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Issue metadata

Status: WontFix
Owner: ----
Closed: Jun 2010
EstimatedDays: ----
NextAction: ----
OS: Linux
Pri: 2
Type: Feature

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Make Backspace-behavior a preference

Reported by, Feb 23 2010

Issue description

Chrome Version       : 5.0.322.2
URLs (if applicable) : discussion on
Other browsers tested:
Add OK or FAIL after other browsers where you have tested this issue:
     Safari 4: don't know
  Firefox 3.x: OK (on Windows, and as an preference for linux)
         IE 7: OK
         IE 8: OK

What steps will reproduce the problem?
1. Move from one page to another to add an entry to the browsers history
2. Try to hit Backspace to return to the last page

What is the expected result?
The browser should return to the previous page on hitting Backspace. This 
should be an optional preference for all operating systems (especially on 

What happens instead?

Please provide any additional information below. Attach a screenshot if
Many other browsers, especially on Windows handles Backspace that way. For 
many people this became a second nature.

Showing comments 95 - 194 of 194 Older
[quote]However, we have a strong design philosophy against options (even "hidden" options like about:config) and this doesn't rise to the level of what we'd be willing to add an option for.[/quote]
Wow... a strong belief in NOT letting people choose...
Gee, thanks... I feel so much better knowing that google believes its better if it chooses for me. google OS will NEVER EVER be a contender to microsoft's throne with this type of philosophy.
Also, for anyone who continues to insist that we can use an extension if we really want the behaviour back, I've been using "Backspace As Back/Forward for Linux" for some time now, and even after the most recent update (in August), it still has glitches which just wouldn't be present if the functionality was native to the browser, as it always used to be.  For example, if entering text into a field in a Flash movie, backspace causes the browser to navigate back - thus causing you to lose what you were typing (and in some cases, you'll even get logged out of the application, because it doesn't expect you to navigate away from the page!)

Sure, the Flash issue is something which the extension's developer *might* be able to fix - but the poor sod shouldn't have to deal with this stuff, because it should be in the core and not reliant on an extension!

Comment 97 by Deleted ...@, Sep 29 2010

[quote]If you want widespread user adoption, respect your users.[/quote]

Sorry, Google doesn't respect their users.

Comment 98 by Deleted ...@, Nov 7 2010

me to! I'm used to backspace. Also, alt+left arrow requires TWO hands
Not necessarily. On my laptop, the Alt and Left arrow keys are only about an inch apart. On a desktop keyboard, you can use your index and pinky fingers.
not for me, not even on a desktop keyboard. but i have really large hands. Different people have different situations, hence the idea for a toggle.


a stretch
On a non-US keyboard usually there is no right Alt key. Instead there's an "Alt Gr" key, which is used for generating all sorts of interesting characters:

Point is, for non-US users, "go back" has to be a two-hand keypress. If that isn't a usability issue, I don't know what is…
@flying.mushroom: hence having it as a choice rather then forcing everyone to use the same setting
Please, add a flag for this.

Comment 105 by Deleted ...@, Jan 8 2011

Why is this marked as Wont Fix? I would like some restoration of this feature without having to use a chrome extension as the only one i have found has a customised jquery.js file that has been consolidated into a single line and altered code so who knows what its doing with the page data. As with many others Im using a non US keyb that has alt and left to far apart for a single hand and in the way of a track pad on this laptop.
 Issue 69176  has been merged into this issue.
I use the backspace for going BACK, all the time. So this is actually a deal breaker for me. I like Chrome and the speed of it, but if I can't use it... I won't use it. It seems to be common behavior on most browsers and OS's, so I'm quite used to it. I also tell people all the time about it when helping them.
Yep, me too.

However, since I use Gentoo, I've written an auto-patch script that applies the attached patch every time before building chromium.
663 bytes View Download
Ubuntu noob here Alessandro -- how do I apply this patch?
Eh, the Gentoo thing it's not to state that I'm cool :), but it's because in Gentoo every time you install a package you have to build it.
So I've set up things in such a way that the patch gets applied on the source code before starting the build.
In Ubuntu, it's the package maintainer that does the build on your behalf, so it is him/her that should apply that patch on the source code.

