The Internet For Dummies
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Over the last 20 years, surfing the internet, browsing the web, emailing, and online chat have become part of everyday life. Here are pointers for browsing the web, signing up for email, and understanding what people are saying once you are online.

Web browsing basics

The web is the public face of the internet, with billions of web pages you can read about everything from comics to news to medical information to TV shows. Here are the basic moves to make when you browse the web:

  • Go directly to a website: Type an address into the Address box and press Enter. (You can leave off the http://. Most, of the time, you can leave off the www., too.) Press F6 to move the cursor into the Address box.

  • Return to the previous page: Click the Back button or press Alt+←.

  • Reload the current page: Press Ctrl+R (Cmd+R on a Mac) or click Reload or Refresh.

  • Open a new tab in the browser window: Press Ctrl+T (Cmd+T on a Mac). Or, Ctrl+click (Cmd+click) a link to open it in a new tab.

  • Close the current tab: Press Ctrl+W (Cmd+W on a Mac).

  • Display the next tab: Press Ctrl+Tab (Cmd+Shift+→ on a Mac).

  • Open a new browser window: Press Ctrl+N (Cmd+N on a Mac).

  • Save an image on a web page: Right-click the image (Cmd+click on a Mac) and choose Save Image As or Save Picture As.

  • Print the web page: Press Ctrl+P (Cmd+P on a Mac).

  • Add the current page to your bookmarks or favorites: Press Ctrl+D (Cmd+D on a Mac).

Must-have web browser plug-ins

Plug-ins are small software programs that you install on your computer to view or play some applications on the Web. Here are the most common browser plug-ins you’ll probably need:

  • QuickTime: Plays video files as you download them

  • Adobe Acrobat: Displays Acrobat files formatted exactly the way the author intended

Web-based email

Don’t use the email mailbox that comes with your internet connection, because if you change internet providers you’ll lose your email address. Instead, sign up for a free mailbox with one of these webmail services:

  • Gmail is Google’s mail service. You also get a free Google ID that you can use for an online calendar and other services.

  • Yahoo Mail also gives you access to Yahoo’s other services, like their Flickr photo-sharing site.

  • is Microsoft’s mail site. You can use your Microsoft account for other services, like OneDrive, where you can store files online.

Online abbreviations

As you browse the internet, you have probably come across some abbreviations. What are all these abbreviations people are dropping into email and chat? Here are some of the most common:

  • AFAIK: As far as I know

  • BTW: By the way

  • DR: Didn’t read — write something shorter next time

  • FWIW: For what it’s worth

  • IANAL: I am not a lawyer, (but. . . .)

  • IMHO: In my humble opinion

  • LOL: Laugh out loud (not lots of love)

  • ROTFL: Rolling on the floor laughing (or ROFL)

  • RSN: Real soon now (that is, any time in the next century)

  • RTFM: Read the manual — you could have and should have looked it up yourself

  • TIA: Thanks in advance

  • TL;DR: Too long; didn’t read — write something shorter next time

  • YMMV: Your mileage may vary

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

John R. Levine is a recognized technology expert and consumer advocate who works against online fraud and email spam. Margaret Levine Young is a technology author who has written on topics ranging from the Internet to Windows to Access.

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