By definition, surfing the Web means never staying in one place for very long. The people behind Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) 5 clearly recognize that if you’re not jumping from one page to the next, you’re racing from one end of the page to the other. That’s why IE 5 comes packed with an assortment of ways to make your Web navigation faster and more convenient.
Want to go directly to the bottom of a long Web page? Just press the 1 key and the down-arrow key, and you’re there. If the page doesn’t have a “back to the top” link, 1 and the up arrow take you right back.
For the ultimate in page navigation, press 1 and then click and hold down your mouse button. The cursor icon will turn into a hand. Now, as you move the mouse, the page goes up, down, or from side to side in sync with the cursor.
To move backward or forward through previously visited pages, press 1 in combination with the left- or right- arrow key. (Or you can use delete and shift-delete; they work the same way.) If you have several windows open, use IE 5’s Cycle Through Windows com-mand1-tilde (~) is the shortcutto bring the window you want to the front.
Climbing the Web Ladder
Suppose you have a long URL (such as
) in IE’s Address box. The information you need isn’t on this page, so you decide to move up a few levels in the Web site’s hierarchy (to, say,
) in the hope that this page will contain a link to what you’re seeking. With IE 5, you can quickly jump to a higher level without ever touching your mouse.
First, if it isn’t already selected, press option-tab to highlight the URL in the Address box, and then press the right-arrow key once to bring your cursor to the end of the URL. Now, while holding down the control key, press the left arrow. Each time you do this, you’ll highlight another segment of the URL. When you’ve highlighted the portion you want to eradicate, press delete. Finally, press return and you’ll be whisked to the selected page.
If you’re willing to use your mouse, there’s an even better alternative: press 1 and click on the title text in the header of any IE window. The result is similar to what happens when you do this with Finder windowsyou’ll get a pop-up menu that lists all the URLs for hierarchical levels back to the home page (see “Move On Up”). Select a URL from the list to go directly to that page.
Move On Up
Go directly to a higher level of a Web address by using Internet Explorer’s Address bar pop-up menu.
Looking for Links?
Trying to find a particular link on a page filled with them? No problem. Just click anywhere on the page and start pressing the tab key, and IE will cycle through every link on the page. If a Web page consists of a form filled with text boxes, you can use option-tab to jump from box to box. The browser’s Keyboard Accessibility Preferences setting lets you toggle between functions that use the tab key and those that use option-tab. (For the scoop on another new option in IE’s Preferences, see “Make a New Resolution.”)
You can keep a collection of your most frequently visited sites in IE’s Favorites bar, located just below the Address bar. To add a site to the list, locate any text (on any Web page) that contains the desired link and drag the text to the Favorites bar. To add the current URL in the Address box, drag the @ symbol to the left of the address. To rearrange the order of the links, just drag a URL where you want it to go. To delete an item, control-click on it and select Delete from the contextual menu that appears.
The venerable Button bar (which displays icons or text links for actions such as Back, Forward, and Print) now lets you arrange and delete items. You can also add items here by selecting Customize Toolbars from the View menu.
If IE’s Toolbars are taking up too much of your screen, you can hide them by selecting Collapse Toolbars from the View menu (or by pressing 1-B). With the Toolbars collapsed, you can still enter a URL in the Address box: simply press 1-L, and the box will reappear; press escape, and it’s gone again.
Internet Explorer as Psychic
Start typing a URL in IE 5’s Address box. As you type, the program generates a menu displaying Web addresses that match what you have typed thus far, updated with each new letter you add. At any point, you can slide your cursor down the menu and select a URL; there’s no need to finish typing it. (Internet Explorer 4.5 has a similar feature, but it just gives you its single best guess rather than a menu of them.) If for some reason this feature doesn’t work, make sure you haven’t disabled Address AutoComplete in Preferences.
Suppose you want to save just a paragraph of text from a Web pagefor example, a single news item on a crowded page. With previous versions of Internet Explorer, your only options were to save the entire page or to copy and paste the selection. With IE 5, you can highlight the portion of text you want and drag it to the Finder’s desktop. Faster and more convenient than copying and pasting, this method also saves the original formatting (font, style, size, and color). You can even drag a selection directly into another application such as AppleWorks to use in a document of your own.
Make a New Resolution
The Fonts and Size section of Internet Explorer 5’s Preferences dialog box contains another new feature that Mac users will appreciate. Figuring out exactly what the Resolution option does and why it’s useful can be a bit tricky, though, so here’s the scoop.
Many Web designers use FONT FACE tags to assign text size on a relative scale, indicated by numbers 1 through 7, with 3 being the default. Previous versions of IE for the Mac had a default of 12-point type, which meant that text specified by the designer as FONT FACE=3 showed up in the user’s browser as 12-point type by default. However, because the Windows browser default has been 16 point, Web-page type that looks fine on Windows displays may appear too small on Mac screens.
The default size for the Macintosh version of IE 5 is now also 16 point. You may like the larger default; if not, go to the Size pop-up menu in Preferences to change it. If you go back to the 12-point default but occasionally want to increase the type size of a Web page, you can do so without altering the Size setting in Preferences: just press 1-plus (+) for larger type or
1-minus (-) for smaller type.
The Right Look
Select the browser’s default font size and resolution from IE 5’s Fonts and Size Preferences.
For the best text appearance overall, Microsoft recommends setting Internet Explorer’s Resolution option to match the resolution of your display. Most monitors today stray from the Mac’s traditional 72 dpi–resolutions in the 80s are now common. Use the Resolution setting’s Other option to determine which resolution you should use; changing to the recommended setting should make the text size display as the Web designer intended. The setting will mainly affect text to which the designer has assigned an absolute rather than a relative font size.
Contributing Editor TED LANDAU uses Internet Explorer 5 to navigate his MacFixIt Web site (