These tips will probably seem obvious for some, but I am surprised by how many people I see not using easy to use browser functionality. I’m not talking about FireFox add-ons or plugins, I’m talking about the average functionality that most browsers come with out of the box. These are tips that although simple can vastly speed up your surfing habits and allow you to find stuff quicker and manage multiple websites efficiently. Whether you are comparing reviews or searching for the latest tips on Photoshop, these quick steps will help you do this better and faster.
1. Tabs are your friend
Tabs are in every major browser now. Although they took awhile to get to Internet Explorer, no one has to go without now. I think browser tabs are the most obvious of these tips, but just in case, here’s a refresher.
Those little tabs you may see from time to time across the top of your browser are actually multiple browser windows. Years ago we would have to literally open multiple browser windows and have a mess of them in our task bar or whatever OS you might have been using at the time. All browsers have different ways of using or adding tabs, but one that seems universal is the fast key Ctrl+T on the PC, or Cmd+T on the mac. This will quickly open a new tab. There are also clickable buttons in many browser along the top, but I’ll let you in experiment with those. In some browsers like FireFox you’ll have to add the “New Window” button manually by right clicking the top browser bar and selecting customize. Here you can drag and drop all kinds of elements into the FireFox interface, but using fast keys will always be faster than using buttons.
Why are tabs good? Well if you are like me you usually have anywhere from 5 to 20 of them open at a time. Everything from email to Google, or all the articles you intend on reading. You can also set up most browsers to save your tab session when you close the browser, this way the next time you open your browser all your tabs reappear. You can usually find this setting in the options section of your browser.
2. Tabs part II, the middle click is your friend too
Of course the easiest way to open multiple tabs is to middle click links. One of the main reasons why some web designers should stop breaking our middle click.
Where I find the middle click most useful is when reading a list of articles. You are on a news site, the front page has 5 stories and you know you want to read them all, why not just middle click each one and open all 5. This way you won’t forget to read them and you can go through them one by one. For bandwidth heavy pages, or people with slow Internet connections this will also allow all the pages to completely loaded by the time you get to them.
3. Finding stuff; your search goes beyond Google
So you have searched for the past 5 minutes and you have finally found that nugget with the tips or secrets you so desperately need, but darn, the page is huge, where is that one single paragraph you want. This is where your browsers find comes into play, pressing Ctrl+F or Cmd+F will bring up your browsers find dialogue. Type in the exact word or phrase that Google or your favourite search engine showed on this page and you should be able to instantly jump to that section. Remember that this is not a search engine, so you need to type the exact word or phrase that Google found in it’s preview.
This tip is a real time saver for me, and I’m usually greeted with surprise when I say to someone, “Search the page”.
4. Wrapping it all up with some more shortcuts
When searching on the page the first instance may not be what you were looking for. Ctrl+G or Cmd+G will quickly jump to the next instance of that phrase or word. Ctrl+W or Cmd+W will close the tabbed window you currently have open. Closed a tab by accident? Try Ctrl+Shift+T or Cmd+Shift+T for undo, a real life saver sometimes. This last one doesn’t seem to work in IE, so maybe it’s time to switch to a better browser.
I hope these tips help some of you become a better faster surfer. Happy surfing.