Internet browsers are something that most of us use every single day; they provide a portal to all the useful, weird, and wonderful stuff that the web has to offer.
Given the frequency with which we interact with them, it might be tempting to think you’re a browser-using master. In truth, very few of us are. There are always more tips, more tricks, and more ways that you can improve your skills.
Let’s face it; we take our web browsers for granted. We open them up and begin browsing without giving much thought to how they’ve improved over the years through tabbed browsing, built-in search and countless other enhancements. I’d like to put the browser back in the spotlight with these five browser tips that will make you more efficient in your day-to-day business tasks.
Here we take a look at twenty cool browser tricks that’ll help you use the Internet like pro.
1). Restore a Tab
We’ve all closed a tab by accident. It’s annoying, especially if you’d gone down an Internet-sized rabbit hole and weren’t sure what site you were even on. In the past, you’d have to navigate to your browser’s history and reload it from there, though most browsers at least now offer a “Recently Closed Tabs” list.
Did you know there is an even faster way? Just press Ctrl + Shift + T and the tab will magically reappear. You can use the shortcut multiple times to open a succession of your closed tabs.
2). Clear the Cache
“Cache” can refer to many things in computing, but in Internet terms it applies to the temporary storage of web pages and images; it helps to reduce bandwidth usage, server load, and lag. Sites can be loaded from the cache as long as certain conditions are met.
Cached files can take up a lot of bytes. While dedicated tools can help you free up disk space, they might not clear it all. We show you how to manually release storage space.
Sometimes, a cache can get corrupted. If this is the case, you can easily delete the cache and reload the proper version of the page by hitting Ctrl + Shift + R.
3). Load “Dead” WebPages
You might find that one of your favorite sites has gone offline. This can happen for any number of reasons – perhaps the domain was not renewed or the company went into administration.
If this happens to you, try pasting the link into archive.org. They often have old cached versions of sites available.
4). Highlight the URL
Using keyboard shortcuts can often be faster than using a mouse. We all know the commands for cut, copy, and paste, but this is another great one to add to your repertoire.
Press Ctrl + L to automatically select and highlight the current site’s URL. It’s really useful for quickly sharing links or copying them into a new tab.
5). Turn Text into a Web Address
If you enter plain text into your browser’s search box and hit Enter, you’ll be presented with a list of search results from your search provider of choice.
If you know the URL of the site you want to visit, you can save yourself a few keystrokes by pressing Ctrl + Enter – it’ll wrap your entered text with a www. and .com.
6). Cycle between Tabs
ALT + Tab is one of the most common keyboard shortcuts on Windows, it will let you flick between the various programs that are currently open.
Did you know that browsers have a similar function for cycling between your open tabs? Ctrl + Tab will move you one tab to the right, while Ctrl + Shift + Tab will move you one tab to the left.
On Chrome and Firefox you can also use Ctrl + 1-8 to jump straight to a tab, with the number used corresponding to the order of tabs on the top of your screen.
7). Reddit Slideshow
Reddit is a hugely popular online bulletin board, with sub reddits dedicated to almost every topic imaginable. If you’re browsing a picture-based sub reddit such as Earthtube, add a P after the word Reddit in the URL, turning the address from this www.reddit.com/r/Earthtube into this www.redditp.com/r/Earthtube.
All the pictures in the subreddit will be shown in slideshow format. It even has settings that will allow you tweak the speed at which the pictures change.
8). Reverse Image Search
Maybe you’ve got a cool image somewhere on your computer, but you can’t remember where you got it from.
If so, try out Google’s reverse image search. Head to images.google.com and either click the camera icon in the search bar or drag and drop an image from your computer.
9). Turn Your Browser into a Notepad
Save this code as a bookmark and you’ll be able to use your browser’s window as an on-the-fly notepad:
data:text/html, <html contenteditable>
(Note: You cannot save your notes, so don’t accidentally close the window before you’ve copied your text to a more secure place.)
10). Use Google.com
In case you missed it, Google recently removed the google.com/ncr feature. “NCR” stood for “No Country Redirect” – it allowed you to search the US-version of Google without being redirected to your local version.
The feature still exists, just head to Google.com and look for the Use Google.com link in the bottom right-hand corner.
11). Hide recommended articles
By default, the New Tab Page in Chrome for Android shows recommended articles below the search bar and site shortcuts. If you don’t want to see the recommendations, there’s a hidden setting to disable them entirely.
Copy and paste chrome://flags/#enable-ntp-remote-suggestions into the address bar, tap the dropdown menu, select ‘Disabled,’ then restart the browser when asked. After that, the articles should be gone.
12). Receive Facebook and Twitter notifications in Chrome
Cool Browsing tips
The Facebook app for Android has never been great, especially in light of recent events. Twitter’s app is less awful, but if you don’t use the service frequently, you might not want the app taking up storage. Thankfully, you can receive notifications from both services through Chrome (or Firefox, or Samsung Internet).
For Facebook, log into the site on your device, tap the menu icon on the top right of the page, and scroll down to ‘Account Settings.’ Then tap ‘Notifications’ and press the ‘Turn on’ button.
For Twitter, log into mobile.twitter.com and tap on the notifications button. You should see an option for turning on push notifications. If not, tap the settings button on the top-right corner, select ‘Push Notifications,’ and then press ‘Turn on.’
13). Enable dark mode
The long-awaited dark mode for Chrome on Android arrived in April, but it’s not enabled by default for everyone quite yet. Thankfully, it’s easy to make the switch appear if you don’t see it already.
