How can I open a specific already-opened tab in Chrome Mac?
May 13, 2010 5:03 PM   Subscribe

How can I open a specific already-opened tab in Google Chrome for OS X using a keyboard shortcut?

I want to begin using Chrome instead of Firefox but one of the stumbling points is that my system-wide keyboard commands for opening Gmail in the browser no longer work. There're a lot of years and muscle memory involved in pressing control-1 and getting mail (Gmail in Firefox, in Finder before that, Entourage in Finder before that, QuickMail in Finder before that--more than 15 years.)

In the Firefox setup, I have installed an extension that lists all open tabs in the application's menu at the top of the screen. Then I call the existing Gmail tab by name from any one of a variety of macro/shortcut programs. Easy. The macro program 1) opens the browser, 2) looks for the Gmail tab in the tab menu list, 3) if it finds it, it selects it, 4) if it doesn't find it, it opens the Gmail URL instead.

This doesn't work for Chrome because none of the Chrome extensions modify the application menu across the top of the screen--and none of the macro programs can reliable call menus or buttons from the extension icons in the browser window itself. (They fail because the browser is a slightly different size or location, usually, and such macro targeting depends on fairly precise coordinates.)

Of course, I can use a macro to simply open up a Gmail URL shortcut or bookmark every time--but then I Gmail is open in more than one tab, which is hard on memory, processor, and tab management.

What I need:

--to be able to reuse a specific tab that is already open. If I have Gmail already open in a tab, I want any attempt to load Gmail again to just reload it in that same tab.


--be able to assign a specific keyboard shortcut to a specific tab--not specific by location but specific by name. Commands to open the first tab, or the next tab, or the last tab are useless for this task.

I've just finished trying about 30 potential Google Chrome shortcuts and didn't find anything that worked for me.

A standalone Gmail app will not do, so no Fluid, Prism, or Mailplane recommendations, please.

Thanks for any suggestions. I'm about to try Sikuli (a picture-based macro program with Python underpinnings; supposedly it relies on appearance to select its target, not location) again but the last time I played with it, it wasn't ready for primetime.
posted by Mo Nickels to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't know how to do this with an extension, but with Sikuli you can just target Chrome and then use this specific keyboard macro (Press Cmd+L, type ", Press Return) tie each of those macros to your Cntrl-#'s and you should be good.
posted by Brent Parker at 5:08 PM on May 13, 2010

Response by poster: Brent, that would simply open the URL in another tab, right? It wouldn't reuse the same tab? The trick here is to select a tab that is already open.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:14 PM on May 13, 2010

Response by poster: Ah ha! Extension number 31 did the trick. gleeBox is kind of like QuickSilver for the browser. You hit a keyboard activation command and up pops an action bezel into which you can type commands--including selecting tabs by name. Now all I need to do is come up with a way to detect if the Gmail tab *isn't* already open so I can open it the conventional way...
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:42 PM on May 13, 2010

CMD + L targets the current open tab.
posted by Brent Parker at 8:13 PM on May 13, 2010

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