As the title says; I used to be able to press Tab+Enter in Chrome to take me to the first search result. This now only works if I am not signed in to my Google account. When signed in, I can't do it. It works fine (signed in and not) on Firefox.

I believe this may have stopped working since a system update.

I'm using:

  • Ubuntu 12.10
  • Chrome 23.0.1271.64

Is this to do with a setting within Google, or is it something within Chrome? Because it works in Firefox, it suggests it is a Chrome problem. I tried disabling all extensions, but no joy.

  • I have windows chrome v. 23.0.1271.64 m and same problem. So you can remove the ubuntu flag I think. The problem comes and goes it seems, that is I've experienced the problem before, and now the problem reappeared perhaps a week or two ago. Perhaps it should become a chrome bugreport? I havn't tried logging out, but in incognito the tab+enter also works for me (to browse to first hit)
    – arberg
    Nov 22, 2012 at 18:33
  • 1
    Yes, I get the same thing, it works in incognito. It's strange that it works even not in incognito as long as I'm not signed in... Nov 22, 2012 at 20:07

11 Answers 11


These no longer work as Google have removed this feature, so you can't just turn it out like you used to be able to. The way you used to be able to do this was through:

Google Search > Settings > Search Settings > Google Instant Prediction > On

but it no longer works. I was so sad to see this feature go that I wrote a hack to re-engineer it. So far it only works with Google Chrome, but can be adapted to work with all the others:

  1. Install Chrome extension ShortKeys.
  2. Click on the ShortKeys menu and select "Options" enter image description here
  3. Click on "Add" and fill in the following fields:

Keyboard Shortcut: tab

Behavior: Run JavaScript

Label as: Result Picker

  1. Paste the following JavaScript into the JavaScript code to run:

    function selectResult(newId){
        els = document.querySelectorAll("div.r h3")
        if(newId < 0 || newId >= els.length)
            return  //Could modify for page nav...?
        rp = document.getElementById("result-pointer")
        if(rp != null){
        el = els[newId]
        lnk = el.parentElement
        el.innerHTML = "<div id=\"result-pointer\" style=\"position:absolute;left:-15px;\">&gt;</div>" + el.innerHTML
          var el = document.querySelectorAll("div.r h3")[document.selectedResultId]
          var lnk = el.parentElement
          var url = lnk.href
            var win = window.open(url,"_blank")
            document.location = url
    1. Configure the Activation Settings:

Active while in form fields (Checked)

Websites (Only specific sites)

URLS (one per line): *www.google.*

This is what the Options page should look like

ShortKeys Options Page

  1. Click Save and then close your browser.


  • When you restart you should see a little blue (or black) ">" appear by search results when you hit tab.

  • The up/down arrow keys make it cycle through the results.

  • Hitting "Enter" will navigate to the highlighted result.

  • Hitting "Ctrl+Enter" to open the result in a new tab.

Happy Searching!

  • 1
    This is very very good! If you repeat this answer on my new question here I'll accept it as the answer: superuser.com/questions/1234766/… Jul 27, 2017 at 12:36
  • 1
    I'm not sure if I should change the accepted answer here - the accepted one was correct at the time of writing, but is now out of date given that instant search has been killed off Jul 27, 2017 at 12:36
  • You should accept whichever answer you feel will be most useful to the community.
    – Robino
    Jul 27, 2017 at 13:48
  • 1
    @Robino you realise he is a mod, right?
    – Burgi
    Jul 27, 2017 at 14:26
  • 1
    I recommend using *www.google.* so that tab key will continue working on calendar, inbox, and such Aug 30, 2017 at 11:04

This can be fixed by editing your search preferences, or the cookie that is set for them.

In my case it was caused by google instant being set to off. Turning it back on returned the 'tab to first result', and the 'up and down arrow keys to cycle through results' behaviours.

Others found deleting the relevant cookie worked. It's something to do with search prefs in general, as I get the desired behaviour in incognito mode even when google instant is on.

See google product forums post for discussion.

== UPDATE ==

I've just found that merely opening an incognito / private window and then closing it restores this behaviour for normal windows when it's stopped working.

