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#39-Managing your Bookmarks and Favorites

May 06, 2004

LTA Overview

It happens everyday. Maybe you are looking for some exciting tidbits to add to your afternoon lecture or you’re researching a subject for a paper. As you wade through the multitudes of websites, you find a few here and there that you think you would like to go back to. Click! Add that one to your list of Bookmarks. Click, click, click. The next thing you know, you have hundreds of websites clogging your Bookmarks folder and it takes as much time to sort through them all as it does to track down them down again! This week’s LTA will show you how to manage your Bookmarks (Netscape) or your Favorites (Internet Explorer) so that they are easy to use and sort through.

LTA Credits

Nancy Bowers
Instructional Design and Technology Solutions 66 Birch Dr.
Potsdam, NY 13676
315-566-9151
nbowers@twcny.rr.com

 

If you are unfamiliar with what a bookmark or favorite is, take a moment to look at the menu bar in your browser. In Netscape, you should see the word “Bookmark” in the menu bar. In Internet Explorer, there should be “Favorites.” When you find a website that you think you may want to revisit, you can “Bookmark This Page” or “Add to Favorites.” The URL (web address) for that site will be saved, allowing you to revisit it without having to remember the URL!

There are a number of different features of Bookmarks and Favorites, but this LTA will focus on two that I find most beneficial:

  • Organization of Bookmarks and Favorites using folders and subfolders.
  • Quick access to most frequently visited sites via a customized menu bar or a keystroke shortcut.

The steps involved are slightly different between Netscape and Internet Explorer, so you will find two sets of instructions; one for Netscape 7.02 and one for Internet Explorer 6.0. Choose your favorite or become fluent in both! The instructions are for Windows users, although the processes are similar on the Macintosh OS.

LTA Level

This LTA is geared towards the novice computer user as well as anyone who has never had the time to figure out the nuances of Bookmarks and Favorites. If you are able to browse the Internet, you should be able to understand and complete the tasks included in this LTA. You will need access to the Internet and have either Netscape or Internet Explorer installed on your computer. You should be familiar with how to bookmark a website and if possible, already have a number of accumulated websites to work with. The instructions are detailed and have a large number of screen shots, so they may appear rather long!

LTA Outcomes

If your Bookmarks and Favorites look as disorganized as those shown to the right, than this LTA is for you! We will take an unmanaged list of webpage links and convert it into a useful resource.

After completing this LTA, users should be able to:

  1. Develop an organizational scheme for their Bookmarks or Favorites.
  2. Create folders and move Bookmarks or Favorites into them.
  3. Remove unneeded icons or links from their browser’s menu bar.
  4. Add several popular websites onto their menu bar for quick access.
  5. Set up keyboard short cuts for their most popular websites.
Netscape15

Summary of LTA Procedures

Below is a summary of steps that this LTA will address. Users should already know how to add a Bookmark or a Favorite. Each procedure is presented for either Netscape 7.02 or Internet Explorer 6.0. You may go directly to the instructions (go to Internet Explorer Instructions or go to NetScape Instructions) or go to the ones you are most interested in by clicking on the links below.

Instructions for Internet Explorer

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Create folders and subfolders

    Ie14

  1. Click on Favorites in your menu bar. A list of your current Favorites should appear. You may also already have a couple of folders (e.g., Dell, Links).
    Click on Organize Favorites… to continue.
  2. In the dialogue box that appears, click on Create Folder. Enter a title for your folder (e.g., “Ancient DNA”). Create a couple more folders. I’ll create one for “Biol 101” one more for “Distance Learning”.
    Ie15
  3. Ie16 As you create new folders, they may be added to the bottom of the list as shown at the right. To move folders, click on them one at a time and drag them to where you want.
  4. Ie17 I like my folders to all be located at the top of the list. To the right is what my list of folders now looks like after dragging them all to the top.


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Move Favorites into folders

  1. To move Favorites into the appropriate folders:
    1. Click on the Favorite that you would like to move. You will only be able to move one Favorite at a time.
    2. Click on the Move to Folder… button
    3. Click on the name of the folder you would like to move the Favorite into. In the example, I moved the McGraw-Hill favorite to my Biol 101 folder

    Alternatively, you can click on a Favorite and drag it to the appropriate folder. Continue the process until you have moved all of your Favorites into folders.

    Ie18
  2. Notice the small triangle to the right of the folders when you click on Favorites in your menu bar. This indicates that the folder contains at least one Favorite.
    Ie19
  3. If you have a folder that contains a large number of Favorites, you may want to add subfolders. To add a subfolder, click on Favorites in the menu bar and then Organize Favorites…. Click on the folder to which you would like to add a subfolder (e.g., Biol 101). Finally, click on Create Folder. This will add a new folder within Biol 101:
    Ie20

    You can continue this hierarchical structuring for as deep as you would like. Move your Favorites into the subfolders as described above.

  4. As you add more Favorites, you will need to periodically Organize Favorites… You will need to move new Favorites to the appropriate folders and perhaps even add new folders.


