Posted by Mike Racine
Hidden Azure keyboard shortcuts (INCLUDING SECRET HOTKEYS)
Sure, the Azure portal can be a little hard to navigate sometimes, but what if there was a better, faster way? What if you could jump to all your most visited places in two keystrokes? In this episode of #KnowOps, Dana shows us how he navigates the portal in seconds, including a couple of shortcuts that aren’t widely documented (shhhhh😉).
Links to Azure CLI Episodes
While I'm a big fan of Azure, I'm really not a fan of the Azure portal. One of the reasons I use the Azure CLI so much, is it's just so much faster to get around to get things done. Now that's not to knock on the Azure portal itself. If you're new to cloud, it's very easy to start exploring and getting feature discovery in there. But when you're just trying to get work done, it can slow you down a lot. Let me show you some tricks that I use that can speed things up using keyboard hot keys and just knowing how to arrange the portal to make it a better experience for you.
Dana Epp here, welcome to the channel for aspiring Azure administrators like you and me, who are trying to know ops, and well, master the Microsoft Cloud. I'm so glad to have you here, thanks for coming by. If you haven't yet, smash the subscribe button so you can be notified when I produce new videos each week.
So one of the things I was talking about earlier is just how much I'm not a big fan of the portal. And that's mostly because I just wanna get my work done and the portal has so many places to go to get things done, it can take a long time. What I mean by that is, a lot of times it takes three, four, five clicks to get to something that really shouldn't be that hard. Now while you can bookmark and create deep links when you need to, it's just not as efficient sometimes as using the Azure CLI. But with that said, there's just some things that work so much better in the portal and it's better that we get used to moving around the portal very efficiently to get things done. So let's jump into the portal and I'll show you some of the tricks of the trade with some hidden shortcuts and some secret hot keys that might be able to help you out in understanding how the portal actually functions.
So built deep into the Azure portal are a whole bunch of keyboard hot keys that you can use. Where these shortcuts will help you manipulate and move around the system. As an example, I can always go into the menu if I wanted to access all resources, then I could click on the all resources item. But, another way to get to that would be to hold the G key down and then hit A. That shortcut automatically gets me to all resources.
Then if I wanted to, another example would be G + R, would get me to my resource groups. And if I wanted to get back to the dashboard It would be G + D. So, G + A, G + R, and G + D. Your three examples to jumping around between these main areas. Of course if I wanted to get to the main search I can hit that by going G + forward slash, and that brings up that and allows me to very quickly search across everything if I want to. And if I wanted to see all services that are in the system, I can do that by going G + B. And that brings me to the all services.
Course, if you want to get right to the marketplace and just, let's say you gotta spin up a new resource very quickly, another option would be to go G + N, for new resource. But notice what happened in this scenario. Because I went to a place that had a default search field or an input box that was the default focus, I wasn't able to get there because the focus is in the input field. So anytime you see that on one of those screens you have to tab away first to get outta that focus and then you can go G + N, as an example and now were creating a new resource. And again you can see I'm in the search field. So if I tab away, now I can go back to the dashboard G + D.
Now one of the other things that is really nice, is that when you're in your menu, you have your favorites, right? And your favorites give you the ability to quickly get, and you can organize them. As an example, maybe active directory is my thing that I go the most. I can click it and drag it and organize it, to put it wherever I want to. So if I want to, as an example, put it at the top, there it is. Maybe I want to have my policy ahead of my monitoring, I can do that too by just moving that around. But, doing it that way also gives us another magical access through keyboard hot keys. The first 10 items in your favorite list are also hot-keyed. G plus the 1 or 2 or 3, moves you through the first 10 items.
So as an example, if I go G + 1, this will be active directory, G + 2 gets me to policy, G + 3 gets me to monitoring. And you can then arrange your favorites however you want to, so it's easy to get to. So in my case, if I wanna get to active directory, G + 1 and if I go to G + 2, I'm in policy. Go G + 3, I'm in monitoring. So it's very easy to jump between these different types of resources as you need to and that toggling's pretty good. Another way I can get to the menu if I want to directly, is if it hit the G and Period together, this will move, and you'll notice on the top left that the Microsoft Azure logo has been highlighted but if I hit the period again, G + Period, it moves it to the menu and now I can just hit space and now I have access to the menu if I need to get to it directly. These are all really useful shortcut keys to get you movin' around. I really like the one through 10 keys cause it allows me to link up the things that I care about in that tenent, at that time, and as long as I can easily remember it, I can jump around those without having to click on lots of different things to get to it.
