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Getting started with Safari

Christopher Breen | June 14, 2013
In this week's Mac 101 lesson, Chris Breen introduces the Web browser you may very well be using to read these words.

When you type something in the field, you'll see a list of suggestions. In many cases the suggestions are for search terms. Select one of these terms, and by default Safari will take you to Google's search page, where you'll find a list of results.

However, if you've previously visited a website with a matching name—, for instance—that site should appear as the first suggestion (called the Top Hit) and be entered into the field. Press Return, and you'll go to that site. If you're looking for a specific website but its name doesn't appear as a Top Hit (because you haven't visited it before), wait for the list of suggestions to appear. Near the bottom of the list you'll spy a 'Go to Site' entry, followed by the words you entered. Select it to go to that website.

One thing you'll want to be careful about is banging on the Return key too quickly, particularly when you've entered a Web address that Safari is aware of. If Safari hasn't had time to retrieve the address from its History (a repository for sites you've visited in the past) and you press Return, you're likely to end up at Google rather than at the site you entered. Patience is a virtue in such cases.

Navigation options
As with a bag of M&M's, one nibble leads to another, and before you know it you've traipsed from one end of the World Wide Web to another. You have a couple of ways to make your way back along the path you trod. One is to use the Back and Forward navigation buttons to the left of the search/address field. A single click on the Back button takes you to the previous page you visited. Click Forward, and you reverse course and move to the page you just retreated from.

If you use a trackpad with your Mac, you can swipe two fingers left or right to move between recently visited webpages. And speaking of gestures, if you have multiple tabs open, you can view a large preview of each: Just pinch two fingers together, and open tabs will be reduced to elements on a single screen. Use two fingers to swipe between them. Click the one you want to view, and it enlarges to fill Safari's window. The other windows become tabs.

The Back and Forward buttons are convenient, but they can make for slow going if you need to move through dozens of sites. A faster method is to click and hold on one of these buttons—do so, and you'll see your entire path back or forward. Just select the page you wish to revisit from the list that appears.


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