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The Secrets of Safari

While Mac users now have several high-quality browsers to choose from, Safari is still their clear favorite. But even Safari 2.0—the new version recently released as part of OS X 10.4—isn’t quite perfect. Here are a few ways to make the most of Safari 2.0, as well as some tips on taking advantage of its lesser-known new features.

Send Web pages

Before Tiger, Safari offered no simple way to send someone a link to a Web page. You had to copy the URL, switch to your e-mail program, create a new message, and paste the URL into it. (Sure, there were workarounds involving JavaScript bookmarklets—but for many users, these tricks were more hassle than they were worth.)

Safari 2.0 makes the process as simple as a keyboard shortcut: When you’re viewing a Web page you want to send, just press Command-shift-I (or choose File: Mail Link To This Page). Your default e-mail app will open and create a new message that contains the URL and has the Web page’s title in its subject field. Just fill in the recipient’s address, add a note if you want, and click on Send.

If you use Apple’s Mail, Safari also lets you send the contents of a Web page—to do so, you could use the Command-I keyboard shortcut (or File: Mail Contents Of This Page). But keep in mind that most people would rather receive just a URL than a huge e-mail message full of links and images. Practice restraint with the Command-I shortcut—stick to Command-shift-I instead.

Add Web images to iPhoto

Spot a nifty image while you’re browsing your favorite blog and want to keep a copy of it in iPhoto? Control-click (or right-click) on it and choose Add Image To iPhoto Library. The image will be instantly imported into iPhoto.

Save it for later

In older versions of Safari, “saving” a Web page saved only its HTML source code; images and other embedded content were lost. Fortunately, Apple fixed this in Safari 2.0: the Save As command includes a Web Archive option, which saves nearly everything on the page, including images.

Search through history

Searching in Safari’s Bookmarks view used to return results from both your bookmarks and your history. In Safari 2.0, you can search more selectively, choosing which of these collections you want to look through.

To search only your history, choose Bookmarks: Show All Bookmarks (or just click on the bookmark icon on the Bookmarks bar); then, in the Collections pane (on the left), click on History. Click on the magnifying-glass icon next to the search box at the bottom of the window, set the pop-up menu to In History, enter your search term, and press return. You can follow the same procedure to search only a specific bookmark collection.

Unfortunately, Safari can’t search the actual content of the sites in your history; it looks for only the information in the two displayed columns—Bookmark and Address. If you want to search the contents of Web pages you’ve visited, check out St. Clair Software’s $20 HistoryHound (   ).

Where Are You From? Wonder where a downloaded file originally came from? The Info window’s Spotlight Comments field will tell you.

Discover a download’s origins

To find out where you got a file you downloaded with Safari, select the file in the Finder and then choose File: Get Info (or press Command-I). The Info window’s Spotlight Comments field will display the URL of the page you downloaded the file from (see screenshot).

Import bookmarks from other browsers

Want to import a bunch of bookmarks from The Omni Group’s OmniWeb, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Internet Explorer into Safari 2.0? Just choose File: Import Bookmarks, navigate to the other browser’s bookmark file, and click on Import. When the import is finished, Safari will switch to its Bookmarks view, and you’ll see a new bookmark collection—named Imported Date— that contains the imported bookmarks. You can then move those bookmarks into folders and/or Safari’s Bookmarks bar, as you see fit.

The challenge is finding the bookmark file to import. If you use Internet Explorer, it’s a file called Favorites.html, which is in / your user folder /Library/Preferences/ Explorer. For Firefox, look for the bookmarks.html file in / your user folder / Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/ string. default (where string is a random string of characters that differs for every user). OmniWeb’s bookmark file, Bookmarks.html, is in / your user folder / Library/Application Support/OmniWeb.

Combine RSS feeds

Safari’s new RSS-viewing features are a handy way to track your favorite sites. But you may not realize that you can view multiple RSS feeds in one window. To do so, first create a folder in your Bookmarks bar (open the Bookmarks view, click on Bookmarks Bar in the Collections column, and then click on the plus-sign button [+] at the bottom of the Bookmark column; you can name the new folder anything you like). Then, one at a time, open the RSS feeds you want to add to the view. For each feed, add a bookmark to your new bookmark folder.

All the News To view multiple RSS feeds in one window, collect them all in a single folder and then choose View All RSS Articles.

After this one-time setup, simply click on the folder in the Bookmarks bar and choose View All RSS Articles from the resulting menu (see screenshot). All the articles from all the feeds in the folder will be displayed in a single window; the name of the source feed will be displayed next to each article’s title.

Create a personalized clipping service

If you view an RSS feed (or group of feeds), you can use the Search Articles command to find articles that contain a particular word or phrase. Even better, you can bookmark the search results to create a live search feed. Safari will then keep an eye on the included feeds, watching for new articles containing your search terms, and it’ll notify you when it finds something— voilà: a customized RSS feed.

Disable PDF viewing

If you click on a link to a PDF document in Safari 2.0, the browser automatically loads the PDF in its current window. If you’d rather view the PDF in Preview or Acrobat, or download it, you have to wait for it to load and then manually save it to your hard drive.

