Join Nick Brazzi for an in-depth discussion in this video Touring the interface: Bare essentials of browsing, part of Learning Internet Explorer.
- The core funcitonality of Internet Explorer, as with any web browser, is very easy. You may already be familiar with the basics. Especially considering most people watching this course are doing it in a web browser. But let's take a quick tour to make sure we're on the same page. The rest of this course will build on the basics that we see here. Now first the main part of the Internet Explorer window shows you the content of whatever webpage you're visiting. You will need to supply the address for a webpage or perform a search, but once you load what you're looking for, it will be here in the main section of the window.
When you first open Internet Explorer, the page that you'll see is known as your homepage. If you've never changed your homepage, chances are it will be the MSN News page, which is what I'm looking at here. Up here at the top of the window, you're gonna see all of your controls. To browse to and view a specific webpage, you need to provide the address or perform a search. You can type that address here in the address bar. You can just click on that and then type in an address. Since I'm currently looking at the MSN News page, I can see the address for that page here in the address bar.
You can see that the address usually has this structure. It will begin with http or https, then a :// and then it will have generally this www.something.com and then it may be followed with some other information. And when I say dot, what I really mean is a period on your keyboard, but everybody just says dot. Now you don't really need to worry about this http:// business. That's not something you have to type in when you put in an address.
And not all website addresses beging with www and not all end in .com, but you can see the structure here. Now if I wanna visit a website, and I know the address, I can just type in that address here. You'll notice that when I clicked on this field, it highlighted the current address in blue. When that happens, I can just start typing to type in something else. So I'll type in www.amazon.com. You'll notice I didn't bother with that http part at the beginning. I'll hit return, and it'll go to that webpage.
So you don't have to worry about that http part, and also if your webpage begins with www, you don't really have to worry about that either. I could click on the address field again. I could just type in amazon.com, hit return, and it'll go to the page. Works the same. Now let's type in another address, but this time, instead of clicking on the address bar, I wanna use one of my favorite keyboard shortcuts. And that is ctrl l. I'll just hold the ctrl key on my keyboard, tap the letter l, and it highlights the address field, so I can type in a new address.
So let me type in an address here. So notice I didn't put in the http, I didn't put in the www, even though that is part of it, and it did not end in .com. This one ends in .org. But the structure is still basically the same. I hit return, and it loads that page. So some addresses have .com, some have .org. There are lots of other extensions that you'll find, including some extensions that are specific to different countries in the world. Now many addresses are longer than the simple structure that we're looking at here, but we're gonna see more about that in just a minute.
Now if you do not know the address for a website, or if you don't even know what website you want to visit, but you know the topic that you're interested in, you can perform a search instead. You can actually use the address bar to do a search. So I'll select the address bar here. If you type anything into the address bar that does not immediately conform to the structure of a website address, it will assume that you're doing a search. So I'm just gonna type in the word stonehenge, and that will do a search for stonehenge.
By default, Internet Explorer uses a search tool called Bing. If you wanna use a different search tool, we'll talk about that in a later chapter. But here are my search results, and there are a lot of options. And this gives us an opportunity to talk about links, which are core to the browsing experience. If you point your mouse at something in Internet Explorer, and your mouse cursor changes to a hand with a pointy finger that means that that item is a link. So notice my mouse looks like an arrow here, but if I move it over here, it turns into that hand with the finger.
You can click on a link, and it will take you to some other page. But before I click on one of these links, I wanna point out that each of these links also has an address listed below it. So if I click on this link, it would take me to this address. So here's a good example here. This one begins with that standard structure we talked about, www.history.com, but then it has a / and a whole bunch of other stuff after it. That's all perfectly standard. Take a look at this one up at the top. It does not begin with www.
It begins with en, which in this case stands for English. So not all addresses begin with www, but they do have that same structure. So to follow along with the links, let's just click on one of these and see where it goes. I'll click on the first one, so if I click on this link, it takes me to the page that has that address. And now the address for this webpage appears up here in the address bar. Now this is one specific page on a website called Wikipedia, and if you don't know about Wikipedia, it's a giant online encyclopedia that can be edited or revised by anybody.
But to clarify the difference between a site and a page, Wikipedia is a site, and it has many pages that you might visit. Any page that you visit on the Wikipedia site will probably have an address that begins with en.wikipedia.org. As another example, amazon.com is a website with lots of pages. MSN News is a website with lots of pages. You get the idea. Now here on this page, there are lots of links. And of course I can click on any of these links.
So if I click here, it takes me to another page. And I go through here, and I could click on this, and it takes me to another page. Next to the address bar, you'll find a back button and a forward button. Web browsers like Internet Explorer remember each page that you visited in order. So at any time, you can click on the back button, and it takes you to the previous page you were looking at, and the forward button will take you forward again. But now the forward option is not available anymore because I've gone as far as I can go in this timeline.
There is no next page on this list. Like many things on your computer, if you have a two button mouse, you can right click on some things to get more options. I use the right click option a lot when browsing the web. For example, if I just right click anywhere on the blank background of a webpage, I get a bunch of options, but the very first option is back. So that's the same as hitting the back button up here in the top left. You can also right click on a link, and you get more options for that. But that's something we're gonna talk about later in the course.
Up in the address bar, I want you to see this circular arrow. This is the refresh button. Hitting this button completely reloads this webpage. Usually you would hit this button if you think some information on this page has updated since you last loaded it. While a page is loading, very briefly, it turns into an X, and this page loads so quickly, you can barely see that X, but I'll hit it again, and you'll see that X there. While a page is loading, if for any reason, you want the page to stop loading, you can hit that X.
And once you stop loading a page, that button turns into the refresh button, so in case you decide you want to load the page again, you just hit the refresh button. Finally, I wanna point out three buttons over here near the top right. We're gonna talk about these much more in depth later, but I wanted to point them out. There's the home button, which takes you back to your home page. There's the favorites button, which is where we go to bookmark favorite webpages. And then there's tools. This is a menu that we're gonna use a lot as we go through the rest of this course.
So like I said, these are the basics, the bare essentials. If you walk away with only what you've seen here in this movie, you should be able to successfully use Internet Explorer for most day to day activities. But of course, there still is a lot more left to learn.
- Using tabs
- Setting the homepage
- Disabling the pop-up blocker
- Working with bookmarks
- Understanding cookies and the cache
- Saving passwords
- Browsing privately
- Installing add-ons
- Using the touch version of Internet Explorer