I think someone with some Debian/Ubuntu packaging skills could easily create a new package for chromium forking the official one and adding such patch (and maybe distributing it in a PPA).
@Dan.gins... You can just install this extension instead of dealing with patches and compiling. It's much MUCH more simple and reliable.
 Issue 74218  has been merged into this issue.
I find it somewhat humorous that you claim you removed the "backspace goes back" feature on linux because you could, and then chose not to remove the feature on in Chrome OS, where you could literally set any shortcuts you wanted.

So, I would again say that you should be consistent. If you are trying to change the world (and convince them that backspace should not go back) then enforce that behavior on Chrome OS as well...

Comment 114 by, Mar 16 2011

The main reason the 'Backspace navigates back' was removed from the Linux version of Chromium was because of the potential risk of losing form data (#30699). Note however, that at this moment Chromium for Linux is the only browser that takes this into account (The reason it was disabled by default on Firefox was because of compatibility with Nautilus), no other browsers try to protect users from navigating away from a half filled form by pressing Backspace accidentally.

The balance about implementing expected behavior vs. losing some form data in rare cases (as one would in every other browser) is leaning in favor of the first I would say.

Seeing all the comments and quite some issues merged into this one - also after it was marked as WontFix - I find it striking that there're still so few words from the Chromium team on this.

Comment 115 by Deleted ...@, May 2 2011

It's inexcusable to remove it from Linux and not other platforms too.  Cross-platform behavior ought to be the same when possible.  I suspect you won't remove it from Windows because you know the resulting onslaught would be withering.

Comment 116 Deleted

Even if this is a "WontFix" for reasons of having "a strong design philosophy against options" I find it unacceptable. Even a command line switch would be acceptable, but not even that is given. I, like many others, are well versed in multiple browsers and OS's, so cross compatibility is key. None of the programs or web browsers have this 'feature'. (Although Firefox does disable navigation by default, because of its about:config browser.backspaceAction OPTION, I always switch it to navigation when I install a new copy of Firefox) As a result of this, Chrome is going to be uninstalled from my computer, and every other computer in my household until it is resolved. There is no reason to not provide an option for this, especially when it is only being applied for the Linux versions of Google Chrome.

Comment 118 by, May 29 2011

Looks like it's been fixed, for me at least (Chrome 12 beta on Ubuntu 11.04 32-bit).
Gah, so now it is "fixed" (12.0.742.91 here) -- meaning now it is broken for me.  It's really annoying when you're used to Space/Backspace to move up and down a page (the way Unix has done since the introduction of less(1) in 1990), or when you press Backspace once too many while doing an incremental search.

This really needs to be configurable.

No offense, kjeti, but Backspace for scrolling has never been a standard browser behavior.

It should be configurable, but at this point the best we can hope for is Backspace for navigation back as default.

Comment 121 by Deleted ...@, Aug 3 2011

And the backspace=back behaviour has been removed again in Chrome 13! (13.0.782.107)
"And the backspace=back behaviour has been removed again in Chrome 13! (13.0.782.107)"

Holy jesus! Why the hell did they do that?
Who knows where I can download chrome 12 for linux?

Comment 124 by, Aug 5 2011

Why don't you use the extension instead?
> Why don't you use the extension instead?

Why doesn't Chrome us a sensible keyboard shortcut? One that requires two hands is not.
The extension sucks. It doesn't work unless the page has finished loading. If anyone has a download link for a chrome 12 rpm, it would save me the trouble of having to compile chromium from source to get the correct backspace behavior.

Comment 127 by Deleted ...@, Oct 19 2011

237 KB View Download
@127 That picture is amazing. :D

My original comment still stands strong. (Comment 117) I uninstalled chrome, and now use FF as my default and permanent browser. I may reconsider my opinion after this is brought back.

Comment 129 by, Oct 21 2011

Make this configurable.

