 

Tab switching in smartphones is way simpler than laptops and desktops. You don't need any keys to do so as you can move to any tab just by scrolling through the right part. 

Tapping Method 

Go to the Google Chrome browser and touch on the square-shaped tab overview icon on the screen's top right. The number written in this square shows the number of open tabs in the browser overlapping each other.

You can just tap on that square and scroll vertically through these tabs to choose one of them at a time.

Swiping Method

If you are using an updated version of Android smartphones or IOS, you can also prefer a swiping method or tapping method for switching tabs in Google Chrome. Keep your finger on the edge of the screen and move inwards to change the tabs using the swiping technique.

Besides this, you can swipe horizontally through the toolbar to switch between the tabs on your phone.

Google Chrome on Tablet and iPad

The functioning of the Google Chrome browser is mostly like smartphones and desktops, but tablet devices come with minor changes. The browsing interface of Chrome on tablets and iPads looks like desktops and laptops.

But accessibility requires the swiping method like android phones. You can swipe or touch directly to the tab you want to switch to. You can use a similar way to discard a tab that you don't want to use. 

2. Shortcut Keys for Switching between Tabs in Firefox

Accessibility of the Firefox browser is different from Google Chrome and Internet Explorer.

Therefore, some of the shortcut keys in these applications match, whereas some keys are distinct. Similar keys in these browsers encompass Ctrl + N, Ctrl + Tab, Ctrl + Shift + Tab, Ctrl + Shift + T, Ctrl + Page Down, and Ctrl + Page Up.

Let's move on to the specified shortcut keys now. Being a distinctive kind of application, Firefox has its shortcut keys for switching from one tab to another without touching the mouse. Ctrl + Shift + Pg Down is the shortcut for switching to the next tab on the right.

Similarly, Ctrl + Shift + Pg Up will lead you to the next left tab in the Firefox window.

Ctrl + Home is the shortcut key for going to the first tab in the series, and Ctrl + End is used for moving to the last one. Some selected features make Firefox a convenient option for internet browsing, and Ctrl + Shift + E key is one of them.

This key will open the multiple tabs on your screen to easily pick the one you are looking for. It is also termed as the tab group view.

3. Shortcut Keys for Switching between Tabs in Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer is one of the oldest browsers so far, and therefore some shortcut keys in IE might work as the keys in Google Chrome. Certainly, you will not face any hard time remembering the shortcut keys for using an internet explorer if you are familiar with the functioning of Chrome.

You can use Ctrl + Pgdown or Ctrl + Tab keys to switch the tabs from left to the right. On the contrary, you can move from right to left using Ctrl + PgUp or Ctrl + Shift + Tab keys. Like Google Chrome browser, internet explorer requires the same Ctrl + N shortcut key to move to a specific tab.


When you are familiar with different shortcut keys, you can use any browser hassle-free. Even though each browser has some specific features, these shortcut keys will help you understand most of it.

Once you learn to use these shortcut keys while typing, you will not have to reach out for the mouse repeatedly. Apart from these shortcut keys, you can also look for other shortcut methods and techniques that you can utilize to preserve your precious time on desktop computer systems.


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About the Author

Piyush Kashyap is a Ph.D student at Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Sangrur. He is a budding editor/ writer and has been working as a part-time reviewer for online content. He loves to read tech-based articles and has a knack for reviewing such articles He likes to stay updated about the latest trends in technology. He has also been working as a reviewer for many scientific journals. He also writes articles based on science. Know More About Piyush

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