Now, one last thing I wanna show you, why the portal sometimes doesn't always load so fast and help you to debug it to try to figure out what's going on. As an example, if I go back to the dashboard, G + D. And once I'm in here, if I hit Control + Alt and the D key together, you'll see that it brings up this special debug mode that gives you some extra information that can tell you some things of what's going on. As an example, what we can see here is that while the composite time was 1.79 seconds for building this out, we can see how long certain things took to load. So, some of this is cached 'cause I was reloading it. If I would restart this and hit Control + R, just to reload the screen and then I do that Control + Alt + D, you can start seeing that some things are taking you know, several seconds to load up. And if I wanted to debug and try to figure out what's going on, I can do that by clicking on all perf as an example. So we can see what's taking the most amount of time. I also have the ability, when you're looking at some of this stuff, is being able to get a dump of the information that's required.
This is actually pretty powerful if you wanna get some information about your session. If you look over on the bottom right corner here, you have the ability to, as an example, to take a look at your user settings and you can dump this. And this dumps it to the console. So if I was to load up the developer console with F12, and then go and say, dump my user settings, you'll now see this expanded information about the session with everything related to user. If you're not seeing this, it may be simply because you haven't turned on Verbose logging in the console. That's off by default in things like Edge, but if you turn that on, then you'll be able to see these dumps, when you dump it from the portal. You can also do things like, dump the portal services which is what I like to do. Because when I dump those services I can then dig deep into the portal session to be looking up things.
Now this is very geeky and may not be something you need to do. I know for me, being the security guy, I like sometimes walking in and taking a look at what's going on. So as an example, if I wanna go in and take a gander at the access tokens that are being used to connect to the portal services, I'll actually go in and look at the values here, and look into the instance and I'll be able to start finding things that are interesting to me, things that relate to the token and everything that's on there. I'm not gonna dig deep in here but you can get your access tokens and all the other things that are important to you. I encourage you to check it out if you're interested in that kind of stuff because there's lots you can learn there and you can apply that.
Now there are much easier ways in the Azure CLI to dump your access token to be able to use that for other things. But if you're web kind of person and you just wanna use this and maybe something like Postman you can definitely use the Control + Alt + D and then dump your portal services to go and look into this stuff. Now, I will tell you, be careful with this stuff. Don't start going and modifying this stuff. You may cause some issues in your session. But if you just want to take a look at this kind of stuff, see what's slowing you down. What's really interesting, as an example, is I tune this, my app insights search criteria was bringing back usually six, seven seconds and I figured out how to tune that up in my dashboard to speed things up. Because I was just getting irritated with every time I'd log in it would take seven to nine seconds to log in, simply because of what I have on my dashboard. And you can use the Control + Alt + D to get that.
Now since we're talking geeky and about other secret commands you can have in a portal, If you want to, to get rid of these, you just hit Control + Alt + D again and that gets rid of it. Another one that's kinda fun though, is hitting Control + Alt + A. And what that's gonna do, it'll download the actual portal diagnostics and if you're into code and looking at Jason in very interesting ways, you can find a ton of useful information that relates to how the portal's working, how it's functioning, all organized through this Jason file that gets downloaded when you hit Control + Alt + A. These are undocumented because these aren't really meant for end users. But if you're a developer and you're trying to learn how to get more out of Azure and trying to understand how the portal works, there is tons of useful information that you can glean out of the Jason file to get, when you hit Control + Alt + A.
Using the shortcuts to run around the portal does make it a lot easier, especially when you use things like the favorites menu and jumping between your G + 1, two, three, four, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Or running into your resources through G + R. One of the interesting things is if you hit up on the top menu, into the question mark, you actually can go in, there is a link now that says keyboard shortcuts that you can use to, if you forget these specific key commands, you can see some of those. Some of the hidden ones like Control + Alt + D and Control + Alt + A, they're not meant for general use so they're not gonna be in the shortcut help menu. But, if you go in there, you can try those out. You'll be able to manipulate and jump around into the portal when you need to. Or, learn the Azure CLI. You can get to so much more, so much faster and I'll leave a link in the description for a couple of episodes I've done that can help you learn the CLI if you're not used to it all, or using a cloud shell to access the CLI.
I hope that was useful to you. Let me know by hittin' like, and well, smashing the subscribe button if you haven't yet, so that you can be notified when I create new videos, each and every week. Until then, thanks for watchin'. Appreciate ya comin', we'll see ya in the next episode.
Speed up your work in the #Azure portal with some neat keyboard hot key hacks. #knowops @auditwolf