I suffer from mouse related RSI if not very careful and so have to find
keyboard shortcuts for as much as possible. However one drag has always been
the need to locate by mouse the “next page” box in internet articles. I can
imagine the complexities, but do you know if anyone has created any software to
locate this on a page and allow one to move to the next page by key press
There is a way already built into most browsers, but it is most definitely
There’s also a pretty slick way for some types of links if you use
There may be other solutions out there that perhaps my readers are aware of,
but in the meantime let me tell you what I do know.
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It’s unfortunate, but using the web pretty much assumes you have a mouse.
That poses a problem for a lot of people. We normally consider more severely
impaired folks, but as you point out it’s a problem for many people suffering
from RSI (Repetitive Strain Injuries).
So one solution, of course, is to get a different mouse. Trackballs, even
foot-mice are often alternatives that work well for many people.
But that’s not your question.
What if there’s no mouse at all?
The keyboard interface for web pages is simple: hit the TAB
key. A lot. I mean A LOT. The tab key will move the focus from one link on the
page to the next, and when it finally reaches the link you want you can press
RETURN to take the jump. SHIFT+TAB takes you
backwards through the links, and it may be faster if the link you’re going to is
near the bottom of the page.
The problem is that most web pages have lots of links. Sometimes
hundreds. A Google search result, for example, has something like 8 links per
result. With a default of 10 results per page, that’s 80 links right there. Add
to that Google’s own navigation links, ads, and more and you’re quickly well
over 100 links on a single page.
That’s a lot of TABbing. Heck, I suppose all that TAB pressing could result
Firefox’s built in quick search capability is pretty cool, and extremely
As long as you’re not in a form field that needs the keyboard to capture its
input, typing “/” followed by text does a search on the page for that text. In
real time, as you type, it moves you to the first instance of the text you’ve
typed so far.
So while on that Google results page with 100 links, I typed this:
And this was the result:
The first occurrence of the word “next” on the page is Google’s navigation
bar at the bottom, so Firefox took me there and highlighted it. You can see what
I’m searching for in the Quick Find: box near the bottom of
the page as well, as shown here.
And once “Next” is highlighted, pressing your RETURN key
takes the link.
If there’s more than one “Next” you can press F3 to move to
the next, or SHIFT+F3 to move to the previous.
Of course “next” could be anything you’re looking for, but you were looking
for the next page link. This’ll get you to it quickly and easily.
Sadly, it’s still an incomplete solution.
Firefox’s quick search feature searches for text, and unfortunately
many web sites code their links to use images. So while “/” might be
able to find the word “Next” on a page, it will not find an
image of, say, an arrow containing the word “Next”.
One last thing I’ll point out is the “MouseKeys” functionality that’s
available in Windows. (Go to Control Panel,
Accessibility Options, Mouse). It
might be overkill, but it allows you to control the mouse pointer with
the numeric pad keys on your keyboard.