7.2 Searching the Web from Internet Explorer

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7.1 Smarter Surfing

Whether you spend twenty minutes a week online or twenty hours a day, a few tricks can help you surf more effectively. This section shares surf-master secrets, and they apply to pretty much all browsers. Those that work only with Internet Explorer say so.

7.1.1 Address Shortcuts

Want to save a few keystrokes when opening a Web site? When you type a URL in the Internet Explorer address bar, type only the domain name (for example, if the URL is http://www.dogfancy.com, type only dogfancy ) and press Ctrl+Enter. Explorer figures out the missing info and heads right to the site.

Note: This technique works only for URLs that end in .com . If you want to visit a Web site that ends in .net, .org, .edu, or any other extension, it won't work. So, for example, if you wanted to visit the University of Cincinnati Web site, and typed uc then pressed Ctrl+Enter, you would end up at http://www.uc.com, not http://www.uc.edu.

7.1.2 Getting the Big Picture

Many Web pages ‚ maybe most ‚ take up more space than a single browser window. To see more at once, you can make Web pages fill your whole screen and eliminate Internet Explorer's toolbars. With Internet Explorer open , just press F11 and the page expands, as shown in Figure 7-1. Press F11 again and the normal view returns ‚ complete with toolbars .

Figure 7-1. Top: The normal display.
Bottom: Full-screen mode lets you see more of a page, but it's not exactly a practical way to surf because Explorer's address bar and navigation buttons disappear--as you can see here--and you can't type in URLs or click the Back button. But it's a great way to read Web pages when you only need to scroll down or over.

Tip: If you like full-screen mode so much that you want Internet Explorer to always open that way, you can force it to do just that, using the Registry. First, run the Registry Editor (see Section 15.1.2) and go to My Computer HKEY_CURRENT_USER Console. Find the "fullscreen" value and change the value from 0 to 1. Then go to My Computer HKEY_CURRENT_USER Software Microsoft InternetExplorer Main. Find the "fullscreen" value and change its value from no to yes. Exit the Registry and reboot. The next time you open Internet Explorer, it launches in full-screen mode.

7.1.3 Making Web Fonts Easier to Read

You can't always rely on Web designers to build pages that are easy to read ‚ sometimes the fonts are too small, sometimes they're too big, and sometimes they're just ugly. Happily, you aren't stuck with the size of the fonts you come across on the Web.

There are two ways to change font size. If you have a wheel mouse ‚ a mouse with a wheel in its center you can use to scroll through pages ‚ you can decrease the font size by holding down the Ctrl key while you move the mouse on the wheel forward; to increase the font size, hold down the Ctrl key while you move the mouse on the wheel backwards . There are five font sizes you can choose ‚ Figure 7-2 shows the smallest and largest.

Figure 7-2. Top: When you make the font size on a Web page smaller, the text may be harder to read, but you can see more text on the page at once.
Bottom: When you make the font size larger, the text is easier to read, but not as much information fits on your screen without scrolling.

If you prefer keystrokes, in Internet Explorer, choose View Text Size, and from the list that appears, select the size you prefer. (In other browsers, look for similar options in the View menu.)

Note: Not all Web sites let you change font size. Occasionally, designers set pages so you can't adjust them ‚ an irritating control.

7.1.4 Opening a New Web Page in Its Own Window

Click a link on a Web page, and your browser whisks you away to a new destination ‚ perhaps never to find your way back to your starting point. But what if you want to see both the original page and the new page at the same time? Or what if you simply want to retain the original page? Good news: you can have more than one browser window open at a time.

To open a new page in its own window, simply right-click the link when you select it (instead of clicking the left mouse button as you normally would), and then choose Open in New Window. A new page opens at the new location, and your original page remains on screen (though perhaps hidden behind the new window).

Note: Sometimes when you click a link on a Web page, it opens in a new browser window even when you didn't choose that command. Web designers can control what happens when you click a link ‚ whether it opens in a new window or no ‚ and some dictate that links open new pages.
Taming Internet Explorer

When I'm working in Word or Outlook, and I click a link, Internet Explorer jumps to that page ‚ which means I lose whatever page I had open. Can I change this reaction?


If you find this behavior disconcerting, you can tell Internet Explorer to quit it. In the browser, choose Tools Internet

Options Advanced. Scroll down to the Browsing section and uncheck the box next to "Reuse windows for launching shortcuts." Click OK.

