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Issue 30699 link

Starred by 36 users

Issue metadata

Status: Fixed
Owner: ----
Closed: Mar 2014
EstimatedDays: ----
NextAction: ----
OS: Linux
Pri: 2
Type: Bug

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Decide whether Backspace should be a shortcut for the back button on Linux

Project Member Reported by, Dec 17 2009

Issue description

Chrome Version       : (Official Build 33992)
URLs (if applicable) :
Other browsers tested:
Add OK or FAIL after other browsers where you have tested this issue:
Safari 4:
Firefox 3.x:
IE 7:
IE 8:

What steps will reproduce the problem?
1. Fill in a form on a web page
2. Think you have the focus in a text input field but actually have it 
somewhere else.
3. Hit backspace to delete the last char.

What is the expected result?

Well, I "expected" to delete the last char.  But the focus was wrong so I 
actually expect it should do nothing.

What happens instead?

I lose all the data I have input on the page because the browser goes back.
Please provide any additional information below. Attach a screenshot if

According to the help page 
this is "as designed" but I think it's a bad design.


Comment 1 by, Dec 17 2009

I think the real problem here is Chrome forgetting all your form data if you go Back 
and Forward, or Reload.  (IIRC backspace goes back in other browsers too, but at least 
Firefox doesn't lose your form data.)

The Reload bug is either  Issue 26415 , or Issue 26127.  Don't see a bug for 
Back/Forward though.
It gets worse.  A few hours ago I was in a web chat window with tmobile and the input 
window kept losing focus at inconvenient times and backspace took me out of chat.  I 
doubt any fix for back/forward/reload would solve this.
I just tried firefox and IE.  Firefox does not have backspace as a shortcut, IE does.

Comment 4 by, Dec 18 2009

Odd; on my end, backspace does goes Back in Firefox.  It's configurable in 
about:config by browser.backspace_action, but the default is to go Back:
Ah, you must be on Windows then.  The default on Linux is 2 (no action).  Perhaps this 
should be changed to "Backspace should not be a shortcut for the back button on 
Linux".   It took me a while to discover that it was the backspace button that was 
screwing me up, I guess because I haven't used Windows for anything other than browser 
compatibility testing for so many years.
Labels: -OS-All OS-Linux
Marking Linux-only; as a cross-platform bug, this would just be  bug 29720 .

Comment 7 by, Jan 27 2010

Status: Available
Summary: Decide whether Backspace should be a shortcut for the back button
Ah, the good old "consistent with Chrome" or "consistent with other browsers" 
argument. claims: "The backspace key was 
mapped to the browser ‘Back’ function in Mozilla for consistency with Internet 
Explorer. However, to improve consistency with other applications running on Linux, 
it was decided that this mapping should be optional—and set based on which platform 
the browser was running on."
"In Linux builds after 2006-12-07, the default [is to disable the mapping]"
I would like to argue against backspace == Back from a usability point of view and to 
hell with consistency with other browsers (does anyone even know how many users use 
this shortcut?)

In web apps you can lose your state if you hit backspace thinking your are editing a 
text field when the focus is actually elsewhere.  In the best case you get to answer 
an annoying "Do you really want to leave this page?" dialog and in the worst case you 
lose whatever data was on the page which, as I noted in comment #2 above, can be 
quite significant.

In that case I had to go through a customer service wait queue *again* and explain my 
situation *again* to another CSR.  And actually now that I think back, I ended up 
doing it 3 times because the first time I didn't know that it was backspace = Back 
that was killing the chat app.  For my third attempt I launched Firefox.

Summary: Decide whether Backspace should be a shortcut for the back button on Linux
I don't want to be CCed on this bug and hear all the noise.

A number of people have long disliked [shift-]backspace on Windows, but it's a well-
established shortcut in most other browsers that some people rely on so we've had to 
support it.  If it's not that way on Linux, we don't need it.  If it is, we should have 
it, even though the "too easy to accidentally trip" comments are accurate-- they're 
accurate on other platforms too.
The following revision refers to this bug: 

r38074 | | 2010-02-03 18:50:10 -0800 (Wed, 03 Feb 2010) | 12 lines
Changed paths:

gtk: Remove Backspace and Shift-Backspace accelerators.

I am doing this for platform compatibility on Linux: per, these
accelerators have been disabled by default in Firefox
since 2006-12-07.  They are also not present in Epiphany
or Midori.

BUG= 30699 
TEST=tried them; they do nothing now

Review URL:

Status: Fixed
Hooray!   Thanks.

