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Jade Doucet
Jade Doucet

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Beginner's Guide to Vimium, The Hacker's Browser

As a laptop user, dealing with a track pad can be such a drag. Even with a mouse, running the pointer around the screen while simply trying to do a quick google search can also reduce your productivity. If you were to add up all of the seconds that you'll save from using Vimium, once you're comfortable with it, you'd never want to go back to using a mouse when browsing the web.

What is Vimium anyways? Well, it's a chrome browser extension that can make you feel like the ultimate hacker you truly are; or someone that just appreciates efficiency. In programming, many of us use "Vim", which is a CLI (command line interface), and it has a ton of shortcuts to make a coders life more efficient. In that same way, it adds shortcuts to your favorite every-day browser to make surfing the web more fun and efficient.

To play around with some of the commands I'll tell you about about, feel free to download the extension from the google store here.

Basic Navigation

First, open up your chrome browser, typically your cursor will be focused in the address bar, feel free to type and go to your favorite website; I'll just go to YouTube. From here, we have quite a few options. Let's hit the "f" key; you should see lots of letters pop up like this:

Alt Text

This is how most page navigation is done. By typing the corresponding letters to the item you'd like to select, this will bring you to the page you want to visit.

In this image, you you can see that "fa" will select the search bar. There is actually a slightly faster way to select input bars on a page, with "gi". I like to think of it like "Grab Input".

Now we know how to search and select things, but how about scrolling through results? That's easy. We can use "d" for down and "u" for up. We can also use "j" to go down and "k" to go up, these two will scroll line by line. Think of it like, "just down a line" or "keep it slow going up". Whatever helps remember these!

For whatever reason you may want to visit the bottom of a website, you can also hit "G" (shift + g), which will immediately take you there. On the obverse, you can hit "gg" to get back to the top of the page.


Going back to selecting items, "f" is cool, but you can also optionally open links in a new tab by using "F" (shift + f) instead. You can see that this will open a tab, but you're not in it. "K" (shift + k) will take you to the next tab in your browser. Alternatively, you can use "J" (shift + j) to go back a tab as well.

When you're done, to close your current tab, just hit "x". If you didn't mean to close your tab and you did, you can use "X" (shift + x) to re-open your tab!

One last important thing, when you want to visit another website, you have a few options. You can open a new tab using "t", or you can press "o" to Google search for a different website or even cycle through your history.

For more info on basic commands, you can hit "?" to open up the Vimium help page which shows the most commonly used commands. You can also view their full documentation on Github. Now go get out there and show your friends how cool you are by using your keyboard to navigate websites!

Top comments (3)

rajat_naegi profile image
Rajat Negi • Edited

after opening history with o how do i open one of the link from the list that appears? even mouse doesn't seem to work over them!

edit: okay so i guess i have to use tab for that.

now i wonder how do i open a highlighted link in new tab

shahidullah profile image
shahid-ullah • Edited
  1. If you search for something on a web page, Shift-F highlights the link character. And type the appropriate character/characters to open in a new tab.
  2. If you want to search bookmarks, Press Shift-o, select the link by tab and press Enter/Return to open in a new tab.
ranelpadon profile image

Recent, concise, and practical demo of Vimium also: