The best browsers and extensions to let you navigate the web without touching the mouse

Browsing a website seems easy and obvious as long as you have a computer mouse. However, for many forgotten Internet users who can only use their keyboard, this navigation is complicated. So, this list is for people who cannot use a mouse, or who wish to use the keyboard as much as possible. I'll show you some web browsers and extensions that will allow you to browse the web without having to touch your mouse or trackpad. 🕹

Paul
Paul List by Paul , last updated 2020-01-15
  1. Vivaldi icon

    Vivaldi is a Chromium-based web browser developed by the company of the same name whose CEO, Jon Von Tetschner, is none other than the former CEO of Opera. Vivaldi integrates a system called Quick Commands, which can be accessed from a keyboard shortcut and allows functions to be activated using commands. Another feature is Spatial Navigation that enables the users to use customized keyboard shortcuts to execute commands and actions in the browser.

    • Web Browser
    • FreeProprietary
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Android
    • iPhone
    • Android Tablet
    • iPad
    • Flathub
    • ...
    Vivaldi screenshot 1
  2. qutebrowser icon

    qutebrowser is a free and open-source web browser available on macOS, Windows 10 and Linux. The benefit of qutebrowser lies in the speed of the program. Once installed and launched on your computer, the browser displays a minimalist interface. There are no menu bars or toolbars to make room for the content.

    In spite of its apparent simplicity, qutebrowser allows you to quickly perform many actions from specific commands. You can open new tabs, browse sites, download files, bookmark addresses, etc. thanks to keyboard shortcuts (explained in the documentation).

    • Web Browser
    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Flathub
    • Python
    • WebKit
    • Qt
    • Flatpak
    • ...
    qutebrowser screenshot 1
  3. uzbl icon

    uzbl is an open-source web browser written in C (programming language) that uses the WebKit web page rendering engine. It is often presented as the Vim of web browsers.

    In addition to its minimalist side, uzbl has the particularity of adopting the UNIX programming philosophy, which implies that a program must be designed for a task and do it well. It only embeds what is necessary for actual navigation and does not have toolbars, bookmarks, history and download manager, navigation tabs, etc., which are usually present in your default browsers.

    • ...
    WebInspector
  4. luakit icon

    luakit is a highly configurable browser framework based on the WebKit web content engine and the GTK toolkit. It is very fast, extensible with Lua, and licensed under the GNU GPLv3 license.

    You don't have to be a developer to use luakit on a daily basis. If you are familiar with Vimperator, Pentadactyl, Jumanji, uzbl, etc., you will find that luakit behaves similarly out of the box.

    • ...
    luakit screenshot 1
  5. Vimium icon

    Vimium is an open-source browser extension that provides keyboard-based inner-page navigation, browser tab operations, and an enhanced search panel, so you may take full advantages of your browser without a mouse or touchpad.

    Once the extension is installed, you'll find the traditional [j] to scroll up or [k] to scroll down the page, as well as a nice collection of shortcuts to do almost everything you can imagine in terms of navigation on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Online
    • Google Chrome
    • Firefox
    • ...
    Vimium screenshot 1
  6. Vim Vixen icon

    Vim Vixen is a Firefox add-on which allows you to easily navigate the web with your keyboard. Since version 57, Mozilla Firefox has migrated to the WebExtensions API and has dropped support for legacy add-ons, which resulted in add-ons like Vimperator not working anymore. Vim Vixen is a new choice for Vim users since it uses the WebExtensions API.

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Online
    • Firefox
    • ...
    Vim Vixen screenshot 1
  7. Surfingkeys icon

    Surfingkeys is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to use your web browser like Vim for productivity, by adding keyboard shortcuts to navigate, click links, scroll, switch tabs… It gives users the ability to navigate the web without the need of a mouse. It is specifically designed for Vim users, but GNU Emacs users should also love it, as it is extendable with JavaScript.

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Chrome OS
    • Vivaldi Browser
    • Google Chrome
    • Chromium
    • Firefox
    • ...
    Surfingkeys screenshot 1
  8. Shortcat icon

    ShortCat is an application that makes it easy to navigate within macOS by offering the possibility to access all functions from your keyboard. Once activated, Shortcat allows you to enter the first letters of the desired command and the utility will recognize in the window all the interface elements that match.

    This utility may seem complex, but it is actually very easy to use and even if you like the traditional mouse, Shortcat is a great way to find an element in an interface. Just remember its keyboard shortcut and you can immediately type a word or a few letters: you'll rediscover the simplicity and power of Spotlight, but adapted to interfaces.

    • FreeProprietary
    • Mac
    • ...
    Shortcat screenshot 1
  9. cVim icon

    cVim is an extension that brings Vim keybindings to Chrome. You might ask: Why is this different from Vimium or vrome Well, these extensions do a wonderful job of adding Vim-like keybindings to Google Chrome, but they lack many of the features that Firefox add-on Pentadactyl had. So, this extension tries to fill the gap.

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Google Chrome
    • ...
  10. Keys for Safari icon

    Keys for Safari lets users browse the web with Safari without reaching for a mouse or trackpad. It differs from other mouseless navigation extensions in that it attempts to render keys stylishly on the page to improve the user experience. Specifically, it generates floating gibberish sparingly and prefers to use text already on the page as a key.

    • FreeProprietary
    • Mac
    • ...
    Keys for Safari screenshot 1

Of course, this list is non-exhaustive and there are other add-ons for Chrome and Firefox like https://alternativeto.net/software/tridactyl/ and https://alternativeto.net/software/spotlink/, and other desktop apps like https://alternativeto.net/software/vimac/ and https://alternativeto.net/software/vieb/. It's up to you to find the tool that will fit your needs.

Let me know in the comments if you know other great apps and extensions. 🙂


This list was created by Paul Jan 14, 2020 and was last updated Jan 15, 2020. The list has 10 apps.

You can create your own lists from our large database of apps either for your own sake or if you want to share some great apps with other people.


Comments

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TheEmperorArt
CommentJan 18, 2020

This article is mostly geared to the programmer side i feel like.

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