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Remove extraneous menu bar items

When you first install browser software, the program’s menu bar is usually cluttered with a number of extraneous icons and links that most of us never have time to use (e.g., Media, History, Mail, Discussion). So the first step in personalizing your menu bar is to get rid of any links that you don’t use.

  1. Examine your browser’s menu bar and determine which links you would like to remove. In the example below, I want to remove Media, History, Mail, Word, Discuss, and Chat. I also want to remove the bottom set of links (mywebsearch, Smiley Central, Cursor Mania, My Info and Games):
    Ie1-1
  2. Click on View in the menu bar and then Toolbars.
  3. Ie2 We’ll start with removing the mywebsearch tool bar. Simply click on the My Web Search title. This will “uncheck” that selection and the entire bottom row of links will be removed!
  4. Ie3Now click on Customize…
  5. The next window will allow you to choose the items displayed on the menu bar. Click on an item to select it (e.g., Media, History, Mail) and then click on the Remove button. Note that you may return to this dialogue box at any time and re-add any of the items that you remove. When you are finished, click on Close.
    Ie4
  6. Below is how our cleaned up menu bar now looks!
    Ie5


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Move the Favorites into your Links folder

Now that you have a little more room on your menu bar, let’s go ahead and add links to some of the webpages that you access everyday so that they are in a location that is easy to access. Examples of these sorts of websites include:

  • Web-based calendar
  • Web mail
  • University homepage or portal
  • WebCT (or Blackboard)
  • News services
  • ESPN
  • Weather
  1. Be sure that you already have Favorites to each of the sites you want to use. Click on Favorites in your menu bar.
  2. In the menu that appears, click on Organize Favorites…
  3. You should see a Links folder listed. If it is not at the top, you may need to scroll down and find it. There may be some other folders at the top of the list as well that you did not add, such as the Dell one shown at the right. I suggest you delete it if you don’t need it. Click on the name of the folder and then click on the Delete button.
    Ie21
  4. Click on the Links folder. If it is not empty, remove any of the Favorites that you do not want by clicking on them once to select and then on the Delete button.
  5. Ie22 I am going to move five Favorites into my Links folder. I will click on each one and then move them by either using the Move to Folder button or dragging them into the Links folder.
  6. Ie23B One more piece of house keeping before we finish. Notice that two of the titles of our Favorites are rather long and/or do not reflect what they link to (iPlanet Messenger Express and Login: Sun[tm] ONE Calendar Express). The title of the Favorite is what will appear in our menu bar when we are done, so it is a good idea to shorten these titles.Use your mouse to right click on the link name (e.g., iPlanet Messenger Express). In the menu that appears, click on Rename and enter a new, shorter name. For example, Webmail. I will also rename the Login: Sun… link to My Calendar.
  7. Close the Organize Favorites dialogue box and examine your menu bar. At the far right, next to the URL address window, you should see the word “Links” with » next to it. If you click on the » symbol, the Favorites that we just put in your Links folder should be available.
    Ie23C

    Notice the vertical row of dots (indicated with an arrow). If you click on these dots, you can “pull out” your list of Favorites so that they appear next to the URL window. This is OK if you only have a few links, but our next step is to actually move our links to their own level on our menu bar so that more of them can fit.

  8. If you do not see the vertical row of dots next to Links, it may be that your Toolbar is “locked”. To unlock your Toolbar, click on View in your menu bar, and then Toolbar. Be sure that there is no check mark next to Lock the Toolbars. Note that once you configure your menu bar, you will want to return to this menu and re-check the Lock the Toolbars option.
    Ie23D
  9. Links and hold down the left mouse button. Drag the Links downward, so that a new row is formed in your menu bar. Release the mouse button. You should now have a row of readily accessible links to the websites that you visit most frequently! And, the rest of menu bar should be uncluttered. Enjoy!
    Ie23E


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Create keyboard shortcuts for most frequently used bookmarks

A keyboard shortcut will allow you to access any website using a combination of keystrokes. Technically, this is not a browser-based feature, rather it is a Windows feature that you can create through Internet Explorer. When you turn on your computer, before you even open any programs, you can execute a keyboard shortcut that will open your browser to a particular website. Here are the instructions for setting a keyboard short cut for a webpage:

  1. Click on Favorites in your menu bar and then click on Organize Favorites…
  2. Click on the folder that contains the website that you would like to create a shortcut for. In this example, we will create a short cut for our Webmail site. Click on the Links folder to open it.
  3. Ie23-1 Right click on the title of the Favorite (e.g., Webmail), and in the menu that appears, click on Properties.
  4. Be sure that the Web Document tab is chosen. In the box next to Shortcut key, you should see the word “none”. Click in the box next to “none” and type the letter that you would like to use as your shortcut. In this example, I chose the letter “w“.Note that in the Shortcut key box, you see Ctrl+Alt+W. This means that in order to access the Webmail site, you would need to hold down the Ctrl key, the Alt key and the “w” all at the same time.
    Ie24

    Click OK when you are done.

