What Is Ctrl+E in Google Chrome?

By David Nield

Google Chrome is a very popular Web browser.
i Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Google Chrome supports many different keyboard shortcuts that enable users to operate the browser faster than with a mouse alone. These shortcuts can improve speed and productivity as you perform business tasks on the Web. The "Ctrl+E" shortcut initiates a search query, providing a quick way for you to scour the Web for content. The Google search engine, used by default in Chrome, offers a number of other features to help improve the accuracy and effectiveness of your Web searches.

The Omnibox

The omnibox at the top of the Google Chrome interface doubles as both an address bar and a search box. Users can type a URL or a series of search terms in the omnibox. Suggested search matches from the Web and the user's browsing history (if stored) are displayed below. Pressing "Enter" initiates the search or loads the website address that has been entered. If Instant Search is enabled in Chrome Settings, and the browser detects a search query is being entered, a results list appears almost immediately in the tab below.

The Ctrl+E Shortcut

The Ctrl+E keyboard shortcut can be used to launch a search query from the omnibox. Wherever the mouse cursor is positioned on the screen, pressing Ctrl+E will select the omnibox and insert an opening question mark. You can then type a search query and press "Enter" to run it. Chrome's default search engine displays the results. You can change the default search engine from the Chrome Settings screen.

Why It Matters

The Ctrl+E shortcut is often a quicker way of accessing the omnibox than using the mouse to move the cursor to the top of the screen and clicking inside the box. In addition, the question mark added by the Ctrl+E shortcut specifies that a search query (and not a URL) is being entered. This is helpful for queries that may be confused for website addresses, such as "microsoft.net help" or "last.fm bands." Users may wish to search for mentions of "google.com" on the Web, for example, rather than visiting Google.com itself.

Other Search Operators

Search operators supported by the Google search engine can be added after a query launched using the Ctrl+E shortcut. For example, the "+" symbol can be added in front of any keywords that must be matched in the results, and the "-" symbol can be added in front of keyboards that must be excluded. Adding "site:URL" restricts the search to the specified website.