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Browser basics that save you time online

Here are some tips to manage your web browser and make things smoother when you are spending time online

SHARE Browser basics that save you time online
Rachel Perry prepares to write on a piece of paper as she listens to her teacher on her computer at home in Salt Lake City.

Rachel Perry prepares to write on a piece of paper as she listens to her teacher on her computer as she and her sister, Charlotte Perry, participate in school via their computers at home in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Most of us have been using the internet for many years by now, but there is always more to learn whether you’re an online pro or a beginner. Don’t overlook these features that can save precious time while online.

I was recently on the phone with my niece, helping her figure out her college schedule online. It took me quite a bit of searching and more than a few clicks to get to the webpage listing the requirements for her degree. I sent her the link and told her to bookmark the page so she could easily find it the next time she needed the information.

“I don’t know how to bookmark,” she said. “What does that even mean?”

Some of us may use basic browser features like it’s second nature to us. But we shouldn’t forget that newbies or others may have never learned these simple skills that can shave minutes off the time their eyes are glued to a screen.

Using bookmarks in your browser

Bookmarks are a way to create shortcuts to webpages you know you’ll want to look at again. It’s an easy method to keep all your frequently used sites at your fingertips and cuts down on time searching or typing in a web address.

To bookmark a webpage on Google Chrome, click the star icon at the end of the address bar or hold Ctrl+D.

To see all your bookmarks, find the three vertical dots at the top-right of the browser. Click there and select "Bookmarks." Chrome also has a Bookmark Manager that enables users to create folders for bookmarks to keep them organized.

For Safari, select "Bookmarks" from the menu at the top of the screen and then "Add Bookmark" or hold Command+D.

To view all bookmarks, again select "Bookmarks," but click "Show Bookmarks." Make sure to set up iCloud for Safari so that those bookmarks will sync across all devices set up for iCloud. Safari also allows users to create folders to organize bookmarks.

Using URL shortcuts

In the olden days, you would say every bit of a web address when telling someone about something cool online. 

You would spell it all out, “Go to h, t, t, p, colon, forward slash, forward slash, w, w, w, dot, cool thing, dot com.” 

No one goes to that much trouble anymore. Most people know to simply say, “Check out cool thing, dot com.” Thank the advancement of web browsers for that.

Now, that’s all you need to type in, and the information before and after the website name is automatically filled in by your browser.

Using the address bar search

Using Chrome, sometimes you don’t even need to open up a search page to find an answer. If you have a question about something and are considering opening up Google to search for the answer, it may not be necessary.

Type the question in the address bar where you usually enter a web address.

For many questions, the answer will appear in a drop-down menu with no need to go to another webpage. It worked for me with “How old is Bill Gates,” “What time is sunset” and ‘Who is the secretary of state.”

Safari has a similar function with Spotlight. Click on the eyeglass icon in the top-right area of the screen. Use Spotlight to find apps, documents, emails or other items on your Mac, but also use it for calculations, conversions, sports scores and more.

Remotely view someone’s screen

I am in the position of being long-distance tech support for my children and my parents. You may have had the frustration of someone trying to describe what their computer screen looks like so you can help them troubleshoot.

There is an easier way. Launch “Screen Sharing” by searching for it with Spotlight.

Enter the Apple ID of the person you are helping. They will need to enable screen sharing by clicking on the Apple icon in the upper left-hand corner of their screen and selecting “System Preferences.”

From there, have them click “Sharing” and enable “Screen Sharing.”

Then you will be able to see their screen, remotely manipulate files, windows, apps and restart their computer.

Sometimes we can forget that not everyone knows all the tips and tricks that cut down on the time certain tasks take online. And even those who know the shortcuts can forget how useful they can be and don’t use them when they should.

These time-saving tips for web browsers get back to basics and can be helpful for everyone.