Comment 130 by Deleted ...@, Oct 21 2011

This is the one thing left that makes me curse when I use linux.  Please add the option to change this.
@127: Stupid picture, you use two hands. Also what are you talking about, backspace still goes back a page.
It needs to be togglable, and if it was I would disable it. Currently it is always on, no choice.
@127Brilliant picture...could you imagine how stupid someone would feel if they commented on how something worked when it really doesn't because they didn't realize that 130 comments were discussing a different platform.
Backspace behavior needs to be configurable.  It's been standard behavior on most browsers for years and there are thousands of people that rely on that keybinding.  The extension a few posts above is currently NOT a working solution for those that use Chrome on both Windows and Linux, since, when enabled, it *breaks* backspace-to-go-back functionality on Windows, and the enabled state of the extension propagates across all instances of Chrome syncing with a particular Google account.

Comment 134 by Deleted ...@, Dec 13 2011

35.7 KB View Download

Comment 135 by Deleted ...@, Dec 20 2011

This is a standard behaviour in many other programs; Nautilus and Dolphin, the default file managers for GNOME and KDE respectively, both have similar functions enabled, so to justify removing this function on Linux on the basis of it not being standard behaviour for Linux programs is ridiculous.
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!

As for this bugs status: WontFix, well so long as that is the case, my chrome status will be: WontUse.
>Please make this a configurable option

That would make the options 'too confusing'
>>Please make this a configurable option

>That would make the options 'too confusing'

Too confusing? How is that less confusing than having the behavior constantly changing and never consistent with other platforms?

Seriously, this should be user-configurable. Google, don't be Apple. Give your users control. 
Extremely disappointing to see so little comments from the chromium team. If you don't give any reasons for why this is not consistent across platforms we are going to just assume further fragmentation should be expected.
Come on, just add a shortcut-configuration screen in settings. Should be easy. You are working for Google right???
This fragmentation reminds me of Android, which does not give a smooth user experience. 

I hate to see Chrome is on the same boat here. =(
Quoting one of the reviews from the mentioned plugin (

"I am running Ubuntu 10.04 and Win 7 on a couple different laptops...if I add this extension and turn it on in Linux, the extension is also enabled Chrome on Win7, which kills the backspace function. If I disable it on Win7, then when I go back to my Linux laptop it is disabled there as well and backspace doesn't work. 

So I have to choose, either have backspace working on Win7/Chrome, or Linux/Chrome, but not both. Is there a way to make this extension work in Linux w/out borking the same feature in Win7 when it's enabled there? Thanks!"

SO annoying and so unnecessary. Currently Chrome is the only browser (including system file managers Nautilus and Thunar) on my Ubuntu where backspace does not take you back. And on top of this Chrome already warns when trying to use the back button while having form data filled in, so that argument is moot.

Comment 143 by, Aug 13 2012

 Issue 142060  has been merged into this issue.
the dev saying that "options, even hidden ones is against the design philosophy" is complete and utter bullshit, as a philosophy and even as a statement about chrome. has he looked at the command line switches for chrome? the list is *pages* long. literally pages. seriously, add a config file like every other linux app ever written ever, or even just a gconf entry. closing the issue citing design philosophy is just silly.
I don't understand why this feature was removed, when it exists IN EVERY OTHER MODERN BROWSER, even Chrome on Windows.  Backspace as a Back navigation shortcut should be default behavior.  Just revert the previous change.  If you want to add a config to disable it, fine, but this should be default behavior, like every other browser.
This should be re-opened. Avoiding lots of options is a good idea, but when something results in lost work (i.e. typing a long form and unintentionally going back a page) then the issue should be considered higher priority. This is more and more of a problem as websites become places where people compose and create content, and where de-focusing a field is just a palm-on-a-touchpad away.
Why should Ubuntu users be second class citizens with a broken UI that is unlike Windows and Mac?  I can't be using two hands every time I want to go BACK.  Not everybody has two hands!  

Comment 149 by Deleted ...@, Dec 11 2012

What surprises me greatly as I read through these comments is that the Google team never bothered to issue a single response. The thread was simply marked 'won't fix'. I had stopped using Chrome when I switched to Linux simply because the backspace extension wouldn't work as it does in every other browser. I reinstalled Chrome today, only to discover it still doesn't work. I'm uninstalling immediately after I write this. 

It is, as you have repeatedly been told here, a 'deal breaker' for a lot of people who don't want to use two hands to do what can be done with one hand. Meantime, your response -- even to requests to make this an option -- has been silence. 