Comment 14 by Deleted ...@, Feb 5 2010

What about those of us who do use and expect this on Linux?
This bug may not be the best place to suggest this but I think it ought to be a pref 
on all platforms.

Comment 16 by Deleted ...@, Feb 5 2010

unfortunately like what was stated before because of this not being customizable, I 
will now be opening up firefox while on linux because this is something that has become 
second nature to me.  Any sort of extended preferences would be greatly appreciated, 
not asking for a gui just simple properties file that could even be optional for just 
overriding specific preferences.

Comment 17 by Deleted ...@, Feb 13 2010

Agree with #16, I got pretty angry when my backspace button stopped to work. I've never 
had such a stupid missclick on getting back while on some webchat etc..  But of course, 
I take it as "disabled" as default (like ctrl+alt+backspace in X), but I'd love too to 
have optional settings to enable this "feature". As a notebook user I use it VERY lot.

Please, don't make it shift+click (ctrl) opera problem, thanks!

Comment 18 by Deleted ...@, Feb 13 2010

Btw, why windows version has backspace function on and linux should not? (Or is it only 
in my versions somewhere?)

windows version (works)   5.0.317.2
linux version (not works) 5.0.323.0 (38568) Ubuntu
#18: (As far as I know) It's the default behavior in Windows to map the back-function 
to backspace. In Linux this is not the case. I'm guessing Alt + left_arrow is, but I'm 
not sure.

I also agree with #16 & #17: This should be configurable.

Comment 20 by, Feb 14 2010

I also agree strongly that this should be configurable - I rely on the one-key previous page 

Comment 21 by Deleted ...@, Feb 17 2010

I agree with #16, #17, and #20. Pressing backspace has become second nature to me. A 
simple configuration file to enable the backspace action would be greatly appreciated.
Would also like to see this re-opened.  I use linux and use backspace for going back.

Comment 23 by Deleted ...@, Feb 18 2010

I would also like the backspace as back function restored - as a preference would be 

Disable it by default if you like, but please give us the choice to use it if we're 
used to it after 14 years of using the internet!

I prefer to use Chromium on Linux but will end up changing to something that allows 
me to use the web in the way I am used to if this is not restored as an option, and 
I'm sure I'm not alone in that.
I don't understand the "platform compatibility in Linux" argument.  Nautilus in Ubuntu 
uses backspace as one directory up, i.e. the backspace key has useful mappings other 
than editing text fields.  These types of shortcuts have become de-facto standards 
across multiple platforms.  Please don't arbitrarily take away functionality because 
someone didn't notice he lost focus on a field.  Give the user the option.  A one-key 
back option is what makes Google searches that much faster to sift through.  Take that 
away and searching the web is going to become a headache.
The compatibility argument is that other browsers on Linux (e.g. FF, konqueror 
etc...) don't do BACKSPACE = Back on linux.  The reason I filed the bug was because 
certain AJAX web apps behave poorly and I ended up losing data due to backspace 
blowing away the page. I've been using Linux as my only platform for so long that it 
took me ages to figure out that this mapping existed and was causing the problem (see 

That nautilus does backspace-navigate-to-parent-directory is kind of irrelevant since 
it is not an application platform and doesn't have form data and connections to lose.  
Also the user is unlikely to expect backspace to perform its usual function of 
deleting the last character typed.

I think it would be good to do some data gathering to find out actual usage since the 
only people who are now attracted to this bug are people who expected the old 
behavior and are looking to complain :-)

So I just upgraded to the latest version of Chrome on Linux and now my backspace key 
no longer takes me back to the previous page. WTF? 

Please please please change this so that the user gets a choice in backspace's 
behavior. I'm switching back to Firefox until my backspace button comes back! It may 
sound silly, but I've been using this shortcut for years and it's become second 
nature... So much so that it's made Chrome very frustrating to use.

Pretty please? The option would be lovely.
This new behavior is extremely annoying, and seems to be based on a bad default in 
Firefox, which is in turn based on an eccentricity of old builds of Konqueror mapping 
backspace as an additional Page Up key. There is no need to copy the counterintuitive 
peculiarities of just two other browsers, especially seeing as both of them provide 
easy way for users and distros to change the defaults to the standard behavior 
exhibited by virtually every other browser on virtually all platforms.'s supposed fix is not a fix at all. It seems to have been based 
upon a fundamental misunderstanding of the OP's request. The bug was to provide an 
option so that old-school Konqueror fetishists, people who think that open source + 
different = inevitably good, and other people who are unaware of Chrome's highlight 
around the active text area could turn off the behavior expected by the rest of the 
world. Instead of fixing this wishlist item, he has inflicted this strange behavior 
on everyone else in a way that's only fixable by hacking files that belong to a 
package in a text editor. This change should be undone until such a point as he (or 
someone else) has written a genuine fix that provides a check-box in Under the Hood.
I agree with most of the others to bring it back as an option in preferences. It can 
be disabled by default, it doesn't matter but it should be configurable (maybe even in 
Windows for people who doesn't like it).

