MacMost Now 756: Safari Web Surfing Techniques

Here are three key techniques that everyone who surfs the web on their Mac should know. But using tabs, browsing history and page search you can move around quickly and find what you want.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let me show you some techniques I use when browsing the web with Safari.

So I get a lot of questions about specific features in Safari and web browsers in general. I find it surprising that some of the techniques I take for granted and use everyday aren't used by a lot or people. So I am going to show you three specific techniques that I use that make it easier for me to surf the web.

First I use Tabs a lot. So let's start by going to Safari Preferences and going to the Tabs section. Here there are a couple of options. One is to turn it on so that when you Command-Click a link it opens up a new tab. And then you have the option as to whether or not to make that new tab the active window. I usually have that turned off but it can be useful to have it turned on. Then once you have those set you can see some shortcuts below that are listed. For instance, Command-click will open a link in a new tab and then even with option turned off Command-Shift-Click will open the tab and make it the active window. Then if I actually wanted to open a new window, not a tab, I can use Option here as you see.

So, now let's say I have all that turned on and I am ready to go and I have some pages I want to visit. So I see a list of different pages like these right here and I want to visit several of them. What a lot of people do now is that they click on one and go it and they will look at it and then go back and click on the next one. It can take a little bit of time and it can get a little disoriented as the page jumps around. What I find easier to do is to Command-click to open up a tab for that first one there, and I am still on this page and I can Command-click to open a second tab and a third tab. Now these tabs are going to load in the background so while I have been doing that these are all loaded and ready to go. I click on the next tab here and I can immediately go to that page, this page, and this page and any of these tabs can easily be closed by clicking on the x here or actually Command W will close the tab and you can see when I close all the tabs I actually end up back here on this first page.

You can actually do this with a single one like if I had checked off that box to open it and make it active or just use Command-Shift-Click. Click on that, go to this new page here and say, "Hmmm this isn't what I was looking for, Command W and I am back where I was. So Command-Shift-Click there Command W and I am back where I was. So I can move very quickly between these pages.

I find this is really good for shopping sites. Say you do a search on a shopping web site and like five products come up and you want to compare them. Command-click on each one of them and it opens up five different tabs. Then you can go visit each one of the tabs, they are all open so you can click and go between them very quickly, maybe eliminate two or three, and you end up with the ones that are the best for it and you can compare between the two of them and make your order. Of if at anytime you close them all you end of back at the original shopping page and maybe you can select a few others.

Now the other technique I use is actually an un-technique. It is something I don't use. I hardly ever use bookmarks. I haven't used bookmarks since maybe around 1999 or something like that when I had a huge list of them and they were difficult to deal with. Instead of using bookmarks I rely on a few different things.

One, it's easy to search and find things on the internet. So if I run across an interesting article a lot of times I don't worry about bookmarking it because I know I can find it later on. So for instance if I wanted to find the MacMost video on Optimizing the Dock I just search MacMost optimize dock and I can actually find that a lot quicker than if I have to search through a list of bookmarks.

But also I use History. History is kind of like bookmarks except every page you have ever visited is bookmarked, at least as far back as you have your Preferences set to. So you can look at your recent history. You can look at it by date. But this is just a big list as well. What I'd rather do is be able to search History.

So I go to History, show all History, and it's going to bring up this History page and now I have this search box here so I can look for something like Dock and I can see all the articles I visited about that subject. A lot of times if you just remember a couple of key words or the name of the web site and a key word you can very quickly find that item in your history. It's kind of nice because bookmarks only work if you think if you should bookmark this page while you are at it. History works even if you didn't think that. A week later you think oh I want to see that article again or that list of items or whatever it was you can go through your history even though you did not think to bookmark it at that time. So I use History rather than bookmarks.

In fact about the only time I use bookmarks anymore is when I find something that is very hard to get to deep down in a site and I know I want to refer to that later that day on my iPhone so I'll bookmark it so then I find that same bookmark on my iPhone and I'm able to jump right to that page.

My third technique is about searching. Not just regular search but searching on the web page. A lot of people don't realize that you can do this and don't do this at all. Here's a technique that I use all the time when I'm shopping. So say I'm looking at or interested in buying this label maker here and my first question is does this work with the Mac. Well instead of having to read through all this different stuff a lot of times I will just do Command F and type Mac. And in this case it actually puts it in the product features that it works with Mac but I can actually hit Command G and cycle through all of the different instances of the word Mac here. I will find, for instance, in the reviews you get a lot of interesting stuff. So in this case let me go down for this product to the reviews and then click on View All Reviews and then I will repeat the search with Command G and I'll see hey yes some people have commented that this works with their Macs. Now I can be pretty confident just by using the search on the web page, search through all this content here to find the information I want.

Being able to search on a web page really helps me to find the information I want very quickly in a long article, on a long list, on a page with lots of different products things like that. It is indispensable. I use the Find on a Page just as much as I use searching on a site like Goggle.

So there are three techniques I use all the time. I use Tabs, I use Searching on a Page, I use History to optimize my browsing experience.

I hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 7 Responses to “MacMost Now 756: Safari Web Surfing Techniques”

    Antoinette Nozzero
    9/3/12 @ 11:16 am

    Good to know about different features in History

    Robbll
    9/3/12 @ 2:29 pm

    Quick Question: How many days of HISTORY do you keep?

      9/3/12 @ 4:49 pm

      You can set that to various things under Safari, Preferences, “Remove history items.” I have mine set to the maximum.

    Michael Glavin
    9/3/12 @ 7:38 pm

    After initially thinking this would be a silly episode, I have to admit I was wrong. These are all useful new ideas in how to do something as simple as surf the web. Thanks as always Gary.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    9/7/12 @ 8:42 am

    I am just getting use to ML toolbar,and i keep forgetting about the tabs, and they are not highlighted. I keep going to the old system,and i end up off the web but i am slowly getting used to it.
    I did notice all the history when i was bookmarking something,can this history be saved. Has you pointed out you don`t use bookmarks rarely,and to be quite honest i am getting a bit sick of using bookmarks all the time.

    joe
    1/10/13 @ 4:19 pm

    why is the zooming in safari so much smoother than in chrome? i like chrome much more cause its on all my android devices and my laptop and pc. can i make chrome as smooth in zooming as safari?

      1/10/13 @ 4:24 pm

      Different browsers have different features, that’s all. Not aware of a way to “turn on” smooth zooming in Chrome so maybe it just isn’t a feature.
      Why do you like Chrome better? Safari and Chrome use the same engine, and are very similar in many ways.

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