DON'S FREEWARE CORNER - JAN 2017
©2016 Donald R. Snow - page last updated 2017-01-28.
TIPS AND SHORTCUTS FOR BROWSERS
These Freeware Corner notes are published in TAGGology, our Utah
Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG) monthly newsletter.
They are also posted on my Freeware Corner Notes page on http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html
where the links are active and there may be corrections and additions
and other related notes and articles.
These tips and keyboard shortcuts are for browsers such as CHROME,
FIREFOX, EDGE (Microsoft's browser in WINDOWS 10), WINDOWS EXPLORER
(Microsoft's browser in WINDOWS 7), and OPERA. Most of them work
for all current versions of these and other browsers, but I will
concentrate on CHROME. A couple of these were discussed in my last
Freeware Corner article that included shortcuts for WINDOWS 10, but so
many additional ones have occurred to me about browsers that this
month's article will be just for those. It will include a few
discussed last time.
There are more than one hundred browsers (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_web_browsers
) with most, if not all, free, so you can download and try out
their features at no charge. They are based on different
"engines" and hence have different features. You may find
that for some things you like one better than others. Below,
I'll indicate some features of one or another that I like and use
for certain things. CHROME is the most popular browser at
present and is used by more than half of users. It's the one
I use as my default browser. There are browser usage
statistics on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers .
- WINDOWS 10 FEATURES
The features of WINDOWS 10, as we discussed last month, apply here,
since browsers run in some operating system and that's the most used
OS (Operating System). CHROME has versions for Mac, so I
imagine these tips will work on Mac's too, but I don't use a Mac, so
I don't really know. The WINDOWS 10 features of things like
Highlighting a Group by left clicking the top item, then holding
down the Shift key while clicking the last item, works in browsers
running there since it is a WINDOWS 10 feature. Same for the
features of Left vs Right Clicking, copying, pasting, moving, etc.
- KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS
Keyboard shortcuts make it so you don't have to take your fingers
off the keys to use the mouse to perform operations. This
makes it faster and easier, but there are so many shortcuts that it
is hard to remember them all. Many can be found by reading
them from the right-click menus while using the mouse. You
will see on many right-click menus that to the right of the button
to click is the shortcut key combination that does the same thing as
the mouse there. A list of 47 keyboard shortcuts that work in
CHROME, FIREFOX, and EDGE is at http://www.howtogeek.com/114518/47-keyboard-shortcuts-that-work-in-all-web-browsers/ .
A comparison table of keyboard shortcuts for several of the
most popular browsers is at http://dmcritchie.mvps.org/firefox/keyboard.htm .
Another webpage with 50 shortcuts that "work across all web
browsers" is at https://www.groovypost.com/tips/50-universal-web-browser-hotkeys/ .
You could print these to have reference guides or save them,
as indicated below.
- SETTING YOUR DEFAULT BROWSER
Any browser can be set as your default browser. In Windows 10
click on the Windows icon (lower
left corner), then Settings > System >
Default Apps and set whichever browser you want to be your
default. You can also do it by going to the
Settings window in any browser. This is usually in a menu of
an icon across the top of the browser somewhere. If
you install a new browser and use the standard installation, not
the custom one, it will probably change your default browser to
the one you are installing, so I always use the custom
installation. The default browser will be the
program that opens when you click on any icon that uses a browser.
This will be useful when you have downloaded html file for a
webpage (see below). html is computer jargon for Hypertext
Markup Language and is the computer language that webpages are
written in to tell browsers how to show them.
- SETTING YOUR BROWSER HOME PAGE
After setting your default browser, you can set which Home Page and
search engine you want. The Home Page is the webpage it will
start with when you open it. To set these, go to Settings (see
above) where there are options to set your Startup Home Page and
Search Engine. I use CHROME as my default browser, Google as
my Home Page, and Google as my search engine. In Settings
there are also other items you can set such as the font size, etc.
When you download another browser (or any program), if you use
the Standard Installation, it usually changes your default browser,
as mentioned above, and also your Home Page and other default
programs. To avoid changing these, the Custom Installation
usually has a way to install it without changing them.
- ALT-TAB TO SWITCH BETWEEN BROWSERS
You can have several browsers open at once, and several copies of a
single browser open, and each open to a different webpage. To
go between them, hold down the ALT key and press TAB. This
cycles through them all and you see a box around the one that is
active. Stop when the box surrounds the one you want to use
and that program becomes the active one. This shortcut is also
helpful to see which programs you have running, since you may have
several open that you have forgotten about. To open more than
one copy of a program or browser click on the icon on the desktop,
not on the pinned icon on the taskbar below. Clicking on the
pinned icon on the taskbar just toggles between maximizing and
minimizing the open program.
- CTRL-CLICK TO OPEN A LINK WHILE KEEPING YOUR PLACE IN THE BROWSER
ON THE OLD PAGE
On webpages with links to other websites, holding down the CTRL key
while clicking the link makes the link open in a new window, so you
keep your place in the original webpage. When browsing
websites this makes it easy to get back to where you were without
having to use the back arrow key and scrolling through the old
program to find your old place. For example, if you do a
Google search for an ancestor, you can check the results by holding
down the CTRL key while clicking on a result link and you always
have the original Google results page there, exactly where you were,
so you can go back and try other results. But, since this
opens the link in a new window, don't forget to click on the new tab
to see the new linked page.
- FORM A DESKTOP ICON FOR A WEBSITE
When you find a website that you want to go back to easily, drag the
small icon that is in front of the website's address in your browser
over to your desktop or down to your taskbar. This forms an
icon there that will open that particular browser and go immediately
to that webpage. Whichever browser you had open when you
clicked-and-drug the icon will be the one that opens to the page
when you click the icon, regardless of which browser is set as your
- CHANGING THE SIZE BY ROLLING THE MOUSE WHEEL
If the text or picture or whatever on a website is too small or too
large, hold down the CTRL key and roll the mouse wheel.
