Web Surfing Tricks

April 12, 2013

In this article we are going to show you some tricks you can use when you are viewing websites.

Search Current Web Page
When you are on a web page and you are looking for something specific, you can use the find function in your web browser to search the currently displayed. For example, let’s say you are visiting the alumni page on your high school’s website and you are looking for a specific person with the last name of Thompson. The web page lists hundreds of names and it’s not in alphabetic order. This would be a good time to use the find function. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard (located on the bottom row to the left of the spacebar). Now press and release the F key on the keyboard. A search box will appear. In this example, you would type Thompson into the search box and it will find the first instance of the name Thompson, if there is one. You can keep hitting next to go to the next instance of the search word you typed in.

Where the search box appears and what it looks like depends on which web browser you are using. Generally it shows up in a corner of the web browser. Give it a try. I think you will find it will help you find things faster in some situations. By the way, Cntrl-F is a fairly universal keyboard shortcut for the find function. It works in Microsoft Word, most email clients, and lots of other software.

Another powerful trick you can use when surfing the web is to use tabs. Tabs allow you to have more than one website open in the same web browser at the same time. Of course, you can have more than one copy of your browser open at the same time and each one can be on a different web page. But that’s harder to manage than tabs. Tabs show up near the top of your browser and look like the tabs on manila file folders.

When viewing a web page, there are normally links on most web pages. If you click on a link, it goes to that link and the content you were viewing is replaced by the content of the link you just clicked on. For example, if you are on the CNN home page and there is a story about Windows 8 and you click on that to view the story, your web browser is no longer showing the CNN home page and the Windows 8 story now replaces the CNN home page in your browser. If you want to keep the CNN home page, but still open the story on Windows 8, you can do that in one of several ways.

To open the Windows 8 story in a new tab, you could hold the Ctrl key down on your keyboard and click the mouse. This tells your browser to open the link you clicked on in a new tab. So it would create a new tab and open that link there. Meanwhile, you are still on the tab that is showing CNN’s home page. You could Ctrl-click on several stories on the home page and then switch to each tab and read the stories one by one. This saves a lot of back and forth.

Tabs are also powerful in the same way when you are doing a search with a search engine like Google, for example. When you do a search, you get a long list of websites that meet your search criteria. Instead of clicking on one, discovering it’s not what you want, and then having to go back and click on something else, why not Ctrl-click on several of them. This will load them into separate tabs. Then you can click on each tab and check them out. If a tab doesn’t have what you are looking for, you can close that tab and go on to the next one.

I encourage you to play with tabs. I think you will find they can be very powerful and will save you time and mouse clicks.

Another trick that is especially helpful for those of us whose eyesight isn’t what it used to be. Web browsers have a zoom function that allow you to zoom in and zoom out. There are several different ways to access the zoom function, but the easiest way is to hold down the Ctrl key and then press the plus sign to zoom in or the minus sign to zoom out. Each time you press the plus sign, it zooms in closer and closer. And each time you press the minus sign, it zooms out farther and farther. You can also hold the Ctrl key down and scroll the mouse wheel to zoom in and out, but I find this method harder to control.

A keyboard shortcut I use a lot when surfing the web is the backspace key. Hitting the backspace key is the same is clicking on the back button in your browser.

Full Screen Mode
Most web browser are capable of going into full screen mode. You can enter and exit full screen mode by hitting F11 on your keyboard. What this does is that it takes away all of the window controls, address bar, menu, toolbars, buttons, and even the tabs leaving more room to display web pages. While in full screen mode, you can access some of the controls like tabs, the back button, the close button, or address bar, by moving your mouse pointer up to the top edge of the screen. When you do that, some of the controls will appear, but not all of them. Moving your mouse pointer away from the top edge of the screen will make the controls disappear again. If you need access to controls that don’t show up when you move your mouse pointer to the top edge of the screen, then you’ll have to hit F11 on your keyboard to exit full screen mode to access them.

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