For so long people in Linux can use Alt+CursorLeft or Alt+CursorRight which isn't that 
nice as just pressing Backspace.

Comment 29 by Deleted ...@, Feb 22 2010

I agree also : bring it back, at least as an option.

Furthermore : on some layouts like the french one I use, the left alt key is not 
present, replaced by "Alt Gr" which activates extra characters. Thus going back to the 
previous page requires the use of two hands... I have switched back to firefox for the 
time being, and will stick with it if this is not reverted soon.

Comment 30 by, Feb 22 2010

If you would like to argue for making this a preference, please file a new bug and 
*don't* use the Linux-specific template as it applies to all operating systems.

Comment 31 by Deleted ...@, Feb 23 2010

Could anyone open new bug and post here "direct link", please?

Comment 33 by Deleted ...@, Feb 25 2010

Please people, make comments and express desires about this bug/wish in link above 
this post. So far, we can happily use google chrome beta, until chromium releases 
proper fix than it is now. Google Chrome beta has workable backspace button ;-)
For people who miss that shortcut here's a Chrome Extension which add it back:
I would like the backspace key behavior to be an option in Linux.  I would like the option 
to set the backspace key for "go back one page" by default.

thank you.

Comment 36 by, Apr 4 2010

While "back"ing out of forms and losing data is a valid problem, a lot of people still 
use Backspace as a back button, since it's more convenient than having to press 
Alt+Left.  Please make this behavior configurable.  (Also, most well-designed sites, 
like wordpress, will prompt you with a dialog in case you have unsaved data on the 
current page and you press "back.")
Also, good browsers keep the information entered in unsubmitted forms when you hit
back, so the forms will still have the data on a potential forward button press.
Chrome actually does retain form data if you hit "back" and then "forward" again.
Labels: -Area-Misc Area-UI
Please use  issue 36533  for discussion rather than this one, but note that a page can 
have more state that gets lost if you navigate away than just form data.
@pkasting: I understand you, but why not make it customizable in the 
Options-window or something? There could be checkbox "Backspace goes 
back a page" or something like that.

Comment 41 by, Apr 19 2010

Comment 42 Deleted

Comment 43 by, Jun 15 2010

When I read the shortcuts documentation at: I see no other shortcut than Backspace. Backspace is now 'broken', so it would be lovely if you'd add another shortcut for this very used task.
Lobais: You can note that is out of date (I submitted updates to it months ago but they have not been actioned). Alt+right arrow will take you forward a page and Alt+left arrow will take you backwards a page, although the documentation does not reflect this.

Comment 45 by Deleted ...@, Jun 23 2010

Backspace does not work. Man, such a basic thing should work.
What a mega blooper  

6.0.444.0 (50329) Ubuntu
This is such a no-brainer. +1000000 on backspace being a user-configurable option. I use backspace constantly as a navigational tool in my browsing... without it, I must rely on the laptop trackpad+button press OR use two hands on the keyboard, moving away from optimal typing position in the process... again and again and again, hundreds of times per day. This is dumb. For those who say Firefox removed the backspace shortcut: no, they, didn't... they made it A USER-CONFIGURABLE OPTION. If you really want browser consistency, I would respectfully submit that you would do well to follow Firefox's lead on this. As it is, I don't use Chrome any more than I have to, specifically due to lack of the backspace shortcut! My guess is I am far from alone in this. If you want widespread user adoption, respect your users.

Comment 47 by Deleted ...@, Oct 9 2010

use back space 
so quick and easy wto trakerball and hitting that back key! 
no brainer 
on a net books a must !
Yes plz fix the backspace button

Comment 49 by Deleted ...@, Dec 11 2010

I'm not a Linux user and actually hate the backspace = "navigating back a page functionality".  I've lost the content of many emails by hitting the backspace key.  It may retain some form info by trying to navigate forward again, but it never keeps the emails that I just spent 30min typing.  Making it a USER-CONFIGURABLE option solves the problem on both sides for both/any platform.  This should have already been resolved by CHROME.  I'm thinking of going back to Firefox forever. 

