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According to the Google keyboard shortcuts documentation, Alt+Left arrow navigates back, and Alt+Right arrow navigates forward. However, it only behaves that way if the Alt key and Left arrow key are pressed simultaneously. If Alt is held down and then the Left arrow is pressed, it instead switches tabs to the previous tab. (And the same but to the next tab for the Right arrow key of course.)

Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab already do tab switching, so I feel this is an unnecessary duplication that makes using the default more difficult, and a confusing key/command mapping since it means different things with just timing.

Is there a way to configure Chrome to always run the navigation commands even when the Alt key is held down before the arrow key is pressed?

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Holding Alt and then pressing left/right works as expected here, see you have any extensions overriding this behaviour –  Sathya Sep 22 '11 at 4:49
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@Sathya was correct. I tracked it down to the Smooth Gestures extension.

  • If it is disabled the original functionality returns
  • Or, there is a Previous/Next Tab shortcut that defaults to Alt+Left/Right arrow that can be disabled or changed in the options menu for the extension
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