A software program that allows a person to explore the Internet in an easy to use way. Navigating the Internet through a series of hyperlinks you can browse the Internet. Examples of popular browsers are Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. The picture of the Google Chrome browser and the program you are using to view this text are both good examples of a browser.
Each browser has a navigation toolbar, like the ones shown below that also illustrate how the Internet browser toolbar has changed over the history of Internet browsers. This navigation bar is the most essential portion of the browser and will always at least contain the Back arrows and address bar.
Overview of browser bar buttons and options
As can be seen by the above picture, over the evolution of the Internet browser the buttons and options have changed. With this in mind, understand that some of the options mentioned below may not be visible in your browser. Sometimes pressing the Alt key on your keyboard shows hidden options.
The back button visits the previous page that referred you to the page you are currently viewing. This button is the most frequently used button and typically looks like an arrow pointing to the left.
The forward button moves you forward a page, and only works if you have used the back button. If you have not gone back and your browser shows a forward button, it will be grayed out, as shown earlier.
The stop button stops the loading of a website, this button may need to be used if the page is taking too long to load or encountering problems.
Tip: Press their esc key at any time to stop loading a page.
Internet browsers cache web pages, so you do not have to download the full page each time you visit the same site. On some pages, you may want to refresh the browser to get the latest version. This button can also be used to reload a page that has been aborted because of an error.
Tip: Press the F5 key or Ctrl + R to refresh the page from the keyboard.
Go back to your default web page. This is the same page that loads when your browser is first opened.
Open your default search page or search for text found in the Address or URL text field. Today's browser have what is called an omnibox, which is a search integrated into the address bar.
Make the browser window full screen removing all of the toolbars. Often this option is entered and exited by pressing the F11 key on your keyboard.
View the history of pages that have been visited since the browser history was last cleared or created. All your saved pages are stored in your Internet cache.
Tip: The shortcut key for history for most browsers is Ctrl+H.
Print the page you are visiting. If you do not see a print button, it can also be accessed by clicking on the "File" drop down menu or pressing Ctrl + P on the keyboard.
Increase or Decrease the size of a font.
Tip: Holding down the Ctrl key and pressing either the + or - on the top of the keyboard also increases and decreases the font. To reset the font size to the default size press Ctrl and 0 (zero) at the same time.
Open your e-mail program. Today, this option is no longer found in browsers.
Edit the web page you are currently viewing in an HTML editor. Today, no longer found in browsers.
Browser related help pages
- How do I clear my Internet browser history?
- How to determine your browser, browser version, and installed browser plugins.
- Can I have more than one Internet browser installed?
- Full list of Internet browsers help and support.