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In this chapter, we are going to take a look at Safari 4, the latest version of Apple's web browser which ships with Snow Leopard. Safari is available as a free download for both Macs and Windows machines from Apple's website, but since it is included in Snow Leopard and does contain some cool new features, I thought it was important to cover them here. Let's start with a look at the Top Sites feature. As you browse through Safari it keeps track of all the sites you visit, just like previous versions of Safari and pretty much all other web browsers do. Safari 4 takes things a step further though by offering a Top Sites view, which you can access by clicking the Top Sites button in the Bookmarks bar, located up here in the upper left-hand corner, or by choosing History > Show Top Sites, or of course using the keyboard shortcut of Shift+Command+1.
Any of those options will work. I will just use the button in the Bookmarks bar. So here you see a visual representation of all the sites you visit the most often. By providing you with the thumbnail of the websites, Safari makes it easy to identify a site by its appearance rather than having to read through a bunch of page titles in your browser's History menu. Additionally, any sites that have been updated with new content since your last visit have a star in the upper right-hand corner. So you can see a couple of these thumbnails have that star. This is especially useful for sites that provide news or other timely information.
If you don't see a star, it means nothing has been added since the last time you visited and you don't need to spend time visiting the site to check it out for yourself. To visit any one of these sites just simply click the Thumbnail and the page loads. Let's go back to Top Sites. Now this Top Sites view is not limited to just showing you the sites you have recently visited. If you are like me, you probably visit tons of sites everyday following links from other sites and you don't necessarily need to be able to return to every one of those sites. You may want to reserve the Top Sites view as a place to quickly check and access your favorite sites instead.
Just click the Edit button and this adds two buttons to each thumbnail. Clicking the X button removes the page from the Top Sites view, and tells Safari that you never want that page included here. Clicking the Pushpin icon tells Safari to always keep the site in your Top Sites view. So even as you visit other sites and other pages get pushed out of the list of top visited sites, the ones you have pinned will always remain here. You can even rearrange your Top Sites by dragging them around. Maybe I want to reserve the top row for the sites I always want quick access to, so as soon as you move a thumbnail you can see all the other top sites rearrange themselves.
Also notice, when I move a thumbnail its Pushpin automatically gets selected, pinning it to the top row. I can of course manually lock pages to the top row as well. You also have the option of viewing more or fewer page thumbnails by selecting the Small or Large option instead of the Medium view. Let's go back to the Medium view. Notice this message that tells me, "To add a page to top sites," I "drag its address or URL to this window." So if I open up another window and visit say amazon.com, I can add Amazon to my top sites by dragging its URL, by its icon, into my Top Sites window.
There it is right there. And you can see it there in my top row, and it is automatically pinned because I dragged it in manually. Now you can also type an address in the window where you are viewing your top sites, say zappos.com, but I want to make sure I do that without hitting Return otherwise I am going to visit zappos.com right now. Instead I am just going to drag that URL into my page. You can see Safari is going to take a minute to load that up. And there it is. Now doing it this way, you just have to be careful to type the site's address correctly before you drag it in. Incidentally, dragging in a site's address this way is also how you can add a site back to your Top Sites view if you accidentally click the Never Include button.
So if I did that to zappos, I can just simply drag it back in. So when you are done adding your top sites, click Done and you are free to click on the Thumbnails to visit any of your sites again. Now if you like this Top Sites view you may want to make it the default page that comes up when you open a new Safari window. Go to Safari > Preferences > General and then select Top Sites from either the New Windows Open With menu, or the New Tabs Open With menu or both. From that point on anytime you open a new window or tab you will have access to your favorite sites through the Top Site view.
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