Access Your Browser Downloads with a Single Keystroke

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On Monday I showed you how to bookmark any Web page with a single keystroke. (Okay, technically Ctrl-D is not a single keystroke, more like a single key combination. But it's still just one simple action, right?)

Today let's look at another keyboard shortcut that can simplify your Web-browsing experience. In fact, it's the shortcut you'd think would be tied to Ctrl-D (which, as you now know, is used for bookmarking).

I'm talking, of course, about accessing your browser's Downloads list. It's not uncommon for users to get tripped up after downloading a file, as it's not always obvious where that file landed or how you're supposed to find it. And what about files you downloaded in the past? Surely there must be some easy way to locate them?

There is, and all it takes is a single keystroke -- er, key combination. Here's the command for all popular browsers:

Chrome: Ctrl-J

Firefox: Ctrl-J

Internet Explorer: Ctrl-J

Opera: Ctrl-J

Safari: Ctrl-Alt-L

And here you thought we'd have another universal command! No, Safari is the holdout this time; pressing Ctrl-J in that browser is for "jump to selection."

In any case, when you invoke the command, you'll see a list of all your downloads -- usually in a pop-up window, but sometimes (like in Chrome) in a new tab. Either way, you'll then have the option of opening the folder that contains any given download. In Chrome, for example, you simply click the Show in folder link. In Firefox, you right-click the file and then choose Open containing folder.

Ultimately, it's a fast and easy way to find your downloads -- and, therefore, a shortcut worth learning.

By the way, for those novice users out there, when you see a reference to something like Ctrl-D or Ctrl-J, it means to hold down the Ctrl key and then tap the corresponding letter. The hyphen is there merely for readability purposes; you don't press it as part of the keystroke. (In Safari, you hold down Ctrl and Alt, then tap L.)

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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