Top 10 Internet tips and tricks
Take advantage of tabbed browsing
Take full advantage of tabbed browsing on all Internet browsers. While reading an article or browsing a website, you may come across a link that interests you. Any link to another page can be opened in a new tab so it does not interrupt your reading. To perform this action, hold down the Ctrl key and left-click the link. If you have a mouse with a wheel, click the link by depressing the wheel instead of rolling it. Either of the methods opens a link in a new window.
Tip: To open an new blank tab, press Ctrl + T at the same time.
You don't need the http:// portion of a web page
When entering an Internet address you do not need to type http:// or even www. in the address. For example, if you wanted to visit Computer Hope you could just type computerhope.com and press enter. To make things even quicker, if you are visiting a .com address you can type computerhope and then press Ctrl + Enter to type out the full http://www.computerhope.com address.
Quickly move between the fields of a web page
If you are filling out an online form, e-mail, or other text field you can quickly move between each of the fields by pressing the Tab key or Shift + Tab to move back a field. For example, in the example form below you can click in the "First Name" field type anything and press tab to switch to the next field.
Tip: This tip also applies to buttons, if you press tab the buttons can also be highlighted. Once a button is highlighted press the space bar or enter to push the button.
Tip: With a drop-down box that lists dozens of options you can press the first letter to scroll down to that letter. For example, click the drop down box below and then press "u" to quickly scroll to Utah.
Bonus Tip: You can also use the autofill feature to fill in common form fields.
Know your Internet browser shortcuts
There are dozens of different shortcut keys that can be used with Internet browsers. Below are a few of our top suggested Internet browser shortcuts.
- Press Alt + D or Ctrl + L to move the cursor into the address bar.
- Hold down the Ctrl key and press the + or - to increase and decrease the size of text. Ctrl + 0 will reset the text.
- Press the backspace key or press Alt key + left arrow to go back a page.
- Press F5 or Ctrl + R to refresh or reload a web page.
- Press F11 to make the Internet browser screen full screen. Press F11 again to return to the normal view.
- Press Ctrl + B to open your Internet bookmarks.
- Press Ctrl + F to open the find box to search for text within the web page you are reading.
Protect yourself and avoid bad websites
- How can I protect myself while online?
- Avoid Internet phishing.
- Protecting children from harmful material and people on the Internet.
Use Internet search engines to their full potential
Get the most out of every search result. If you are not finding what you want try surrounding the text in quotes. For example, searching for 'computer help' without quotes returns results with "computer" and "help" anywhere on the page. However, if you search for "computer help" with the quotes it only return pages with "computer" and "help" next to each other.
Tip: In every search box you can press enter instead of using the mouse to click the Search button.
Try alternative browsers
Most computer users use the default browser that comes included with the computer, with Microsoft Windows this is Internet Explorer. There are many great alternative browsers that are all free to download and use and may have features your current browser does not include. Below are a few of our favorites, try one or try them all.
Install plugins and add-ons
All of the above alternative browsers also have a large community of volunteers who develop add-ons and plugins that can be added into the browser. Each of these browsers has hundreds of add-ons that can do such things like the current weather in your browser window, changing its color, and adding additional functionality.
Make sure your browser and its plugins are up-to-date
An Internet browser can have many plugins that give it additional functionality. For example, Adobe Flash is a great way to bring movies and other animated content to the Internet. Keeping these plugins up-to-date is vital for your computer stability and also security. Using the below tool you can quickly verify if your plugins are up-to-date and get links to where to download the latest updates.
Use online services
There are hundreds of free online services that can help make using your computer easier, more productive, and more enjoyable. See our top 10 online services for a listing of our favorites.