17 Web Browser Tips For Experienced Users
When it comes to simple tools with vast potential, the desktop web browser is the ultimate example. Even if you don’t consider yourself a tech-savvy individual, you probably know the basics of visiting a website or searching the internet. Opening, closing, and rearranging browser tabs may also seem like a piece of cake. However, beneath these straightforward functions lie a plethora of powerful features that can greatly enhance your web browsing experience. In this article, we’ll explore ten essential browser tricks that everyone should know. It’s worth noting that these features work seamlessly in any web browser, whether you’re using Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or one of the Chromium-based browsers such as Edge, Brave, Opera, and Vivaldi.
1. Master the art of tab management
One of the most useful tricks for efficient web browsing is mastering tab management. In addition to opening new tabs, you can close them, reopen closed tabs, and even move them around. You can also group multiple tabs together for better organization and switch between them with ease. A lesser-known feature is the ability to mute sound from specific tabs if you have multiple tabs open simultaneously.
2. Use bookmarks for quick access
If you frequently visit certain websites, using bookmarks can save you a lot of time. Bookmarks enable you to create quick links to your favorite sites, allowing you to access them with a single click. Just right-click the area next to your tabs in Chrome—or right-click the tabs themselves in Firefox and Microsoft Edge—then select Bookmark all tabs. This will create a new folder with all your open tabs in it. (In Safari for MacOS, you’ll find a similar option under Bookmarks > Add Bookmarks for These Tabs.)
3. Take advantage of private browsing
Private browsing is a handy feature that allows you to browse the web without leaving a trace. In this mode, your browsing history, cookies, and temporary files are not saved on your computer. It’s an excellent option for those who share a device with others or for when you need to do some online shopping without leaving a trail.
4. Master keyboard shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts are an excellent way to save time and increase productivity when browsing the web. Learning and mastering these shortcuts can help you navigate the web more efficiently. Here are a handful of the most helpful ones, well worth committing to memory right away:
- Ctr + T: New tab
- Ctrl + W: Close the current or selected tab
- Ctrl + L: Highlight the address bar
- Ctrl + Shift + B: Show or hide bookmarks
- Ctrl + F: Find text in page
5. Use the omnibox for more than just URLs
The omnibox, which is the combined search and address bar in most browsers, can do much more than just take you to a website. You can use it to search Google, set a timer, do a quick calculation, or even translate a page.
6. Make use of tab groups
Tab groups are an excellent way to organize your tabs and keep track of multiple projects simultaneously. You can group tabs by topic, project, or priority, and switch between them with ease. In all browsers except Safari, select individual tabs by holding Ctrl, or hold Shift to select an entire range. After selecting a bunch of tabs, you can re-arrange them, drag them out into a separate browser window, or—for maximum satisfaction—press Ctrl + W to close them all at once.
7. Take advantage of reader mode
Most modern browsers come with a reader mode that simplifies web pages for easier reading. This mode removes distractions such as ads, pop-ups, and other unnecessary elements, leaving only the text and images.
8. Save web pages for offline reading
Sometimes, you may come across an article or webpage that you want to read later, but you’re not sure if you’ll have internet access. Fortunately, most browsers allow you to save web pages for offline reading, so you can access them even when you’re not connected to the internet.
9. Use multiple profiles
If you share a computer with others or use it for both work and personal use, creating multiple browser profiles can help keep things organized. You can have separate profiles for work and personal use, each with its own bookmarks, history, and extensions. This way, you can switch between profiles depending on
10. Turn sites into apps
Converting websites into independent desktop applications can significantly enhance efficiency, particularly for websites that function like apps, like Gmail, Google Keep, Notion, and Raindrop. Instead of dealing with the customary web browser distractions, these sites can be opened in separate windows that solely display their web content. Moreover, they can be added to the desktop, Start Menu, or taskbar for convenient access, and swiftly toggled using the Alt + Tab menu in Windows.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to transform any website into a desktop app:
- In Chrome: In the vertical “…” menu, click More Tools > Create Shortcut, then make sure Open as window is checked.
