Sometimes questions unasked can be significant. I often run into these when working on site with a client. I’ll do something on their PC and they’ll say “Stop, what was that? I didn’t know you could do that!” They simply didn’t know to ask the question. Quite often I notice that clients don’t use some very useful features in their browsers for example; things that can make research much faster, more thorough or just plain more fun.
There are some features of browsers that even beginners should master. I include Favorites, the Favorites Bar and Tabbed Browsing among the essentials. In this column I’m just going to address Tabbed Browsing and I’m not pushing any particular browser. Just for your info, the current order of browser used worldwide is Firefox, Chrome then Internet Explorer (IE), followed by Safari and Opera. I will say that the most elegant use of tabbed browsing is with Opera which only enjoys a minor usage rate worldwide, even though Mini Opera is enjoying a bit of a splash in the mobile world at present.
Choose whatever browser you like, but figure out how to use tabbed browsing; it’s a real game changer while surfing the Internet. Tabbed browsing comes into play in two primary ways. First if you are surfing the Web and simply want to go to another site while keeping the first one open. For example, you’re doing a Google search in your browser and you want to open your Yahoo or Google Mail at the same time; flipping back and forth between the two. The other is when you are on a website and you want to follow a link to another page, but you want to keep your current place as well.
Look at the top of your web browser for the Tabs Bar. If you only have one tab open, then the title of the page that you are on will be displayed on the one tab. To the right of that tab will be either a + sign or in the case of IE, a small button with nothing on it (if you hover your mouse over that little box, a “New Tab” menu will appear). Now clicking on the + or the button will open another tab. Most browsers also allow the shortcut Ctl plus t to open a Tab. If you are a Mac user, Safari opens another tab with the same shortcut. You can add additional tabs as needed.
If you are exploring links during a Web search, instead of clicking on a link, right-click it and choose “Open in a New Tab”. That will keep your current tab open and allow you to pursue the next link and even subsequent links as you continue your discovery. You can also choose “Open in Another Window” from that same right-click menu.
Now to continue this lesson in tabbed browsing, I want you to open your favorite browser, and do a Google Search for “using Firefox” for example”. That opens one tab with the search results displayed. Now right-click on a Website that interests you and open it in a new tab. Pick several, including one from Firefox and maybe some other user sites that offer tips about Firefox. Look them over and see what else you learn about tabbed browsing or other features that you might use. You’ll find other tips like saving Tabs and many more. Enjoy your new browsing tricks and till next week, send your questions to: