Next/Previous Tab on Mac Consistent At Last

After blogging about the inconsistency of keyboard shortcuts for Next/Previous Tab on Mac last year, I found out that Firefox, Thunderbird, and Komodo also support Command + Option + LeftArrow|RightArrow, and Adium has a General > “Switch tabs with” pref that I can set to the same chord.

(Later, I switched IM clients from Adium to InstantBird, which also supports that combination.)

That left Terminal, which I couldn’t figure out how to configure to support the same shortcut. Until now.

I’m not sure if it’s because I have since upgraded to Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). I could’ve sworn I tried something like this back when I wrote that previous blog post, and it didn’t work.

  1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts > Application Shortcuts.
  2. Press the + (plus) button.
  3. Select “Other…” from the Application menu and select Utilities > Terminal from the file picker dialog.
  4. Enter “Select Next Tab” (without the quotes) into the Menu Title field.
  5. Focus the Keyboard Shortcut field and press Command + Option + RightArrow to set the keyboard shortcut, which will appear as ⌥⌘→.
  6. Press the Add button.

Repeat steps 4-6 with “Select Previous Tab” and Command + Option + LeftArrow, which will appear as ⌥⌘←.

Those shortcuts should now work in Terminal.

With this change, all five of my current primary productivity applications on Mac (Firefox, Thunderbird, Instantbird, Komodo, and Terminal) support a consistent pair of keyboard shortcuts for Next/Previous Tab, which are two of the most common commands I issue in all of those apps.



Myk Melez

Myk is a Principal Software Architect and in-house entrepreneur at Mozilla. A Mozillian since 1999, he's contributed to the Web App Developer Initiative, PluotSorbet, Open Web Apps, Firefox OS Simulator, Jetpack, Raindrop, Snowl, Personas, Firefox, Thunderbird, and Bugzilla. He's just a cook. He's all out of bubblegum.


2 thoughts on “Next/Previous Tab on Mac Consistent At Last

  1. I think the default is supposed to be Cmd+Shift+[ or ]. At least Firefox supports it, as do all native Mac apps. Adium doesn't, and its default shortcut (Cmd+LeftArrow) is terrible, since that shortcut is supposed to go to the beginning of a line of text.

  2. I've heard that too! Although also supports Command+Shift+LeftArrow/RightArrow by default, so it isn't clear that Apple has established Command+Shift+[/] as the convention.

    Nevertheless, Komodo and Instantbird do both support Command+Shift+[/]. But Thunderbird doesn't support it. And in any case, Command+Option+LeftArrow/RightArrow seems easier to type. So I'm happy using it, even if it required some custom configuration.

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