Monday, May 20, 2024

Safari Hover Link Preview Keyboard Shortcut

Jeff Johnson (Mastodon):

Pressing control-command-d (⌃⌘D) while hovering over a link in Safari opens a popup window containing a preview of the linked web page, just like pressing and holding down a link in Safari on iOS.

Apple does say that you can preview a link in a webpage in Safari on Mac with a Force Touch trackpad, but Apple’s support document doesn’t mention the keyboard shortcut. Typically, the control-command-d shortcut is used to show or hide the definition of the selected word, and indeed this works in Safari to show the Dictionary definition when hovering over non-link text. So the link preview behavior of the keyboard shortcut was a surprise, at least to me.

This was new to me, too. It doesn’t work on my main Mac, even with a safe boot, so I guess it’s controlled by an unknown setting that I somehow turned off. It does work on a Mac with a clean install of macOS.


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The hover shortcut for previewing a link goes back to at least OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Back then, I'm almost certain the shortcut was shown in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts, though there's no listing for the shortcut in 10.14 Mojave.

Just tried it. Thought "Wow, really nice, can't believe I've never heard about this". Then found out that it crashes Safari when the preview is dismissed. 100% reproducible!

As NaOH this goes back a long time, and to no-ones surprise, that works also in the Finder: rest the cursor over a .webloc file and press the ctrl-cmd-D shortcut, and you can do the same for .txt or any image format supported by the OS and so on. And in Preview, or Mail, or …

That is: QuickLook in action.

I noticed that 3D Touch does not bring up dictionary words like it used to, on my Mac with a Magic Trackpad 2. It brings up the dictionary, but it no longer passes the selected word to the dictionary app. I didn't notice this at first, I don't know when it broke, ,but this is a potential lead on a fix.

I think this shortcut should be mapped to a spacebar because it is just a quick look, and it should work the same everywhere. I also don't like that the preview window is scaled down version of full safari window, so on 6K screen with Safari full-screen it looks tiny but it doesn't need to.

Holy moly this is cool! I also had no idea. It's a great feature that needs talked about more. Shame its been around and we are just discovering it

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