Originally published in The Clarion | August 22, 2012
This week I would like to focus on basic Web navigation using nothing but keyboard shortcuts. Again, many of you are already familiar with some of these tricks; my goal is to help those who might be new to computers and/or the Web in getting around a little more efficiently. For many years, Web browsers only allowed one site to be open at a time. If you wanted to look at two or more sites simultaneously, a new instance of the browser application had to be opened. With tabbed browsing, a user can have many different sites opened at the same time within one window. When multiple tabs are in use, navigation between the sites is very easy, either by using the mouse or a keyboard shortcut. With the mouse, all you have to do to switch between tabs is click the tab you wish to go to. Being the keyboard guru that I am, I prefer to use a keyboard shortcut unless my hand happens to be on the mouse. To switch between tabs using the keyboard, simply use the Control key along with either the Page Up key to navigate to the tab to the right or the Page Down key to navigate to the tab to the left. If you are already on the far-left tab, using Control and Page Up will take you to the last tab in the window.
Another handy navigation tip using the keyboard when browsing is a combination of the Alt key and the left or right arrow keys. Instead of grabbing the mouse to go a page back or forward in your browsing history, the combination of Alt and either the left or right arrow will take you back or forward respectively. Other keys that can be used for fluid and efficient Web browsing are the Page Up, Page Down, Home and End keys by themselves. Using these keys can swiftly move you around the page, depending on if you want to go up or down one page view at a time or if you want to go all the way to the top or bottom of the page. Give it a try – with some practice using these keys will become a habit that will enable efficient navigation.
One last trick that comes in handy concerns the size of the text and images on a site. Unfortunately there isn’t much of a standard when it comes to designing the layout of websites. Since so many people access the Web on smaller mobile devices these days, many Web developers have started structuring their sites to better accommodate the smaller screens. Because of this, you probably go to sites on your nice large computer monitor that are simply hard to see. Use the Control key in combination with the Plus + or Minus – key to increase or decrease the current view. To return the view back to the original size, simply use Control and the number Zero 0 and the view will reset.