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How to Navigate with Safari's Toolbar Buttons

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When surfing from your Mac with OS X Mountain Lion, you need to be able to navigate the Safari window before you venture into the depths of the web. The toolbar buttons along the top of the Safari window do pretty much what their names imply. From left to right, these buttons are

  • Back/Forward: When you open a page and move to a second page (or third or fourth), the Back button takes you to a previously visited page. Remember that you need to go back before the Forward button will work.

  • iCloud: iCloud automatically displays all the open web pages on your other devices. So click this button to see pages you’ve opened on other Macs or your iDevice.

  • Share: When you find a page of interest or a page you know you’ll want to remember, click this button (which is actually a drop-down menu) to tell Safari to remember it for you in Mountain Lion’s cool Reading List or as a Bookmark. Or send a link to it via Mail or Messages.

To the right of the Share button is the Address field. This is where you type web addresses, or URLs (Uniform Resource Locators), that you want to visit. Just type one and press Return to surf to that site.

Then, on the right of the Address field, are two more buttons:

  • Reader: Reader lets you view stories and other articles in a window optimized for easy reading by stitching together articles that are continued over multiple web pages and broken up by ads, menu bars, and other items. Reader is only available for certain pages. When it’s available, the icon turns blue, as shown in the margin; otherwise it appears grayed out and can’t be clicked.

  • Downloads: Click this button to see a list of files you’ve downloaded in the past and ones currently being downloaded.

But wait — there’s more. To add other useful buttons to your toolbar, choose View→Customize Toolbar (or right-click anywhere in the toolbar and choose Customize Toolbar from the contextual menu). The Customize Toolbar sheet drops down, and you can drag items into or out of the toolbar to create your own custom set of buttons.

In the following figure, for example, these buttons were added to the toolbar: (left to right) Home, AutoFill, Zoom In/Out, New Tab, and Email (a link to the page).

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Web addresses almost always begin with http://www. But Safari has a cool trick: If you just type a name, you usually get to the appropriate website that way without typing http, ://, or www. If you type apple in the Address field and press Return, for example, you go to Apple's website. Try it — it’s pretty slick.

Below the Address field is the Bookmark Bar, already populated with some buttons of web pages Apple thinks you might enjoy, including Apple, Yahoo!, Google Maps, YouTube, and Wikipedia.

The News and Popular buttons are actually drop-down menus. You can tell by the little black triangles after their names.

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