- In Microsoft Edge: In the “…” menu, click Apps > Install this site as an app.
- In Vivaldi: Right click any tab, select Create Shortcut, then check Open as Window.
11. Share tabs with a QR code
If you’re seeking a speedy method to send a website to your phone, simply click the Share icon located in the Chrome address bar. Alternatively, click on the address bar itself in Edge or Vivaldi. Afterward, click on the icon that resembles a set of four squares. Using your phone camera, scan the QR code displayed, and then click on the link that appears. (For other browsers, refer to the “Bookmarklets” section below.)
Although there are other ways to share tabs, such as Chrome’s “Send Tab” feature, I invariably gravitate towards QR codes due to their reliability and purposeful design.
12. Customize your browser with extensions
Browser extensions are add-ons that enhance your browser’s functionality. You can use extensions to block ads, take screenshots, manage your passwords, and much more. There are thousands of extensions available for all major browsers, so you’re sure to find something that suits your needs.
13. Use browser Bookmarklets
Bookmarklets are a convenient and efficient tool that enables users to execute complex actions with a single click directly from their browser’s bookmarks bar. Some widely used examples include:
- Clippable: This bookmarklet renders the current web page in a reader-friendly view.
- Kill Sticky Headers: With this bookmarklet, users can hide the annoying banners that scroll with them on a web page.
- The Printliminator: This bookmarklet hides specific parts of a web page to make it more printer-friendly.
- URL2QR: This bookmarklet helps users create a QR code for the current web page.
To use these bookmarklets, simply visit the links provided above and drag the corresponding button or link into your bookmarks bar. Once saved, you can execute the bookmarklet with just a single click. There are other useful bookmarklets available on the web, and you can also create custom search bookmarklets to search on sites like Amazon and YouTube with a single click.
14. Sort your extensions
If you have a plethora of browser extensions installed, it’s important to take a moment to determine which ones you want to appear beside your address bar. Typically, you’ll want to display extensions that require frequent interaction, such as your password manager or Camelizer, while hiding passive extensions like ad blockers and Modern for Wikipedia.
To manage your pinned extensions in most Chromium-based browsers, simply right-click on the puzzle-shaped extension icon and select the ones you want to see on the toolbar.
15. Add custom extension commands
For avid extension users, it can be beneficial to set up keyboard shortcuts to activate them. For example, you could assign Ctrl+Shift+Z to view your recently closed tabs in Tabbie, or Ctrl+Shift+F to extract text from images with Copyfish.
In Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers, navigate to the extensions menu, click on the sidebar, and select “Extension Shortcuts.” Here, you’ll find a list of compatible extensions, along with the option to assign a shortcut to each one. Firefox users can go to “Add-ons and Themes,” click the gear icon, and select “Manage Extension Shortcuts.“
16. Change up your new tab page
The default new tab pages on most web browsers are either incredibly dull (like the one on Google Chrome) or overloaded with unwanted clutter (like the one on Microsoft Edge). To switch things up, consider installing an alternative new tab extension instead.
By installing an alternative new tab extension, you can customize your new tab page to your liking and get quick access to your favorite bookmarks, frequently visited sites, or useful information like the weather or news. So why settle for a boring or cluttered new tab page when you can have one that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing?
17. Use picture-in-picture
Firefox and Safari both provide a convenient picture-in-picture mode that keeps your video playing in a small preview window. To activate the picture-in-picture mode on Firefox, simply click on the small icon that appears next to any video. With Firefox, you can even open multiple picture-in-picture windows at once. On Safari, right-click on the speaker icon in the address bar and select “Enter Picture in Picture.“
However, in Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers, you will need to install Google’s Picture-in-Picture extension. Once installed, you can enter the picture-in-picture mode by clicking on the extension icon or hitting Alt + P while a video is playing.
With the picture-in-picture mode, you can watch your favorite videos while still having access to your other browser tabs and windows. It’s a great way to multitask without missing out on any important video content.