One caveat on the procedure described above! The keyboard shortcuts that you establish will open your webpages in your default web browser. What this means, is that if Netscape is your default browser, then whenever you click on Ctrl+Alt+W, the Webmail site will open in Netscape, NOT in Internet Explorer.


Instructions for NetScape

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Create folders and subfolders

  1. Open Netscape and click on Bookmarks in your menu bar.
    Netscape1
  2. Click on Manage Bookmarks… Your entire list of bookmarks will be displayed. Determine how you want to organize them. I like to organize based subject, and when necessary, create subfolders within a given subject.
    Netscape2
  3. Click on New Folder in the menu bar and enter a title for your folder (e.g., “Ancient DNA”). Create a couple more folders. I’ll create one for “Biol 101” one more for “Distance Learning.”
    Net3
  4. Net4If your new folders are showing up in various places, rather than at the top of the list, it may be that your bookmarks are being sorted alphabetically. Click on View in the menu and be sure that Unsorted is selected for now. If necessary, you can click on a folder and drag it where you would like it.


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Move Bookmarks into folders

  1. Click on a Bookmark that you would like to move. If you hold down the Ctl key while you click, you may select as many as you like. I will select all of the ones that pertain to Ancient DNA first.
  2. With the bookmark(s) selected, click and drag them into the appropriate folder.
    Net5
  3. Net6 Repeat these steps for your other bookmarks and distribute them into the appropriate folders. As Boomarks get added to folders, notice the small triangle next to the folders. Clicking on triangle will collapse or expand the listing of bookmarks within it. You can reduce your hundreds of bookmarks to a dozen or so folders.In the example to the right, I have added two subfolders into the Ancient DNA folder: Labs and Papers. Let’s add some subfolders to the Biology 101 folder.
  4. Net7 Click on New Folder in the menu bar and enter a title. The folder that you create can be dragged into the main folder (e.g., Biol 101). At the right is the organizational structure for my Biol 101 links. This makes it very easy for me to find what I am looking for. You can continue this hierarchical structuring as deep as you would like.
  5. As you add more Bookmarks, you will need to periodically Manage Bookmarks, moving new Bookmarks to the appropriate folders and perhaps even adding new folders.


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Remove extraneous menu bar items

When you first install browser software, the menu bar may be cluttered with a number of extraneous icons and links (e.g., Radio, Mail, Chat). I do not like to have any more things to look at than absolutely necessary, so the first step in personalizing your menu bar is to get rid of any links that you don’t use.

  1. Examine your browser’s menu bar and determine which links you would like to remove. In the example below, I will remove Mail, AIM, Radio, My Netscape and Search.
    Netscape1A
  2. Netscape11 Click on Edit in the menu bar and then Preferences.
  3. Navigator should be highlighted on the left. If not, click on it and the dialogue box below should appear. At the bottom of the window, uncheck any of the items that you do not want displayed on the menu bar. Click on OK when done.
    Netscape12


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Add customized items to menu bar

Now that you have a little more room on your menu bar, let’s go ahead and add links to some of the webpages that you access everyday so that they are in a location that is easy to access. Examples include:

  • Web-based calendar
  • Web mail
  • University homepage or portal
  • WebCT (or Blackboard)
  • News services
  • ESPN
  • Weather
  1. Be sure that you already have Bookmarks to each of the sites you want to use. Click on Bookmarks in your menu bar.
    Netscape1
  2. In the menu that appears, click on Manage Bookmarks…
    Netscape2
  3. Netscape5 There should be a Personal Toolbar Folder listed. If it is not at the top, you may need to scroll down and find it. There may be other folders at the top of the list as well that you did not add, such as:
    • Search and Directory
    • Best of the Web
    • Inside Netscape

    I suggest you delete them if you don’t use them. Click on the name of each of the folders and then click on Delete in the menu bar.

  4. If the Personal Toolbar Folder is not empty, click on the arrow next to it to expand the listing. Remove any of the bookmarks there that you do not want, by clicking on them once to select and then on Delete in the menu bar.
  5. I will add four Bookmarks to my Personal Toolbar Folder. To do that, I will click on the first one, hold down the Ctl key, and click on the remainder. Then drag them into the Personal Toolbar Folder.
    Netscape4
  6. One more piece of house keeping before we finish. Notice two of the titles of our Bookmarks are rather long and/or do not reflect what they link to (login: Sun[tm] ONE Calendar Express and iPlanet messenger Express). The name of the bookmark is what will appear in our menu bar when we are done, so it is a good idea to keep them short. Right click on thelink name (e.g., Login: Sun…). In the menu that appears, click on Properties.
    Netscape8
  7. Delete the current Bookmark name and enter a new, more descriptive and shorter name. Click OK when you are finished. Repeat these steps for any other Bookmarks that need to be renamed.
    Netscape9
  8. Close the Manage Bookmarks window by clicking on the red “x” in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Examine your new menu bar. Instead of being cluttered with links to things you never use, you should now have easy access to websites yhou use more frequently. Go ahead, click on one and see how easy it is!
    Netscape14

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