View Web pages in unexpected apps

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You probably use Safari, or Firefox, or one of the other popular Web browsers to surf your favorite sites. But you may not know that you can view Web pages in a variety of other, unexpected applications.

Many applications use Apple’s WebKit, a framework included in OS X, to display Web pages. This is how Safari displays Web pages, how Mail displays HTML mail, and how other programs display different types of content which are stored in HTML.

But some of the applications you can do this with are less obvious. For example, if you use Dictionary, you can drag a URL from another application to its window to display a Web page (as long as you have searched for a word and displayed a definition or synonyms first). This screen shot shows Apple’s Web site displayed in Dictionary.

This gives you limited browsing functionality: You can view pages and click links, use the Forward and Back buttons, and change font size, but that’s about it. You’ll have no access to bookmarks or other features. You also may find some layout doesn’t appear exactly the way it should.

Dictionary is not the only application that can display Web pages; Help Viewer is also WebKit-aware. In fact, help pages are HTML pages, and, as you may have noticed when searching for information in Help Viewer, some of the results are live Web content. Drag a URL into the Help Viewer window to see a page displayed. However, Help Viewer doesn’t seem to render many pages correctly, and crashes when displaying some pages.

There’s another Web application on your Mac: Sherlock. Open this program, then click the AppleCare channel icon in its toolbar, and you can drag a URL to the bottom part of the window, below the divider, to display a Web page.

While none of these programs work as well as Safari, they may help you access the Web if Safari doesn’t work for you and you need to figure out how to fix something.

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