From now on, when you click a link in an email message or a Word document, the site will open in a new Internet Explorer window, and you won't lose track of the page you had open.

7.1.5 Keyboard Shortcuts

One of the best ways to speed up your surfing is to lay off your mouse and use your keyboard instead. Most browsers let you do nearly everything without ever lifting your hands from the keys. Table 7-1 lists keyboard shortcuts in Internet Explorer that can make your browsing more efficient. For keyboard shortcuts in other browsers, see pages Table 7-3, Table 7-4, and Table 7-5.

Table 7-1. Internet Explorer Keyboard Shortcuts


What It Does

Browsing the Web and viewing Web pages ‚  

F5 or Ctrl+R

Refreshes the Web page you're viewing ‚ if it has a different time stamp than the latest version on the Web.


Refreshes the Web page you're viewing, even if it has the same time stamp as the latest version on the Web.


Switches Internet Explorer to full-screen view ‚ and makes the address bar, title bar, and menu disappear. If you're already in full-screen mode, it switches to the regular view.


Stops the current page from downloading

Page Up

Moves up the page for approximately the length of one screen.

Page Down

Moves down the page for approximately the length of one screen.


Goes to the beginning of the page.


Goes to the end of the page.


Moves forward through all the items on a Web page, including links. If you're filling out a Web form, it moves to the next part of the form.


Moves back through all the items on a Web page, including links. If you're filling out a Web form, it moves to the previous part of the form.


Opens your home page.

Alt+Right arrow

Moves forward one page.

Alt+Left arrow or Backspace

Moves back one page.

Alt+Up arrow

If you're in the Favorites pane, it moves an item up in the Favorites list.

Alt+Down arrow

If you're in the Favorites pane, it moves an item down in the Favorites list.

Ctrl+Tab or F6

Highlights the address bar, or if you're in the address bar, moves the focus of your cursor to the Web page.


Selects every element on the current page.


Opens the Organize Favorites screen.


Adds the current page to your Favorites folder.


Opens Internet Explorer's search pane so you can search the Internet.


Opens the Find dialog box so you can search for text on the current page.


Opens the History pane.


Opens the Favorites pane.

Ctrl+N or Ctrl+R

Opens a new copy of Internet Explorer.

Ctrl+O or Ctrl+L

Runs the Open dialog box.


Prints the current page.


Saves the current page to your hard disk.


Closes the current window.

Using the Address Bar


Opens the Address Bar history.

Up arrow

When an AutoComplete list is displayed, it moves forward through the list.

Down arrow

When an AutoComplete list is displayed, it moves backward through the list.


Selects the text in the Address bar.


Enters http://www..com/ in the Address Bar.

Ctrl+Left arrow

In the Address Bar, it moves the cursor left to the next "." or "/" in the address.

Ctrl+Right arrow

In the Address Bar, it moves the cursor right to the next "." or "/" in the address.

7.1.6 Filling Out Forms Faster

Most browsers have an incredibly great feature for filling out online forms ‚ AutoComplete, which as the name implies, automatically completes whatever you're typing. When you type a few letters in a form, like pre , Explorer guesses what you're going to type next based on how you've filled out forms in the past, and fills it in (in this case, preston@gralla.com ). If you the browser thinks more than one possibility could complete your entry, it displays your choices in a small pop-up window. Select the one you want, rather than retype your address, your email, your name, or whatever.

This system is a terrific time-saver. But if you've ever mistyped an entry in a form, or typed information that's no longer valid, like an old email address, that pops up, too.

If you find those outdated or mistyped entries irritating, there's an easy way to kill them. In Internet Explorer, just double-click an empty box in a Web form (or single click and press the Down Arrow key) and your entire list of AutoComplete entries appears. Scroll to the one you don't want to appear anymore and press Delete. Repeat as needed. In other browsers, you may have to clear all your form entries in order to delete just one or two pesky mistypes. For example, in Firefox (Section, choose Tools Options Privacy, and under Saved Form Information, click the Clear button.

7.1.7 Revisiting History

There was a Web site you visited an hour ago . . . or was it this morning, or maybe last night, or yesterday morning, or...you can't remember. Not the site's name, not its address, not even when exactly you visited. But you want to go back. And you don't know where to start.

Fortunately, browsers have a built-in time machine: the history list. This handy feature keeps track of your past travels on the Web, making it easy to revisit a site you gave up for lost.