Rolling one way makes it larger and the other way makes it
smaller. There are other ways to increase or decrease the
size, but this is the easiest way for me. This is very helpful
to see more or less on the screen. When the text is too small,
this makes it larger and easier to read. For large type, if a
button you need to click is off the screen, making the whole thing
smaller may bring it back on screen. The html language has the
property that rolling the mouse wheel will keep the margins where
you have them in the window, so the text will word-wrap in order to
stay within the window. You can change the size of the window
by moving your mouse to the bottom or side or corner and dragging
that to be larger or smaller and the word-wrap will change to fit
the new size.
- PINNING TABS
When you have a window open to a particular website that you want to
keep, right click on the tab (at the top) and one of the menu items
is Pin. Clicking on it will make the tab smaller and move it
to the left and it will be there any time you open that browser.
With this, if there are several webpages you want to go to
each time you open your browser, pin those tabs and every time you
open that browser, those tabs will be open and available. I
keep my Gmail, a scripture link, and Google as pinned tabs that open
every time I open CHROME. You can close a pinned tab by right
clicking and unpinning, then closing it.
- PRINT TO PDF
When you click Print in any WINDOWS 10 program, you see the options
of which printer or program to use. A feature that is new in
WINDOWS 10 is Print To PDF. This sends the print information
directly to a pdf file and not to hard copy. For other
versions of Windows there are several freeware programs that will do
the same thing, e.g. http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp
and http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/doro_pdf_writer.html . There is an entire
Freeware Corner article about PDF PRINTERS on my webpage. I
usually leave my default printer set as Print to PDF, so I can see
exactly what the hard copy will look like without wasting paper.
When it is just the way I want, I save it by printing to
pdf, and then print that pdf to hard copy. That way I always
have the file to print additional copies, if I ever need them.
I am finding that I print less and less to hard copy now and
more and more to pdf. The pdfs are easier to find and work
with than the hard copies, too. But, be sure you have
backups of everything!
- DOWNLOADING HTML TO SAVE WEBPAGES
As mentioned above, html is short for Hypertext Markup Language and
is the computer language in which webpages are written so browsers
know how to show them. BTW, I am writing this article in
EVERNOTE, but when done, I will copy the text and send it to our
TAGGology Newsletter editor, Eileen Phelps. Then I will copy
it into my html editor to edit in the control characters to get it
ready to post on my webpage. For some programs you might want
to keep a copy of exactly the webpage with text, pictures, etc,
displayed the way you see them in the browser. An example of
when you might want to do this is OURTIMELINES.COM, a free
website that generates beautiful timelines of you or your ancestors
with colored bars representing the time during the person's life
that the event occurred. There is a Freeware Corner article
about OURTIMELINES.COM on my website. The OURTIMELINES website
has a button to click to change the colored picture to a printable
black-and-white copy, but the colors really look better. The
new Print to PDF printer works OK to save a pdf copy of the colorful
timeline, but you need to set the pages to have no margins top and
bottom, so the timeline goes directly onto the next page. This
gives a continuous pdf of it with all its colors. Another way
to save it is by saving the html so it will open in a browser just
as though you were online. For this particular website CHROME
will not allow it to be saved to html, but other browsers will, e.g.
FIREFOX. To save the html in FIREFOX open the website and
generate the timeline in FIREFOX, then right click any place on the
page where there is no text and click Save Page As. Navigate
to the folder where you want to save the file, give it a name, and
use the option Save Only the html. You now have an html file
that when opened in any browser will show the colored timeline in
all its glory. This process can be used to save an entire
webpage with pictures, frames, etc., by using the option of saving
the Complete Webpage. This puts all the necessary files into a
folder with the name you give it. Then clicking on the html
file will open all the files in the folder and show the complete
webpage. Most webpages can be saved this way, even in CHROME,
but OURTIMELINES doesn't allow this in CHROME. To avoid
problems with pictures, I usually write all my articles with text
only, so you can save any of my articles by saving just the html
file. Another time when you might want to use this
html-download process is when you will be giving a presentation
where the Internet is not available. Just download all the
files, Complete Webpages, or just the html's or whatever you need,
in advance, and show them in your browser, as if you were online.
Of course, if you are online, then all the links will be
active and clicking on one will take you there.
Browsers keep track of the last few websites you visited. To
see this list in CHROME open the menu in the icon with 3 vertical
dots in the upper right corner, the same menu that has Settings (see
above). Another item in this menu is History. Clicking
on it shows you a list of the last few websites you visited and
clicking on any one takes you to it again. This is helpful
when you want to go back to something you saw or generated, e.g.
your timeline as above, or you don't remember what websites you
- PRINTING TO PDF WITH FIREFOX
To print copies of my notes from my webpage to use for classes, I
use FIREFOX since it has a better Print to PDF option. I open
my webpage in FIREFOX and click on Print. FIREFOX allows you
to set the print margins the way you want, put page numbers, the
file name, and other information in various locations at the
top and/or bottom of the page, and increase or decrease the font
size so the pdf takes goes on to a given number of pages. I
haven't found any way to do those settings that easily in any other
browser, including CHROME, so I use FIREFOX to print my notes
to pdf for classes. From that pdf I can print to hard copy, or
send the file to whoever needs it, and then I have an exact copy on
my computer for reprinting and later use.
There are more browser tips and keyboard shortcuts, so I'll probably
write still another Freeware Corner article on this later. I
hope you find these helpful.