14 Tips for Better Web Surfing

If you’ve been a power user of the web for years, then some of the tips on NY Times writer David Pogue’s list of Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User may seem old hat. But quite often I come across seasoned veterans who haven’t heard about time saving tips, like using the keyboard controls Ctrl-x, Ctrl-c and Ctrl-v to cut, copy and paste.

There are over 1000 comments from readers adding in their technology tips, both common and obscure. That’s a lot of tips, covering a wide range of technology from cell phones to Office. The sheer volume makes it tough to glean out the really useful web ones.

So, to save you having to sift through the list, here are 14 tips that might save you some time, make you more productive, or just generally lower your frustration level when surfing. Some of them are Windows tips that would work in other Windows programs (like the above mentioned cut, copy and paste keyboard commands), others are browser specific. Feel free to add your faves.

  1. Just about every faculty I work with has had this complaint at some point – text on the web is too small. Needless to say, they love this tip when I show them. You can enlarge text on a web page by hitting the Ctrl and plus sign (+). Make text smaller by hitting Ctrl and minus sign (-). Mac users can substitute Command for Ctrl.
  2. Ctrl and mouse scroll will also increase or decrease the size of a web page.
  3. “http://www” is not needed in your browser. The domain name will do. For example, enter camosun.ca instead of http://www.camosun.ca into your Web browser address bar and save yourself a few keystrokes each time.
  4. The space bar will scroll down one screen on a web page. Shift spacebar goes up one screen.
  5. Tab will move you from field to field when you fill out a web form. You don’t have to mouse click in each text box.
  6. Google does math. Type an equation into Google and hit enter. Voila!
  7. Google also does time and weather. Enter the word “time” or “weather” followed by a major city and get the time and weather for that location. For example, “time Vancouver” or “weather Vancouver” gives you the local time or weather forecast for Vancouver, BC.
  8. Alt+D pops your cursor up to the address bar
  9. Alt+left arrow takes you back a page in your browser. Alt+right arrow moves you ahead.
  10. Ctrl+Tab moves you from tab to tab in a browser.
  11. F5 wil refresh/reload a page – handy when you make a change to a page and it isn’t showing up in your browser like you are expecting it to.
  12. Ctrl+F let’s you search for text on a web page.
  13. Ctrl+T opens a new browser tab
  14. F1 opens Help

For more tips, check out the keyboard shortcuts for Firefox, Internet Explorer and Google.

via tweet from The Clever Sheep


Clint Lalonde

Just a guy writing some stuff, mostly for me these days on this particular blog. For my EdTech/OpenEd stuff, check out https://edtechfactotum.com/.


8 thoughts on “14 Tips for Better Web Surfing

  1. Great to know, Clint. I love item four, the (shift) space bar one! I going to start sharing these tips today.

  2. Thanks Clint.

    In IE7, here are a couple I always use:
    – Ctrl-click a link to open it in a new tab (different from Sylvia’s Ctrl-click above, so must be a different OS or browser?)
    – Shift-click a link to open it in a new window
    – Alt-Home to get to IE’s homepage (I use iGoogle for homebase)

    Further to your #3, if the URL you want is a .com website, you don’t have to type .com either. Just type the main word and then Ctrl-Enter. So for example, in the address bar, type google then Ctrl-Enter and it opens http://www.google.com

  3. Thanks Sylvia.

    Google has a whole whack of simple search features. Being a soccer fan, I like the sports scores and schedules. Type your favorite sports team in Google and get the results of their last game and the next scheduled game. No educational value, but fun.

  4. What! I didn’t know Google would do my math. Thanks for the list. It’s going in the “blog post of the month” section of the next ETUG newsletter!

    Also I have one to add that I use all the time. Cntrl click on a link to see a list of options for opening page in a new browser or window.

  5. Very, very useful! I did not know about the CTRL (+) or (-)….and did not know about the space bar!

    Thanks again Clint for a very useful article!

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