Here's how to use the history list in Internet Explorer; other browsers have very similar features. Head to the toolbar and click the History button, shown in Figure 7-3 (top). A pane appears on the left side of your browser (Figure 7-3, bottom); it lists all the sites you've visited in the last 20 days. Simply click the name of any site to go back again.

Tip: You can also open the History pane by choosing View Explorer Bar History or by pressing Ctrl+H.

Figure 7-3. Top: Click this button to open a pane with your browsing history.
Bottom: You can change the order of the History pane to view sites alphabetically or by how recently you visited. If you want to delete any site from the list, right-click it and choose Delete. To close the History pane, click the History button again.

If 20 days isn't enough of a breadcrumb trail for you (or if it's too much), you can adjust Internet Explorer's memory. A history of up to 90 days or so can save you surprisingly often, but the farther back the history goes, the more disk space it sucks up. To pick your perfect span, choose Tools Internet Options, and on the General tab, look for History and then adjust "Days to keep pages in history."

Tip: If other people share your PC, and you don't want them to know what sites you've visited, you can clear your history. Do it by choosing Tool Internet Options and clicking Clear History and then OK. Explorer erases your tracks.

7.1.8 Printing a Wide Web Page

Sometimes when you print a Web page, particularly one that has wide margins, the right-hand side of the page gets cut off. There's a simple solution: change your printer's orientation from portrait (the normal, vertical layout) to landscape (a horizontal layout with the wide edge at the top of the page).

In your browser, choose File Print Preferences to open the Print Preferences dialog box, shown in Figure 7-4 (in browsers other than Internet Explorer, the menu path may be File Print Properties). Choose the Landscape button and Press OK.

Note: From now on, anything you print appears in landscape mode, so you have to change your setting back to Portrait when you want to print a normal page again.

Many Web sites have a "Print this Page" button or a similar link that displays a new page reformatted so it fits on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper (often, without the clutter of advertisements or the site's navigation tools). Choose this option whenever possible to get the cleanest printout. Usually, you still have to click your browser's print button as you would with any Web page.

Figure 7-4. Choose landscape mode when you want to print a wide Web page; that way, you won't lose the information on the right side of the page. To check ahead of time whether a Web page will get cut off when you print it, choose File Print Preview.

7.1.9 Saving Web Pages on Your PC

It's probably happened to you dozens of times: You find a page on the Web that you'd like to read later when you're not connected to the Internet (say, when you'll be on a plane, in a waiting room, or at a ballgame).

There's a simple solution to the problem: browsers let you save any Web page to your own computer. You can then read the page whenever and wherever you want.

To save a Web page, choose File Save As. Browse to the folder where you want to save the file, rename the file (if you want), and choose what format you want to save it in. You have several choices for saving the files (the choices may vary slightly depending on your browser):

  • Web Page, complete (*.htm, *.html) This saves the page in its normal HTML (hypertext markup language) format. With this option, Internet Explorer saves all of the Web page's graphics in a folder inside the folder where you saved the page.

  • Web Archive, single file (*.mht) This saves the page in a single file in a special compressed format known as Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension HTML. It doesn't create any folders, and saves all the graphics in a single file. If you don't have any plans to use the page's HTML code, it's better to save the file in this format (rather than Web Page, complete), because it keeps all the files in a single, tidy location.

Tip: If you plan to send the Web page to someone via email, save it in the .mht format. That way, you can easily attach the file to an email message, without worrying about pieces of the page getting lost along the way.
  • Web Page, HTML only (*.htm, *.html) This saves only the HTML portion of the page, but not any graphics, so it doesn't create a new folder. When you open the saved page, though, it might be difficult to read, because graphics are sometimes used to hold the pieces of a Web page together, or for information that doesn't appear in the text. Choose this option if you're planning to reuse the HTML in a page you want to create.

  • Text File (*.txt) This saves only the text from the page. This is a good choice if you want to save only text from a page, and you don't care about the pictures.

To read a Web page after you've saved it, open your browser and choose File Open, then browse to the folder where you saved the page.

Fancy Printing Options in Internet Explorer

When it comes to printing, Internet Explorer can do a lot more than just print the Web page you're currently viewing. Among the little-known tricks up its sleeve: the ability to print a list of every link on a Web page, or to print the current page plus all linked pages. You can also customize how Explorer prints a Web page that uses frames , which divide Web pages into separate sections.

