A common concern with the Touch Bar on Apple’s new MacBook Pro is that it may just be gimmicky and not actually useful. Function keys and keyboard shortcuts may make you efficient, but Touch Bar customization can put elements like on-screen Safari controls right on your keyboard.
Touch Bar for me has been a way to discover functionality within apps, and Safari’s customization lets you personalize what you want to access. Below we’ll look at how you can use Safari Touch Bar customization to improve your own workflow on macOS.
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As a writer at 9to5Mac, there are a few common links I access daily within Safari. Before the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, I relied on bookmarking links and then hunting for them as needed. Although they were bookmarked, returning to them quickly was anything but. After a few days with my Touch Bar I realized I could drastically speed up how I access these pages, even faster than using the Favorites bar or Safari’s Smart Search Field.
Previously I relied on using keyboard shortcuts to jump into the URL bar, typing part of my URL, and then selecting the one I wanted from the list. While not terrible, it became distracting to find what I wanted as Safari’s Smart Search mixes bookmarks and history. If you’re visiting multiple different pages that share the same root domain, this can be quite annoying with keyboard shortcuts alone.
The solution was simple: start using the Touch Bar creatively with Safari.
Here’s how to do it yourself:
1. Bookmark all your frequently visited pages, and make sure they are under Favorites.
- Tip: Create folders for even better organization.
2. Customize your Touch Bar under Safari to confirm that it contains the Default Set item or least contains the Focus Smart Search Field item. (Jeff previously detailed how to edit the Touch Bar in his 15 Touch Bar tips and tricks for the new MacBook Pro post.)
3. All done!
Now whenever you want to head over to a frequently visited URL in Safari, tap the magnifying glass in your Touch Bar, select the folder (if you made one) and then the URL. Using the Touch Bar, you can get to your destination in about two taps versus the three or four keyboard shortcuts it normally takes (not including typing out some of the URL).
The new MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar is something that I’m excited to see grow with future applications as they find the best ways to utilize it. Safari is just the tip of the iceberg here, but it shows a simple way to adjust your workflow to be more efficient and effective with the Touch Bar.
Do you use Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro to speed up your workflow? Let us know in our poll.