Comment 50 by Deleted ...@, May 2 2011

You'd think that if they were going to eliminate backspace = Back that they would at least do one of the following:

1).  Make it a configurable option
2).  Supply a different key shortcut in its place.

As I understand it there is currently NO shortcut and yet dozens of near useless ones for other really obscure stuff like "Shift+Delete" (Delete current entry from browsing history if possible). 
Actually there is a current short cut: Alt+left arrow
 Issue 81238  has been merged into this issue.

Comment 53 by Deleted ...@, May 16 2011

Last I checked, backspace is back on Chrome, Safari, Webkit nightly, Stainless, Camino, Maxthon, Firefox, and Internet Explorer on Windows and Mac, Firefox on Linux.

If backspace is taking you back a page when you meant to erase a character, try focusing on the text field next time.

This "accidentally going back when I meant to erase" issue has never occurred to me and I use backspace as back, constantly, as well as making tons of in-form typing errors that I immediately erase without a second thought (high speed, frequent errors), constantly.

I propose backspace as back as the default with an option to change it to backspace doing nothing.

Comment 54 by Deleted ...@, Aug 6 2011

I like chrome excepting this. To correct this issue I am switching to Yahoo as my search engine, where backspace = back. Not enough folks will switch to notice, but I am diverting my search advertising pennies away from Google until this is corrected.

Comment 55 by Deleted ...@, Oct 9 2011

not sure whether this behavior has been changed or not.
here on FreeBSD, I'm missing the backspace option.
and I couldn't find a configure option for the feature.
Backspace - back - is so much better for me from a usability point of view.
I use it so often, and changing to use alt-left, slows me down. no thanks.

So how about this.. (if it hasn't already been implemented somewhere)

backspace = back


1. (this alone is enough for me)
before going back, it checks if the users is currently in an input, textarea or other form field, where of course this field has priority, and if so it deletes a char in the active field. 

2. (optional, can add extra security, inspired by peoples comments)
if the user is currently on a page with a form which the user has started filling, then a warning shows, to inform the user that the data may be lost

3. (optional, can add extra convenience)
save the bloody form data, when going back and forth.
I understand there may be security concerns, but hell, then make it an option.

and put in about:configure or something...

thanks chrome, you are the best.
but you can get better.

Comment 56 by Deleted ...@, Nov 28 2011

Add the backspace for back OPTION in.
The goal of your design shouldn't be: to be idiot-proof. 
It should be: flexibility/practicality.
Please make this a configurable option.
I have recently moved from windows to linux, and sure while some things work differently, this is a pretty basic feature.
It was the first thing I changed in firefox's config, and I was trying to find the same option for chrome.
Chrome is by far the best browser around atm, but for now the lack of backspace to go back means I will be swtiching back to firefox until such time as it is reintroduced to chrome, whether that is by default, or as a config option as it should be!

Comment 58 by, Jan 24 2012

I would like to see this a configuration option too.  Please!

Comment 59 by Deleted ...@, Feb 26 2012

Same here, I'm on Ubuntu and it is very annoying not to be able to go back with Backspace. I've always used it and should be configurable.

Comment 60 by Deleted ...@, Feb 29 2012

I for one find it really annoying to be without a backspace shortcut, others apparently cannot help deleting all of their form data with this option, but discussing the relative merits of backspace=back misses the point entirely. This should be a configurable option.
As other individuals have commented it makes no sense to have the backspace not go back. The windows version has this shortcut as does the primary file browser. There is no reason that because they are on Linux it should not work. Anyone looking to solve this issue can install:
Just make it optional. After all you are working for google I don't think that takes a year to make it configurable.

learn from the fragmentation problem from Android!

Comment 63 by Deleted ...@, May 29 2012

Please make this optional, I have gotten so used to it, I am struggling without it!
Project Member

Comment 64 by, Oct 13 2012

Labels: Restrict-AddIssueComment-Commit
This issue has been closed for some time. No one will pay attention to new comments.
If you are seeing this bug or have new data, please click New Issue to start a new bug.
Project Member

Comment 65 by, Mar 11 2013

Labels: -Area-UI Cr-UI

Comment 66 by, Jun 11 2013

Status: Untriaged
Based on lots of user feedback and the inconsistency across platforms, we should implement backspace for back on Linux too.
Status: Fixed
This appears to be fixed as a side effect of the change to Aura.

QA, please verify.

 Issue 272066  has been merged into this issue.
 Issue 318718  has been merged into this issue.

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