  • 3
    Turning Instant Predictions on in Search settings worked for me.
    – abc123
    Sep 29, 2013 at 21:02
  • "Only when my computer is fast enough" does not work, you must choose "Always show Instant results".
    – Mark
    May 19, 2014 at 16:53
  • 3
    I am wondering how Google Instant was ever turned off for me. I am sure that I never turned it off manually. Apr 14, 2015 at 19:33
  • 2
    @KlasMellbourn Every few weeks or so, it automatically turns off for me. It has happened for years and it's incredibly frustrating. I've never figured out the cause.
    – kba
    May 11, 2016 at 8:07
  • 3 years later I can confirm: You have to activate "Google Instant Predictions" (like described in Soheil's answer) Aug 16, 2016 at 2:06

You need to enable "Google Instant predictions"

From Search Result Page > Settings > Search Settings > Google Instant predictions > On

  • Having multiple Google accounts (Apps for Work + regular) I noticed it worked for some. Google Instant-predictions indeed made the difference. Thanks!
    – smhg
    Jan 31, 2016 at 12:45
  • 3
    If I'm not mistaken, as in 2019, this feature is no longer available...
    – Yuki Inoue
    Jun 29, 2019 at 6:50

As of 2017-07-31, Google removed this feature entirely from search.

I created the open source Web Search Navigator extension to fix this and add extra features (like configurable keyboard shortcuts).

See installation instructions.

Hope you find it useful, but in any case - feedback is welcome!

  • 2
    Thank you for doing this. Dismayed at the change and glad to have this easy fix.
    – Dave Rael
    Aug 5, 2017 at 20:00
  • This is great! Is it possible to create one for Firefox based on yours?
    – Bar
    Aug 14, 2017 at 19:15
  • I will look into making this cross browser (and perhaps cross search engine) in the future, but I doubt I'll have the resources to do it in the next few weeks. Feel free to send a PR though!
    – infokiller
    Aug 15, 2017 at 8:28

As of now, Google Chrome has this feature re-enabled by default. Upon searching, press Tab, Enter and focus will change to the first result link.

This is now called the Skip to main content feature - between key presses you'll see this enter image description here

  • 2
    Seems to have stopped working for me for some reason. Still investigating why... Sep 21, 2020 at 15:35
  • Confirmed as working solution: 2020-12-23
    – user19496
    Dec 23, 2020 at 13:06
  • I have been using this too for over a year, but all of a sudden it stopped working. Tab takes me to this box, but pressing enter doesn't take me to the main content. No idea why! Aug 25, 2022 at 10:33
  • This should be the accepted answer. It doesn't require extensions and is simple. Oct 3, 2022 at 1:44
  • Now you need to press Shift+Tab 4 times. (oof!) Oct 22, 2022 at 11:54

The Tab shortcut is no longer available. You can, however, configure a search engine shortcut. Click on Tools -> Settings -> Search -> Manage Search Engines. Then type in I'm Feeling Lucky for Search Engine Name, l or any other keystroke for the shortcut, and the URL http://www.google.com/search?q=%s&btnI.

You can also click on Make default: simply type the search query in the Omnibox and hit Enter to go to the first result.

  • 2
    thank you! this advice is the best! i assigned symbol ; as a shortcut to avoid confusion with any letter. now I just type my search like "; kitten video" (without quotes) and it just works! great productivity booster. no plugins required. May 25, 2018 at 3:20

There is also a Chrome Extension called RESULTER, which provides good search results navigation.

You can download it from Web Store: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/resulter-shortcuts-for-se/chojfhfgbdaeokblbdeahgbijodikdpk

  • Please be a little more specific with your detail, consider adding some reference and proof supporting what you state and perhaps giving someone a visual with confirmation as such, and also be 100% certain that this answer is not already answered in one of the existing answers on the post. Sep 5, 2017 at 1:55

That is no shortcut as far as i know, Tab key jumps the selection on screen, when you search and then press Tab+Enter it will be first result always. it might be possible that you have selection somewhere else when you press Tab key.


It's confusing since the required keystrokes change depending if you used Chrome's location bar to do the search or using the search box on the Google results page.

Coming from the location bar: one can simply hit Enter then

If already on results page (after an initial search): simply hit Tab

Actually, could simply always be redundant and just always enter, tab, (but then it almost defies the purpose of shortcut).

(Also, assuming Google Instant predictions settings are on)

edit: oh it appears to work consistently in Firefox by simply tabbing, unlike Chrome.


This feature was moved to the DOWN arrow key when searching from the Chrome address bar.

TAB still works, but you need be searching using an already loaded google search page, and you need to have instant results turned on.


I developed a tiny Chrome Extension that only lets you hit TAB key to move results of Google Search. Try it and let me know how's that.


  • This was working fine until very recently. The new Chrome (Version 69.0.3497.81) now takes me to the number '2' of search result pages, at the very end of the web page, instead of the first result. This estrange behavior disappears when your app is removed from Chrome. Please, report on this, your app was providing a great feature.
    – nightcod3r
    Sep 20, 2018 at 4:39
  • Hi @nightcod3r , thanks for using it. Hmm it seems working fine in my Chrome Version 69.0.3497.100 . If you can find out how to reproduce it, please tell here. github.com/piglovesyou/google-search-result-focusable/issues/… Sep 20, 2018 at 15:46

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