But you can make Safari 2.0 treat PDFs the way Safari 1.X did (that is, save them to your default download folder). Here’s how: Quit Safari, launch Terminal, and type the following:

defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitOmitPDFSupport -bool YES

Press return and then relaunch Safari. It will now download PDF documents to your hard drive. You can revert to Safari 2.0’s default PDF behavior by entering this command with

instead of

Extending Safari

Safari is a great browser all by itself, but third-party add-ons can help it do even more. Here are a few of our favorites. (You should find instructions for installing each add-on either on its developer’s Web site or in the disk image that accompanies the download.)

AcidSearch Improving on Safari’s search box, AcidSearch lets you choose from a number of search engines, instead of limiting you to Google. It even lets you add sites to the list of options. After you install AcidSearch, whenever you click on the magnifying-glass icon in Safari’s search box, the drop-down menu lets you specify which search engine you want to use. (It’ll stick with that one until you switch again.) There’s even a handy Google This Site option, which runs a Google search on just the site you’re currently browsing (free).

PDF Browser Plugin Safari 2.0 offers basic PDF-viewing features, and the latest version of Adobe Reader includes a PDF plug-in for most Web browsers. But if you view a lot of PDFs online, you’ll want to install PDF Browser Plugin. It provides multiple layout options; lets you view different parts of a PDF simultaneously; supports annotation, forms, tables of contents, and links; and offers additional PDF printing options (home, education, or noncommercial use, free; commercial site license, $69).

Add Engines The AcidSearch add-on lets you choose from a number of search sites in Safari.

PithHelmet Using PithHelmet, you can limit the number of ads you see, set a privacy level on cookies, and control how many times animated GIF images play. You can even customize PithHelmet’s ad-blocking rules to provide more or less protection ($10).

Safari Buttons Wish Safari had a New Tab button in its toolbar? Now it can. First, add the Bug button to Safari’s toolbar (via the View menu in Safari 1.X or via the Customize Address Bar dialog box in Safari 2.0) and then quit Safari. Now run the Safari Buttons installer. The next time you start Safari, that seldom-used Bug button will have become a useful New Tab button. You’ll also be rewarded with new keyboard shortcuts that enable and disable image-free browsing. (Web surfing is much faster when you don’t have to load pictures.) Just be sure to download the version of Safari Buttons that’s right for Safari 2.0 (free).

Safari Enhancer With Safari Enhancer installed, you’ll be able to remove underlines from hyperlinks (or change the color of links), disable caches, change the search engine used by Safari’s toolbar search box, and even switch Safari’s interface from brushed metal to Aqua. Be sure to download the version for Tiger; the developer also offers versions of Safari Enhancer for older versions of OS X and Safari (free).

SafariSource If you frequently view the source code of Web pages, SafariSource is a must-have: it adds syntax coloring to Safari’s source view, making it much easier to read. This is a little thing that makes a world of difference (free).

Saft Landing From this tabbed preference pane, Saft lets you customize more than 25 features, including mouse navigation and tab arrangement.

Saft The big kahuna of Safari add-ons, Saft has more than 25 features: It lets you scroll pages by holding down the control key and moving the mouse, automatically save opened tabs when you quit Safari so they’re open when you relaunch, create a bookmark folder from a set of tabs, rearrange tabs via drag and drop, and more. You can even specify an external editor, such as TextEdit, to use when entering text in Web forms ($12).

Sogudi Instead of beefing up the Google search box, Sogudi improves on Safari’s search abilities with search shortcuts. In the address box, you enter a special site abbreviation and the terms you want to search for, and then press return. For example, typing

hint safari download
will return macosxhints.com tips about downloading with Safari. Sogudi includes 14 predefined shortcuts, and you can easily add your own. It also does more than just make searching faster: Want a shortcut for the Crazy Apple Rumors Site? Use Sogudi’s preference pane to create a new shortcut (CAR, for instance) for www.crazyapplerumors.com. Then, instead of entering that long URL, you can just type
. You can even view Unix
pages, with the useful
shortcut (free).

Hidden Menu Safari’s Debug menu is hidden by default. But once you enable it, you’ll find all kinds of interesting tools.

Taboo Ever accidentally lose a bunch of Web sites you were browsing because you closed a Safari window with multiple open tabs? Never again: Install Taboo, and when-ever you close a Safari window, it will display a dialog box that asks whether you really want to close all the tabs. Such frustration prevention should really be built into Safari. For now, at least, you can rely on Taboo (free).

Debugging Safari

Most Safari users never see the Debug menu. Designed to help programmers and Web coders, it has several features that regular users can use too.

To enable the Debug menu, quit Safari, launch Terminal, enter

defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeDebugMenu 1
, and press return. When you relaunch Safari, you should see the Debug menu to the right of the Help menu (see screenshot).

Some of its interesting options are Show Caches Window (which lets you view and/or clear Safari’s various cache files), Show Page Load Test Window (for timing the loading of Web pages), Keyboard And Mouse Shortcuts (a huge list of Safari keyboard shortcuts), and User Agent (by setting this option to Windows MSIE 6.0 or Netscape 7.0, you may be able to gain access to sites that don’t normally work in Safari).

If you ever tire of this new menu, quit Safari and repeat the Terminal command but replace the numeral


[ Dan Frakes is Macworld ’s senior writer. Rob Griffiths is one of Macworld ’s senior editors. ]

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