How To Use Your Web Browser

August 6, 2009

Here are some tips and tricks for using your web browser. All examples are shown using Internet Explorer, but most work with other browsers like FireFox and Chrome as well.

When you want to go to a specific website and you know the address of the website, type the address in the address bar on your browser, not the search box on your search engine. Here’s an example. Let’s say you want to go to our web page and you know that our web page is  Now take a look at this screenshot:IE8 Screenshot

This is a partial screenshot of Internet Explorer currently on Google. Look at the top and find where it says: This is the address of the current web page you are looking at. If you want to go to a specific page, click once on that address with your mouse. This will highlight the entire address. Now you can type the address you want to go to. As you start typing, whatever is highlighted will be replaced by what you type. You only need to type “”. You don’t have to type the http or the colon, slashes, or the www. In fact, on 99% of the web pages, you never need to type www. After typing the webpage you want to go to, hit the enter key on your keyboard and it will go to that web page.

If you were to type the address into the google search box, you would get search results that would include the page you want to go to and you would have to click on it to go to it. It just saves time and clicks to enter it directly into the address bar instead of the search box. Of course, if you don’t know the address of the website you want to go to, you would certainly want to use the search box.

Speaking of the search box, you don’t have to go to to do a google search. If you are using Internet Explorer 7 or later, you can click in the box in the upper right hand corner of Internet Explorer, type in your search terms, and hit enter on your keyboard to search for them. This saves the step of having to go to to search for something. Note that the search box can be set to use most any search engine. You can change which search engine is used by clicking on that little down arrow to the right of the search box.

If you go to a website and want to remember the address, you can save it as a favorite by clicking on the Gold Star where it says “Favorites” on the left side of Internet Explorer and choosing “Add to favorites”. Once you have a website saved in your favorites, if you want to go to it, just click on favorites, find that website in the list, and click on it.

On the screenshot above, look just to the right of the Favorites. See where it says LogMeIn and FaceBook? These are favorites that I have placed on the favorites bar. If you have a few websites you go to frequently, you can put them here which makes them quicker and easier to access. In this example, if I want to go to FaceBook, I just click where it says FaceBook on the favorites bar.

If you have clicked a lot of links and have drilled down into a web page, you can use the back button to go back to the last web page. If you want to go several pages back,  you can click the little down arrow to the right of the back and forward buttons. It will give you a list of the last 10 web pages you have been on, including the one you are on now. Click on the one you want to go to and that saves you having to hit the back button several times and waiting for each page to load. This is also helpful if you are trapped on a web page. Some web pages try to trap you on their website. If you it back, it stays on the web page you are on. But if you use the list I just told you about it, you can get back to where you were.

Tabs are another very handy feature. In the screenshot above, look just below the favorites bar. There are 3 tabs in this example, but you can have as many tabs as you want. In this example, the first tab is Google, the second is (our web page), and the third is Microsoft’s website. I can switch to any of these by just clicking on the tab. I can add a new tab by clicking on the small blank tab just to the right of the last tab.

What I find is the most helpful way to use tabs is when searching. Open Internet Explorer and do a search. Normally what you might do is click on a search result, wait for it to load, look at it, click the back button, and then click another search result. This works fine, but it’s not very efficient. There is a cool way you can use tabs to make this much more efficient. After getting your initial search results, instead of clicking on each search result you are interested in, hold the control key down on your keyboard and click them while holding it down. This will go to that search result in a new tab leaving your search results in the first tab. Scan the search results and control-click all of the results you are interested in. You can do this on as many as you want, but if you get more than five to ten tabs, it gets kind of hard to manage.

While  you are control-clicking, those websites are loading up in each tab. So you didn’t have to sit there and wait for it to load. Once you get 5-10 tabs, start clicking on the tabs from left to right to check them out. If you don’t’ like it, close that tab and go to the next one. If you aren’t sure, leave that tab and go on to the next one. If you want to go back to your search results, just click back on the first tab.

Have you ever gone to a page and you got the page not found error? It could just be a glitch. Hit the refresh button and see if the page loads. If it doesn’t, hit the back button and go somewhere else. The refresh button is two arrows going in a circle just to the right of the address bar. Or you can press F5 on your keyboard.

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