You're a bunch of control freaks. Google has become something to be feared rather than respected.
Should merge with  Issue 144832 . 
I totally agree this should be optional.
Can someone from the Chromium team PLEASE explain the rationale behind the choice to remove this functionality and keep it removed?  This thread has been collecting complaints and "+1 please make backspace work" comments for almost three years now.  Furthermore, it appears at least 12 other tickets have been merged into this one.  Furthermore, there are threads on basically every widely used ubuntu forum or q/a site asking how to fix this.  I am just at a loss trying to figure out why the dev team has decided to dig their heels in on such a bizarre issue.  Unless I'm mistaken, literally every other modern browser uses the backspace key as "go back."  Chromium on Linux is *the only* modern browser lacking this feature.  Am I missing something?

 I've seen only one comment here in support of disabling backspace, from tabletcorry, and I suspect he was playing devil's advocate to prove a  point rather than being actually in favor of disabling backspace per  Issue 46627 .

Chromium dev team: obviously it's your project and I can "fork it if I don't like it", but can you please explain why this choice was made and stuck to in the face of *universally* held opinion among users that this is not desirable behavior, as well as the fact that no other browser shares this behavior?
 Issue 152373  has been merged into this issue.
 Issue 144832  has been merged into this issue.
 Issue 144832  has been merged into this issue.
It's worth noting that the rationale used by pkasting for closing this ticket as "wontfix" was that this behavior can be enabled via an extension.  The problem with that rationale is that those extensions currently break the backspace functionality on windows (which happens if you use chrome on windows and linux and you sync your bookmarks and extensions, as many people do).

Seeing as how the primary justification used for closing this ticket is flawed, this ticket should be re-opened.
@Sequoia: Google does not believe in having options. This isn't sarcasm on my part but a quote of a google rep.

I can only imagine that they think "options" confuse users and thus it is better to not have them whenever possible.

Also, there is no universally held belief. A hundred or so people petitioning for a change to something that has millions of users could just be a vocal minority.
And even in here people are evenly split between wanting backspace as back disabled and those who want it enabled.

What almost everyone in here (except google reps) agrees on is that it should be an option that the user selects based on their own preference.
Type a ton of work into something, need to change one little thing, hit the backspace key, loose everything, switch to Firefox.  Fix this in chrome before you start loosing people for NO good reason.

Comment 158 by, Feb 15 2013

There used to be an extension called Backspace Means Backspace which would undo this nonsense.  Now that's gone. 

This is insane.

Comment 159 by, Feb 15 2013

I should also mention that backspacing in Google Plus sends you back a page.  

To repeat -- this breaks on Google's own websites.

Comment 160 by, Feb 16 2013

@taltam: If they are trying to avoid confusing users then the behavior shouldn't differ between platforms. I know there is an extension which re-enables this behavior in Linux, but it breaks it on other platforms, besides, something like this shouldn't be handled by an extension... especially not in the way Chrome implements extensions.

Please remove the backspace to go back binding from Windows and OS X or enable it in Linux.
Please fix this issue
Fix this madness
Project Member

Comment 163 by, Mar 11 2013

Labels: -Area-UI Cr-UI
How is it possible that no one from Google is responding to this???
They seem to ignore most of these from what I have seen.  With this being open since 2010 I think they just don't care about any of the feedback given.  These little things that are never confronted are what make people start jumping ship.
The problem for me is that every other browser is such garbage that I stick around despite the backward use of the backspace key. Chromium has the majority market share now, but if they keep holding on to old ideas like trans-integrating interface commands alongside complex web applications like backspace-go-back while ignoring the common backspace-character-delete, that lead will erode. 

There optionless model makes sense until you look at the human factors, there is no way to realize when you are not interfacing with the webpage and communicating with the browser; therefore the best option is to allow the user to choose between no keyboard shortcuts or the hybrid focus model that is currently implemented. 

A no-keyboard-shortcut mode similar to incognito would be a good compromise would be a good compromise.
I say we make a patch for Chromium that adds a config setting for this. If Google won't provide this, time to roll our own.

