Quick Tips: Netscape


  • What is Netscape?
  • What commands does Netscape use to link to Web pages?
  • What does a World Wide Web page look like in Netscape?
  • How can I stop loading a Web page that is taking too long?
  • How can I find out what a Web page's URL is in Netscape?
  • What does a World Wide Web page look like in HTML code?
  • How do I add a Bookmark (for fast retrieval of a Web page later)?
  • How can I find out where I have been so that I can return quickly to a Web page I saw MUCH EARLIER in this session?
  • How do you search a particular Web page for desired terms in Netscape?
  • How do you print a Web page in Netscape?

    What is Netscape?

    Netscape Navigator is the World Wide Web browser most people think of when they think of the World Wide Web. This browser, however, requires a PC (or a workstation) or higher to run. It cannot run on dumb terminals.

    Netscape Navigator is the "point-and-click" type of browser. It can do everything that Lynx (see Quick Tips: Lynx) can do and more. However, it will not do everything by itself. Netscape comes with four "helper applications" internally and depends on the user to supply others for extended capabilities. (Remember the Barbie doll and "accessories sold separately"?)

    In English, this means that you may get "error messages" when you ask Netscape to do something it is not prepared to do. (For more about error messages see Quick Tips: Netscape Error Messages.)

    You will likely go through most of your Web searching just fine with this no-frills setup.

    TIP: Again, as with Lynx, I recommend that whenever you are about to begin a session on the World Wide Web, make sure that you have a blank piece of paper and a pen (or pencil) handy first.

    What commands does Netscape use to link to Web pages?

    TIP: Again, as with Lynx, there is more than one way to issue commands. Netscape runs under Windows (and on the Macintosh) so you can use your mouse. Or you can type in the commands. Whenever possible, I will tell you both the mouse AND the typed commands.

    I want to first call your attention to the icons Netscape has across the top of the screen:


    TIP:On any Web page, you can do any of the four actions you did in Lynx:

    1) follow the links

    by putting the cursor on a link and clicking once

    *The cursor will change from an arrow to a pointing finger to an hourglass as you follow these steps.
    *Remember, words in plain type are NOT links
    *After you have been to a link, the link changes color (usually from blue to pink), letting you know that you have tried that one already

    *You can tell that Netscape is currently doing something on your behalf if you see the "N" in the upper righthand corner is engulfed in meteor showers. When the showers stop, Netscape is "resting", awaiting your next command.

    2) or you can click on HOME for your home page and return to your home page from anywhere on the Web with one click of your mouse, no matter how many pages you have viewed since the last time you were there.

    3) or you can click on BACK to go "back" to the previous Web page (which you had just linked from.) Depending on where you are, you would click on FORWARD (see next TIP) to go "back" to a Web page.

    4) or you can enter your own Web address (URL) (to go to a page not linked from that Web page)

    TIP: If you click on the BACK icon several times, you can go back to a previous page. If you then find that you backed up too far, and you wanted to be at a page you just passed by a few clicks ago instead, you can now click on the FORWARD icon. That is, you can "back" up "in reverse".

    Quite clever. Note that the FORWARD icon is only activated (with its letters in a color other than gray) when you have backed up a page or more.

    I decided that I wanted to type in a Web address (URL) not linked from this page. So I hit OPEN

    A dialog box appears, and I type in the address for my home page.

    Open Location: http://clever.net/cam/maf.html


    Try it right now. Use your mouse to click on the OPEN icon. (Then click on the cancel button to close the dialog box.) You can also move the dialog box to a different place on the screen, by dragging it with the mouse, if you want to.

    This is how my home page looks in Netscape. (You can click on this link and look at my home page, if you wish.)

    TIP: To see what comes after what you can see on the first screen, use the mouse to scroll down (that is, click on the down arrow in the scroll bar at right).

    I have one graphic on my home page, the photograph of myself and my fiance.

    Note at the top of the screen (ABOVE the Netscape window itself) that it says:


    Click on OPTIONS. Look for "Auto Load Images" in the menu. Netscape starts out with this turned "on". That is, you should see a check mark in front of this phrase.

    At home, I have a Macintosh with only a fairly small memory. If I load too many images, I run out of memory quickly and Netscape crashes. So, I clicked on this phrase to make the check mark disappear. This means that instead of automatically loading every graphic, Netscape loads a weird looking icon in its place that looks like this:
    [a rectangle with a circle and a triangle inside it]
    to let me know that there was a graphic there.

    TIP: If I want to see a particular graphic, all I have to do is click on its icon and ask Netscape to load that particular one.

    *OR, click on the IMAGES icon at the top of the page and all graphics on that particular Web page will then be loaded.
    *It makes Netscape run much more quickly if it does not have to stop and load graphics along the way and it also uses up less memory to temporarily store these graphics.

    At work, I have discovered that I can load graphics on the PC at my reference desk if I clean out the storage areas called the disk cache, afterwards.

    TIP: Click on OPTIONS again.

    *Click on "Network Preferences" in the menu. This brings up a page that has what looks like file tabs across the top.
    *Click on the one that says "Cache".

    *On the Cache page, youUll see "Clear Memory Cache now" and "Clear Disk Cache now".
    *I click on both of them, one at a time.
    *You will get a message advising you that this will clear out your files but that is what you want it to do so do not worry about it.
    *Click on "OK"
    *and then "OK"at the bottom of the screen to exit that screen.

    If you never clear your caches, you will fill up memory with Netscape graphics and you will freeze up your computer. The message you get before it freezes is something about a General Protection Fault.

