Lesson 5   Using Navigation Tools

Note: This lesson assumes that you are still in the PBS Online web site (in a second browser window) and that you have surfed through some of the links.

       While surfing the web, you often want to return to a previous web page without having to reenter the URL or return to the beginning of your search. There are a variety of ways to do this.

Using the Back & Forward Buttons

       If you want to return to a web page you were at during your current surfing session, use the Back button on the Toolbar. This will take you to the last page you had open. If you continue to click on the Back button, you will go back to each page you viewed during your current session. The Forward button does the same thing, however, goes the other direction. Notice that when you get to the first page you visited, you can no longer go back, only forward. And, when you get to the last page you visited, you can no longer go forward, only back.

       Another method of going back and forward is to right-click on any blank area of the browser screen (Mac users - hold the mouse button down for a few seconds) and use the drop-down menu that appears.

Practice Exercise 1:
       Practice moving back and forward through the web pages you have open. Click on a hyperlink and then use the Back button to return to the previous page. When finished, leave your browser on a page OTHER THAN the PBS Online home page. The next lesson will show you a new way to get there.

Using the Go Menu

       Suppose you have clicked several links deep into a web site and want to return to one of the earlier sites. You could use the Back button repeatedly until you get back to your destination page, however, there is a much quicker method.

       Click on the Go menu on the Menu Bar. You will see a drop-down menu that shows a list of the pages you have viewed (opened) in your current session. (Note, however, that it only traces one path.)

       In Netscape, the most recent page (furthest forward) has the number "0" in front of it. The page you are currently on has a check mark beside it. The first page that you viewed will occur at the bottom of the list. To return to one of the pages on the list, click on it.


       In Internet Explorer, it is just the opposite, the highest number is the most recent page. The page you are currently on has a check mark beside it. The first page that you viewed will occur at the top of the list.

Internet Explorer

Note that in the newest version of IE (4.X), the list of previously visited sites is now in the File menu, not the Go menu. (Way to confuse us!!)

Practice Exercise 2:
       Click on one of the pages now. After returning to the page, open the Go menu again. The check mark should now be beside the page you selected from the list, but note that the list has not been reordered. Both browsers keep this list in the order you first viewed the pages in this session. Practice returning to several of the pages.

Note that the browsers follow only one path. If you jump back and forth along several "paths", your earlier paths will be gone from the Back, Forward, and Go options. For example, if you return to the PBS site in the Go list, and then go to a completely different site, say CNN (www.cnn.com), everything that was listed earlier than the PBS site in the Go list will no longer be there. You have started a new path. Try this.

       In the newest versions of the browsers (4.X), right clicking on the Back and Forward buttons will also give you this drop-down list. (Actually, you can also left-click and hold to get the same drop-down list.)

Using the History Option

       Another tool for returning to previously viewed pages is the History list. This list of URL's and related information (time and date visited, etc.) is automatically generated by the browser as you visit each site. To access your History, do one of the following:

NS 3.0XGo to Window (in the Menu Bar) -> History (or use Command + H for a Mac and Ctrl + H for a PC)
NS 4.0XGo to Communicator (in the Menu Bar) -> History (or use Command + H for a Mac and Ctrl + H for a PC)
IE 3.0XGo to Go (in the Menu Bar) -> Open History Folder (or use Command + H for a Mac and Ctrl + H for a PC)
IE 4.0XClick on the History button (in the Tool Bar). This will open a history frame to the left of your browser window.

Once you get to the History Window, you can double-click on any entry to go to that web site. In some versions, you can also sort the entries by clicking on any of the fields at the top of the list.

Teacher Note:  If you are concerned about where on the web your students have been during a session, you can go to the History list to check. You can set the number of days for which you would like to view the History list by doing the following: NS Communicator:  Communicator Menu -> History -> Edit -> Preferences
Internet Explorer:  View Menu -> Options -> Navigation

Assignment BB5 - Using Navigation Tools
  1. Go to the White House web site (http://www.whitehouse.gov) by using the Location Bar.
  2. Practice using the scroll bar, page up and down keys, and arrow keys to move around this page.
  3. Move your cursor around the page to find the hyperlinks. Then click on White House History and Tours.
  4. Spend some time going through some of the tours using the hyperlinks, Back and Forward buttons.
  5. After you have gone to several links, click on the Go menu and return to Welcome to the White House home page.
  6. Use the Go menu to return to the PBS Online site (if it is still there!).
  7. Use the History list to return to a previous site.
  8. Visit the following sites to practice the techniques that you have learned in this lesson:
    • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - http://www.rockhall.com
    • NASA Space Site - http://spacelink.nasa.gov
    • Bulfinch's Mythology - http://www.webcom.com/shownet/medea/bulfinch/welcome.html

Next: Lesson 6 - Bookmarking
Previous: Lesson 4 - Navigation within a Web Site
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