To print a list of all the links on a page, choose Print Options and select "Print table of links." When you click Print, Explorer prints the page you're viewing, then a list of links that appear on the page, including the address and shortcut text (the text you see underlined on a Web page for a link).

To print the page you're viewing, as well as all the pages it links to, choose Print Options and select "Print all linked documents." (Beware: This choice could suck up a lot of paper and ink.)

If you want to print a Web page designed with frames, choose Print Options, then select whether you want to print each frame separately on its own page, just the frame currently selected in your browser, or the page exactly as it appears on screen.

7.1.10 Saving Web Pages with SurfSaver

If you save a lot of Web pages to your PC (as outlined in the previous hint), pretty soon you end up with the same problem you started with: How can you find the information you need fast?

If you use Internet Explorer, here's a good solution: SurfSaver, software that lets you save pages to your PC, and then search the text on the pages, or keywords associated with each page. SurfSaver integrates right into Internet Explorer, so you can save pages easily as you surf the Web.

When you want to find a page you've saved, you launch a search, as shown in Figure 7-5. (The left pane opens in your browser only when you use SurfSaver.) You can search for keywords you've created as you save each page, the full text, the title of the page, and other criteria. SurfSaver is free to try, but costs $29.95 if you continue using it. Get it at http://www.surfsaver.com.

Figure 7-5. SurfSaver lets you search the full text of a Web page, the page's title, or keywords you input when you saved the page. You can also organize your saved pages in folders, so it's easy to browse to the pages you want.

7.1.11 Saving Frequently Updated Web Pages Automatically

Some Web pages don't age well. For instance, on news sites, pages go stale faster than Pecan Sandies left out in a humid kitchen. If you want to save a Web page that changes frequently, and you use Internet Explorer, you just have to tell your browser to visit the site on a regular schedule and save the latest update to your PC.

Say you commute to work every day on a bus or a train. You can tell Explorer to grab the latest headlines from your favorite news sites each morning while your PC is online at home, then you can read those pages with your morning coffee on the train. Here's how:

  1. Go to the Web site you want to have "delivered," and save it as a Favorite .

    You can press Ctrl+D, or choose Favorites Add to Favorites.

  2. Right-click the site in your Favorites list and choose Make Available Offline .

    The Offline Favorite Wizard appears. Click Next. If you want to skip the introductory screen the next time you use the wizard, turn on "In the future, do not show this introduction screen."

  3. The screen shown in Figure 7-6 appears. It lets you decide whether to save only the page itself, or also any pages it links to .

    If you just want to save that one page, click No. If you also want to save the pages it links to, click Yes and then choose the number of links deep you want to save ‚ in other words, indicate how many levels of links Explorer should follow and save. Be careful if you choose to save linked pages, because your hard disk can fill up quickly with more pages than you have time to read. (A good choice is to save a single level of links.) Click Next when you're done.

    Figure 7-6. When you tell Internet Explorer to save the latest version of a Web page on your PC, you can also save other pages it links to ‚ but saving too many pages can take a long time and fill up your hard drive.

  4. In the dialog box that appears, choose whether to save (i.e., synchronize) the page only when you tell it to, or automatically on a schedule ‚ kind of like buying the newspaper from a newsstand when you want it, or having it delivered .

    If you choose to synchronize the page on your command, you have to open Internet Explorer and select Tools Synchronize when you want to get the latest version from the Web. If you choose to synchronize on a schedule, Internet Explorer saves the page on whatever schedule you choose. After you make your choice, click Next.

  5. If you choose to synchronize on a schedule, a new screen appears, letting you choose how often and at what time you want Explorer to save the page .

    You can also tell your PC to connect to the Internet automatically at the time of synchronization if you're not online. To have it connect automatically, turn on the option at the bottom of the screen. If you don't select this option, and your computer isn't connected when it's time to synchronize, your browser won't be able to update the file.

  6. Complete the wizard .

    If the site you're saving requires a user name and password, you have to type them in the wizard's final screen. (If you don't, Explorer won't be able to access the site to save the page.) When you're done, click Finish.

To view the page on your PC after you've synchronized ‚ and when you're not connected to the Internet ‚ open Explorer and choose File Work Offline, then click the site on your Favorites list that you want to view.

Note: After you've chosen File Work Offline, Internet Explorer starts in Offline mode when you open your browser. The next time you want to go online, click Work Offline again and clear the check mark next to it.

Windows XP Power Hound
Windows XP Power Hound: Teach Yourself New Tricks
ISBN: 0596006195
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 119

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