Comment 169 by Deleted ...@, Jun 10 2013

Bump. Bring back Backspace to go back in browser history or make it an option that you can turn on.
This not only is an absolutely insane behavior for any browser to have at all, but the fact that it is the default behavior still after decades of browser evolution is a tragedy in itself.  Who really uses the backspace key for browser navigation?

Even if you use a computer with a mouse at all I can see no justification for having backspace tied to back navigation as a default behavior.  The potential for data loss and breaking web application behavior are now more present than ever before.  THIS NEEDS TO BE RECTIFIED IMMEDIATELY.

The fact that anyone at Google would actually mark this as WONTFIX is pretty crazy.  Saying that the behavior can be "can be addressed via an extension" is asinine.  The real problem is not in the annoyance to knowledgeable people who could write or download an extension, but to the millions of people who don't know how to change the browser behavior or even what that means.  These people will be the ones who lose data or web application state because they accidentally hit backspace when a text field wasn't focused.  This problem can't be fixed by an extension.

I know that developers (including myself) hate to admit design decisions they've made are just plain wrong.  This is one of those times that you need to admit it.  There is no good reason to leave the behavior as is.  There are countless other times that legacy behavior has been deemed not good enough in cases far less problematic than this one, and this is one that would literally take about 2 seconds to rectify in the codebase, so what gives?

Comment 171 Deleted

Comment 172 by, Nov 13 2013

I just pushed the backspace key and instead of deleting the character I wanted to delete, Chrome went back a page and lost my form input and wasted a ton of my time. In Firefox, there is the "browser.backspace_action" setting that makes the key work however you want. Make this configurable in Chromium too!
Regular user *clicks* to go back anyways. Get rid of this crap please.
I never thought it would happen but this is fixed.  Backspace now goes back by default on chrome 35 (unstable).  See .  I can confirm the new behavior.
This is horrible - I keep loosing form data with this.. (on chromeOS)

Comment 176 by Deleted ...@, Jun 28 2014



Comment 177 by, Jul 2 2014

However, we have a strong design philosophy against options *SNIP*

I find this an interesting but disappointing response.  I originally switched to Chrome because of the lack of Backspace=Back, the light overhead, and the options that were available to me.  Out of all the big three I expected Google Chrome to treat people like people and maybe come up with an inventive solution, but to disregard this because you don't wish to add an option (which can cause overhead I admit) amazes me.  Isn't the fun of working at Google to to create a better solution for everyone?

So obviously you have two portions of your user base, one portion has no where to go but FF with an option set, and may they burn if they have a reason not to go there.  And the other set simply want a functionality they get everywhere else and have their reasons not to want the change. 

Are other fixes being considered?  Or is this issue truly dead and if you don't like it never use anything with chrome and backspace?

If you are taking suggestions here's my attempt at a new solution:

Key: ' = Backspace tap; - = Backspace held (about the same time a a keyboard repeat delay); TB = In a text box; OTB = Out of a Text Box 

TB delete previous character 
OTB Nothing, or a message box to see "Chrome Backspace Behavior" with a check box to never see again
TB Nothing, or a message box to see "Chrome Backspace Behavior" with a check box to never see again 
OTB Back one page
TB deletes two previous characters
OTB back one page
TB begins deleting previous characters at the normal keyboard rate
OTB acts like holding down the Back button showing history and moving down the list until released going to the selected page
TB deletes three previous characters
OTB back two pages
TB deletes four previous characters
OTB back three pages

I'm going to get the quote wrong but: Come on team! Don't go for a ground ball to third, put it out of the park with a Home Run!

Comment 178 by Deleted ...@, Jul 11 2014

This serves no purpose and causes so many headaches.  WHY IS THIS STILL A FEATURE?  Please fix it, I'm so tired of losing data through this, especially when switching between multiple windows.