Dark mode can be found by tapping the menu button at the top-right, tapping Settings, and selecting the ‘Theme’ menu. Here you can set dark mode to be enabled when your phone switches to it (this only works on some phones, or any devices with Android Q or newer), or force dark mode to always be on.
If you don’t see the Themes menu, copy and paste chrome://flags#enable-android-night-mode into the address bar, tap the highlighted dropdown menu, set it to ‘Enabled,’ and then restart the browser. You might need to quit and open the browser again after that.
If you also want all webpages to match the dark theme, you’ll need to activate another flag — just copy and paste chrome://flags#enable-android-web-contents-dark-mode into the address bar and set the dropdown to ‘Enabled’.
This feature might cause some sites to look wonky, so if you want to turn it off later, just visit the flag URL again and set it to ‘Default’.
14). Download pages once you’re online
If you need access to a certain page, but you have a spotty connection, constantly tapping reload for a chance to get the information you need can be incredibly frustrating. Thankfully, Chrome offers a solution.
When you’re offline, simply go to any page (either by tapping a link or by entering it in the address bar), and tap the ‘Download when online’ button. As soon as you have an internet connection, Chrome will save the page and give you a notification.
15). See more tabs at a glance
The Rolodex-style tab switcher in Chrome for Android is pretty to look at, but it’s not the best for managing large amounts of tabs. If you want to see more pages at once, Chrome has a hidden accessibility tab switcher that hides the previews.
Just paste chrome://flags/#enable-accessibility-tab-switcher into Chrome, select ‘Enabled’ in the dropdown menu, and restart the app. Now you can see all your tabs a bit more easily.
16).Tap a word to search for it
This is a simple feature, but it’s not widely advertised. When you tap on a word or phrase in Chrome, the browser will display an info panel about whatever you selected. Swiping up on the panel will show search results for the selection.
17). Add or remove the home button
On some devices, a home button is visible in Chrome. This is because some manufacturers include a ‘ChromeCustomizations’ APK in the system folder, which sets default values for bookmarks and the home button. But if that APK isn’t on your device, there’s still a way to add a home button (or remove it, if you don’t want it).
If you don’t already have a home button, paste chrome://flags/#force-enable-home-page-button into Chrome, select ‘Enabled’ in the dropdown menu, and restart the app twice. Now you have a home button! You can change the address it goes to by navigating to Settings > Home page > Open this page.
If your device came with a home button in Chrome and you want to get rid of it, simply open Chrome settings (menu button at top-right > Settings), tap ‘Home page,’ and set the switch to off.
18). Save pages as PDF files
As mentioned above, Chrome allows you to save pages to your phone for offline viewing. But what if you want to send the saved page to someone, or permanently download it in a format that can be read by other apps? By combining Chrome’s share feature and Android’s ‘Print as PDF’ function, this can be achieved without any additional tools.
Find the page you want to download, and then press the Share button in the main menu. Select ‘Print’ from the share menu, and change the printer to ‘Save as PDF.’ Then just press the blue button to download the file. Since it’s a PDF, the file can be opened on just about any computer, phone, or tablet.
19).Tap on emails, phone numbers, and addresses to use them
If you’ve used Safari on iOS, you may have noticed that phone numbers and other data automatically turn into links. For example, tapping on a phone number will open it in the dialer. Chrome for Android has a similar feature, but it’s not as obvious.
When you tap on an email address, Chrome will show a button to write an email (in your default mail app). Tapping on an address can take you to the location in Google Maps, and pressing a phone number will let you call it in one tap.
20). Zoom on any website
In many cases, sites optimized for mobile viewing don’t allow the user to zoom in and out manually. This can be annoying at best and harmful for visually-impaired users at worst. Thankfully, Chrome includes an override in the browser’s settings.
Just open the Chrome settings, tap ‘Accessibility,’ and check the box next to ‘Force enable zoom.’ Now you can zoom on any page!
21). Add more search engines
For years, Chrome on Android only supported a handful of pre-defined search engines – including Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com, and AOL. This was finally changed in May 2017, with the release of Chrome 57.
Adding a custom search engine is a bit tedious, but not complicated. First, go to any site and search for something. Then open the Chrome settings and select the ‘Search engine’ option.
There you should be able to select recently-visited sites as the default search engine. In my testing, this worked for DuckDuckGo, Amazon, eBay, and a few others.
22). Scroll through ‘Find in page’ results
When using Chrome’s ‘Find in page’ search, you don’t have to press the up/down arrows over and over to go through results. Instead, you can swipe up and down on the right bar to quickly scroll through matches.
23). Manage notifications from sites
Sites can ask to send notifications to your device, but it’s not always obvious how to take that ability away later. If you’re sick of a certain site sending you notifications, you can easily stop them from Chrome’s settings.
Tap the menu button at the top-right of Chrome, tap Settings, and select the Notifications menu. From here, you can toggle all of Chrome’s types of notifications, including ones sent by Chrome itself (downloads, media controls, etc.) and ones sent by sites. Easy peasy.
24). Mute a website, or block sound entirely
Chrome on Android is supposed to block websites from auto-playing audio, but some sites find methods around this (especially for auto-playing ads). On the flip side, you may want to block all sites from playing sound, except for a select few.
Chrome allows you to universally block or allow sound for all sites, and manage exceptions. For example, you can mute one or two misbehaving sites, or keep all but a few sites from playing anything. To do this, open Chrome settings and go to Site Settings > Sound.
There’s a universal toggle at the top, and you can add additional rules by tapping the plus button.
We’ve just given you twenty four hot tips to get you started on your path to browsing the internet like a pro whether on your PC or on your mobile, the tricks are sure to work. The smart tricks ensure that you browse the internet smartly.