    I find Web-surfing with the graphics turned off works most of the time. You can leave the auto-loading of images turned on if you do not look at too many pages with graphics or if you periodically "clear your disk caches". Experience will tell.

    What does a World Wide Web page look like in Netscape?

    Now I wish to go from my home page to the AltaVista page and see what it looks like in Netscape. to get there, click on the AltaVista link (just after the words "Search Engines" on my home page).

    TIP: Keep an eye on the left side of the bar at the very bottom of the screen. This is where Netscape lets you know the progress of anything you ask it to do.

    *When you use the mouse to click on a link, it first says "Wait. Contacting [the host computer as specified in the Web address]."
    *Then it says: "Host contacted. Waiting for reply."
    *Then it starts loading the page. It will tell you what percent has been received of the total page and how long it estimates it will take for the rest to arrive. (Do not worry about the time estimates - they are usually not correct. That is, it usually takes less time than displayed in that estimate.)
    *If if does not start receiving the first part of the page or it does not say "Host contacted. Waiting for reply", it will give you an error message. (See Quick Tips: Netscape Error Messages for discussion of the various error messages.)

    TIP: You do not have to wait for the entire page to completely load before following a link that interests you.

    *This is an amazing feature. Netscape will say "Transfer interrupted!" but there is no harm done and you do not have to waste your time waiting if you see some other link on the part of the page that HAS loaded that you wish to follow.
    *The worst that aborting a page loading (by clicking on a link early) will do is make the screen look funny if, and when, the rest of the page arrives. (If that happens, click on RELOAD and it will sort itself out by completely reloading that Web page.)

    How can I stop loading a Web page that is taking too long?

    TIP: By the same token, you can always STOP a page load if you want to by clicking on the STOP icon. The STOP icon can be activated whenever the stop sign in the center is red (not gray).

    *If if seems to be taking too long or if you decide that you made a mistake and do not want to see this page after all, go to the icons at the top of the screen and click on STOP. *Clicking the STOP icon will not hurt anything. You can then click on the BACK icon, click on a different link, or click on the OPEN icon to type in a new URL, etc. This STOP feature can be a real timesaver at times, too.

    How can I find out what a Web page's URL is in Netscape?

    Let us say that I was interested in a link I saw on a Web page and wanted to know what its URL was.

    TIP: Place the cursor over the link and look at the bottom of the screen. The URL appears. If I then click on the link, Netscape starts trying to connect me. This is a very handy feature. It allows me to quickly look at the URL before deciding to change pages.

    *Again, here is where you can take notes on that blank piece of paper and write down interesting URLs (web addresses).

    What does a World Wide Web page look like in HTML code?

    Pull down the menu under VIEW. Choose View Document Source.

    How do I add a Bookmark (for fast retrieval of a Web page later)?

    Say that I link on a Web page and like it so much I believe that I will want to return to it often.

    TIP:While you are at the page you liked, click on Bookmarks at the very top of the screen. Click on Add Bookmark. That is all you have to do.

    *At any point later, if you decide that you want to return to that page, pull down the Bookmarks menu.
    *Your page will be listed.Click on its name and you will be connected to it.
    *Be careful in choosing which pages to bookmark. Writing potential bookmarks' URLs down on a piece of paper as you come across them gives you the opportunity to add them either immediately as you find them OR towards the end of a session after you have had a chance to evaluate them against whatever else you find during that session. (There is always the chance that the next Web page could be a site which looks like a better bookmark selection to you.)
    You can go back and delete a bookmark which you are not using very much later AND you can re-arrange the order in which your bookmarks are listed. From time to time, reexamine your bookmarks list to see which ones you are in fact using on a regular basis and weed out those which turned out to be ones you use less.

    How can I find out where I have been so that I can return quickly to a Web page I saw MUCH EARLIER in this session?

    TIP:If you suddenly want to see again a Web page you looked at four [or whatever] pages ago, click on GO at the top of the page. This has a history of where you have been. The page you wish to see again should be listed and all you have to do is click on the page's name.

    This can be handy if you want to know the path you followed to get you to a particular page. It can also be handy if you realize late in a session that you really did want to bookmark an earlier Web page or that you needed to consult that page quickly once again.

    How do you search a particular Web page for desired terms in Netscape?

    Say you get to my home page and you wanted to look at Web Weather, a page that will give you the local forecast for Houston (and other cities). This is fairly far down on my page. You could skip having to scroll down my page to find it by doing the following:

    TIP: Click on the FIND icon at the top of the screen. A dialog box appears:



    ...Case Sensitive...Find Backwards


    *Enter "Web Weather". The part of the page containing Web Weather appears on the screen. *Click on the link to go there.

    How do you print a Web page in Netscape?

    Say you have just done a search in the Houston Chronicle
    (see Quick Tips: Ready Reference on the Web) and now the story you need is on the screen and you want a printed copy of it.

    TIP:Click the PRINT icon at the top of the screen.

    *Your regular printer dialog box appears. Choose which quality [Best-Faster-Draft (etc.)] and tell it OK.
    *The web page on the screen will completely print out.The ENTIRE web page prints out, NOT just the part you can see.

    *OR, you can pull down the menu under FILEat the top of the screen and click on Print. The printer dialog box appears at this point, also.

    TIP: When you are ready to end your Web session, pull down the menu under File to QUIT at any Web page. (This is equivalent to "exit" for other programs.)

    The majority of Web pages on the World Wide Web have been designed with Netscape Navigator in mind. This is an advantage. Anyone with Windows (or Macintosh) experience should find Netscape easy to use once you have gained some experience with it.

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    Last Modified: 8/2/98