Comment 179 by Deleted ...@, Aug 18 2014

No. No no no no no. Backspace should NOT be navigation by default. That is how progress is lost, and it COMPLETELY breaks anything in Flash that might require a backspace key, such as typing in a text field and having to delete a character. MAKE THIS AN OPTION, NOT A STATIC BEHAVIOUR. HAVE IT DEFAULT TO OFF.
This is ridiculous, 4 years and Google didn't bothered at all to make a simple option out of the damn thing. And then you wonder why people (soon me too) turn to OSX and Apple in general. Mainly because they pay attention to detail and user expirience - something the Chromium team is not familiar with. Goodbye to the mess called Google.
I just lost hours of work because of the backspace bug!!  Please make an option to turn it off like Firefox!!!!!!!!
Please an option to disable this.
The indignant view on this is ridiculous. Add the flag in chrome://flags/ for power users if you don't want to add to Settings. This is a huge headache.
I am shocked an issue that asks for the removal of this "feature" is merged into a closed issue that is about "fixing" this "feature". This hotkey is a horrible legacy issue that is a huge risk to anybody who ever writes texts in browsers and should be removed. It is a shame that you seriously need to install some extension (that states it will read all your data, yuche) that may or may not work just to get rid of this.
However, we have a strong design philosophy against options *SNIP*

That's the stupidest thing I have ever heard. You don't like giving people options, so you merge a feature request into a closed ticket asking for the exact opposite of what people have been asking for for over three years now.

Stack overflow dealing with trying to even disable this when trying to create a webapp has 143 Upvotes and 51 stars at the moment:

Backspace behavior is straight up bonkers.
WHY was this marked as WontFix?  A simple setting would make thousands of people happy.  Read comment 183 again.
Google's own Search product disables the "backspace" -> "back" key mapping, because it is a very unpopular misfeature.

Do you want to force every damn web page on the planet, one by one, to disable this idiot key binding with dodgy unrealiable javascript code?  Or do you want to fix your dumb browser in just the one place?

Backspace -> back page should certainly be disabled by default.

If you don't want to add a random option to enable this key binding specifically, how about a feature to edit all key bindings, so they users can make the browser behave how they like?  Regardless of this, the "backspace" button by default should not cause a "back" navigation.
While I know my comment will not change anything, I have to say that this thread has made for a useful read.   I could never figure out why Chrome would sometimes, seemingly randomly, go back a page when I was working on something and wipe all my progress.  Turns out in some pages 'paste' causes focus to shift and then editing the paste via 'delete' moved the page.

I have been using browsers since the days of Mosaic, and it never even occurred to me that the backspace or delete keys would navigate to a previous page.  I guess it is time to switch back to firefox so I can disable this dangerous shortcut.
This is why we can't have nice things.
This is beyond ludicrous.

That being said, your best bet (as far as I can tell) is to install the tampermonkey extension (a well-trusted extension as far as I know), then install the following script:

// ==UserScript==
// @name         BackspaceMeansBackspace
// @namespace
// @version      1.2
// @description  Prevents the Backspace key from triggering the browser Back action.
// @matches      http://*/*
// @matches      https://*/*
// @matches      file:///*
// @matches      ftp://*/*
// @run-at       document-start
// @copyright    2009+, playswithlife 
// ==/UserScript==


Comment 192 by Deleted ...@, Sep 8 2015

PLEASE PLEASE fix this incredibly cruel and destructive key!!!  I just lost a ton of work (AGAIN!) moments ago due to this STUPID Backspace shortcut which NOBODY intentionally uses!!  I can't count the number of times this has happened.  Probably in the triple digits of hours of work lost due to this over the last 10 years.  Please disable this cruel, sadistic time bomb!  I can't believe there are years of complaints on this and you guys haven't paid any attention.... :(
Don't make it a preference, just disable it completely and for everyone. It's really pointless to use backspace as a back button anymore.
Labels: OS-Linux Restrict-AddIssueComment-EditIssue
This bug was closed years ago and no one has been reading it.  Posting comments here has absolutely no influence on anything the development team does.  To give feedback, please use the Chrome product feedback forums, where we're set up to monitor people requesting particular features and changes and evaluate what to do about them.  The bug tracker is for engineering project management and isn't a good place to try to influence developers.

This also means that opening new bugs for this or commenting on existing open bugs to ask this to happen are not good ways to get it to happen either.  You actually run the risk of making developers _less_ likely to implement anything here.   Bug 413395  tracks current work here.  If you are interested in receiving updates there, use the star next to the issue number near the page to star the bug.  Otherwise, as noted before, sharing feedback in the product forum is the best way to advocate for change.

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