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Chapter 4. Tips And Techniques > Keyboard Shortcuts and Other Timesavers

Keyboard Shortcuts and Other Timesavers

Customizing your Web browser so that it starts automatically with your favorite search engine is one way to save time and get the ball rolling faster when you need to search for information on the Net. Now let's take a look at some other techniques for making your online sessions easier and more productive.

Keyboard shortcuts

Searching for menu commands can be a nuisance with any application, Web browsers included. We find that it's often faster and easier to perform common tasks with a couple of keystrokes. These keyboard shortcuts (Table 4.1) for Windows and Macintosh systems work with both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

Table 4.1. Keyboard Shortcuts
Go to the next Web page.Alt+ACommand+[
Go to the previous Web page.Alt+SCommand+]
Add current Web page to Bookmarks/Favorites.Ctrl+DCommand+D
Organize Bookmarks/Favorites.Ctrl+BCommand+B
Copy highlighted textCtrl+CCommand+C
from a Web page.  
Paste highlighted textCtrl+VCommand+V
Find text on a Web page.Ctrl+FCommand+F
Print current Web page.Ctrl+PCommand+P
Open History folder.Ctrl+HCommand+H
Open new Web page.Ctrl+LCommand+L
Open new Browser window.Ctrl+NCommand+N

Making short work of Web addresses

We've mentioned this shortcut before but it bears repeating here: With the latest versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and Netscape Navigator, you don't have to type http:// in your browser's Address or Location box to get to a Web site. You can even leave out www and com to access your favorite search engine—or any site that begins and ends with those letters.

For example, to go to the Google Web site (http://www.google.com), just type google in your browser's Address or Location box (Figure 4.21) and press Ctrl+Enter (Windows) or Enter (Mac).

Figure 4.21. Type just the domain name and the browser will add www. and .com for you.

Searching for text in Web pages

Search engines often return pages that are loaded with text, and it's not immediately clear that the information you want is there. To avoid the time and trouble of scrolling and reading through page after page, let your Web browser's Find feature do the work for you.

With IE and older versions of Netscape (prior to Version 6), the Find feature is located on the Edit menu. With Netscape 6, it's on the Search menu. Alternatively, with both IE and Netscape, you can access the Find feature by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F (Windows) or Command+F (Mac).

When the Find dialog box appears (Figure 4.22), simply enter the word or phrase you want to locate on the Web page and then click your browser's Find (or Find Next) button.

Figure 4.22. Locating the word riddle on this Harry Potter Web page is a snap (or a click!) with your browser's Find feature.

Avoiding long print jobs

Imagine clicking your Print button and then discovering that the Web “page” you're printing is actually 28 pages long—and all you wanted was a couple of telephone and fax numbers that appear about two-thirds of the way through the document.

The secret to avoiding a problem like this is to activate your browser's Print Preview feature before clicking the Print button.

If you're using IE 5 (Windows or Mac) or Netscape 4 for Windows, you'll find the Print Preview link (Figure 4.23) on the File menu. (Unfortunately, Netscape 4 for Macintosh and Netscape 6 for Windows and Mac don't offer Print Preview.) Using Print Preview, find the page that contains the information you're after. (You'll probably have to zoom in to read the text and the page numbers that appear in the footer.) Then print just the page (or pages) you need.

Figure 4.23. If your browser offers a Print Preview feature, it will be on the File menu. You can save time and paper by using Print Preview to selectively print just the pages you need from a multipage Web page.

Alternatively, with both IE and Netscape, you can highlight the text you're interested in and then copy and paste it to another application, such as Word or Notepad, using the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+C to copy and Ctrl+V to paste (in Windows) or Command+C and Command+V (on the Mac). Then print your text from there.

✓ Tip

  • From time to time, you'll encounter a Web page that won't appear properly in the Print Preview window. The header and footer may be there, for example, but the main text—the portion you're most interested in printing—will be blank. When that happens, try sending the page to yourself as an e-mail message using the Send (or Send Page) link on the File menu.

Opening a second Web browser

Sometimes the Web is painfully slow, and a complicated search can seem to take forever to finish. When that happens, consider opening a second browser window so that you can go about your business and check back in a couple of minutes.

In IE, the command sequence is File > New > Window (Figure 4.24). In Netscape, choose File > New Navigator Window (in Windows) or File > New Navigator (on the Mac).

Figure 4.24. You can open a second Web browser window from the Internet Explorer File menu, as shown here. Netscape Navigator works much the same way.

Alternatively, in both IE and Netscape, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+N (Windows) or Command+N (Mac).

Viewing search results in a new window

How many times has this happened to you: You've initiated a search and produced a list of results that looks quite promising. You begin clicking individual items and the links on those pages to see if they contain the information you're after. Eventually, you want to get back to your original results list. But it's buried so far down in the Back button's list that you can't easily find it. Or it may have even disappeared completely.

You can avoid this problem by keeping your search results on the screen and viewing individual results in a new window. Here's the technique: Instead of clicking a link, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) and then choose the menu option for opening the page in a new window (Figure 4.25).

Figure 4.25. Right-clicking The Muggle World brings up the menu that includes an option for opening the link in a new browser window.

Dealing with broken links and “Page Not Found” messages

Some percentage of your searches are bound to lead you to Web pages that no longer exist. When that happens, try deleting everything after the last slash in the URL that appears in your browser's Address or Location box. Then press Enter. The Web site you're after may indeed still exist, but the particular file you specified may have been eliminated or renamed.

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