Saturday, May 06, 2006

Personal Web Environments

The online computer is essential in business and education today. It is also increasingly central to our family lives and personal economic life. People spend hours on the computer, sharing photos, keeping health and financial records, reading for news or entertainment, learning, and playing games. Having an effective and efficient Personal Web environment is essential for us all. One of the foundations for effective Web work (or play) is setting up your own
  • personal toolbar;
  • Favorites bar; or
  • Bookmarks bar.

Chose the name you want; they are all the same.

I first learned about how to use this feature of a Web browser from my friend, Janet, who works in a library. Using it is so easy and convenient that I have never looked back. In this post, I am going to introduce you to the IE version, because that is still the most used Web browser, but I will follow-up with a post about the slight difference to the way it works in the Firefox Web browser.

What is a
  • personal toolbar;
  • Favorites bar; or
  • Bookmarks bar?

Glad you asked.

A Personal/Favorites/Bookmarks Bar
In the screenshot above, you can see the Favorites bar, and the View Menu that allows you to make it visible or hide it. This view of the Favorites bar still has the links it comes loaded with; you can see many Apple links (I work on an iBook) and, on the far right, a link to my academic blog on Elgg, the only link I have added so far.

Delete (or Move) Rarely Used Links

In the screenshot below, you can see 2 red arrows:
  • The double-headed arrow points a link on the Favorites bar and where it is listed in the Explorer bar (found under View in the Menu bar.)
  • The second red arrow points to "Delete" in the menu, which appeared when I right clicked (or you could hold down the "ctrl" button and use an ordinary left click.)

That's one of several ways to remove a link you don't use very often from the Favorites bar. When I'm setting up a browser to be part of my Personal Web Environment, my first step is to clear the Favorites bar. The next step is to begin adding my frequently used Websites to the Favorites bar, where I will be able to quickly and easily click on them.

Adding to Your Favorites Bar
There are a number of ways to add sites to your personal bar. I have a favorite. First you go to the site you want on your personal bar, either by entering the URL (or Web address)or by using a search engine to find it. Got it up on your screen, like below?
  • See the Address bar, the now empty Favorites bar, and the empty Favorites folder in the Explorer frame?
  • Now look at icon to the left of the url in the Address bar
  • Put your mouse cursor on it and hold down the left click button
  • Drag the icon down onto the Favorites bar. Notice that you can see a shadow image of the icon and the site title
  • Let go of the button while on the Favorites bar, and presto! - it now appears on your Favorites bar.

Benefits and Possibilities
When you add sites to your Favorites bar, you can easily click on them there and watch them open!
In the image above, arrows point to the Wikipedia Webpage, the Wikipedia url, the Wikipedia link on the Favorites bar, and the Wikipedia link in the Explorer frame. I can go on and add as many links as will fit across the Favorites bar (and beyond, as I'll show in the next post with Firefox). Here's the last bit for this post -

How to Shorten Web Link Names
  • Right (or "ctrl") click on the link, either in the Favorites frame or on the Favorites bar;
  • Up pops a menu;
  • Chose "Edit Name";
  • Change the name to the shortest one you can easily recognize.

Now you can start building your Personal Web Environment by adding more of your frequesntly used Web sites.

Have fun!


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