Do you have different tasks that need different sets of web pages to be opened regularly?

chrome logo - 2An example might be that you buy items of a particular type online from the same few sources – eg John Lewis, Amazon, Argos, Currys. Quite separately from these websites, you may have other tasks that require a completely different set of websites to be open – eg, you might start the day by checking the weather, local news, and local traffic reports.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could open and close these sets of websites with single commands? You can, and it’s easy.

  • Start by opening all the websites (in different tabs) that you want to put together as a single group
  • Close any open web pages that you don’t want to be in the group
  • Click on the three dots at the top right of the Chrome window
  • Click on “Bookmarks”
  • Click on “Bookmark all tabs”
  • Give the new folder a name
  • Click on a folder (if any) within which this group of tabs will be saved
  • Click on “Save”
Chrome - bookmark all tabs

Click on the three dots, then on “Bookmarks”, and then on “Bookmark all tabs”

To open all of the web pages in a group at once:

  • Click on the three dots at the top right of the screen
  • Click on “Bookmarks”
  • Find the folder containing the saved tabs
  • Right-click on the folder
  • Click on “Open all (x)”, where “x” is the number of pages in the saved group

In Chrome, you can’t close ALL tabs at once, but you can close the current tab, all tabs except the current tab, or all tabs to the right of the current tab. Just right-click on the name of a tab and choose the option you need from the bottom of the context menu that has just opened.

Alternatively, there is an extension from the Chrome Web Store called “Close All Tabs” that places a white cross in a red circle to the right of the address bar. Click on this to close all tabs before opening a different group.

By the way, you can change Chrome’s behaviour so that it opens with either a predefined set of tabs or the tabs that were open at the time the browser was last closed. To define your choice:

  • Click on the three dots (top right)
  • Click on “Settings”
  • Scroll down until you find the settings headed “On start-up”
  • Make your choice, entering the addresses of the websites if applicable

The Bookmarks Bar

Chrome bookmarks bar

The line beginning “Clear data” is the Chrome bookmarks bar

The “Bookmarks bar” is a very useful place to put your most often-used bookmarks. If you can’t see the bookmarks bar (which will be directly below the address bar when it is visible):

  • Click on the three dots (top right)
  • Click on “Bookmarks”
  • Click on “Show bookmarks bar”

Note that you can place folders of bookmarks (such as the folders we created above) on the bookmarks bar as well as individual bookmarks. You can then open all items in a folder by right-clicking as explained above.

It’s also worth noting that if you right-click on any item on the bookmarks bar and then left-click on “edit”, you can shorten the name of the item so as to get more items visible on the bookmarks bar. You can even remove the name of an item altogether so that it is only identified by its icon. I have done this in the illustration, with my “DL” icon representing a shortcut to my own website.

If you have placed more items on the bookmarks bar than there is room for, there will be two chevrons directly beneath the three dots (top right of window). Clicking on the chevrons will reveal the items that don’t fit on the bar.

The most popular website browser isn’t always obvious in how it works

ChromeAccording to Statista, Chrome had 69% of the browser market in September 2019. Most people find it fast and secure. However, there are some basics that some people miss. This is possibly because Google attempts to keep Chrome looking as “clean” and uncluttered as possible.

Here are a few of the most common things that my IT Support clients ask me about:

Where’s the http or https indication?

Chrome doesn’t display the first parts of a website address – eg “http://www.” or “https://www.” – in the website address bar. We can take the “www” bit as read. We don’t need to see it. Some people, though, are concerned that they can’t see whether their connection to the website is encrypted (indicated by an “s” after “http”). Encryption is essential if highly confidential and/or financial information is passing between the user and the website. Chrome does show the information, but not in the address itself . If a site is “secure”, then a padlock appears to the left of the website address. If a site is not secure then the text “not secure” appears instead. If you really do wish to see the “http(s)//www.” bit, just double-click somewhere in the address bar and it will be revealed.

How do I create a favourite (ie a “bookmark”) from a website?

BookmarkAt the righthand edge of the address bar is a star. This will be a grey outline if the page has not been bookmarked, or a solid blue if it has been. To create a bookmark of the webpage indicated in the address bar:

  • Click on the star
  • Change the name, if desired (shorter names, or no name at all, mean that more items will be visible in the Bookmarks Bar)
  • Click the downward arrow next to “folder” to choose where to save the bookmark. The folders mentioned here are bookmarks folders and not the folders shown in File Explorer. Note that there is an option for “bookmarks toolbar”. This is a row of saved bookmarks appearing on the line below the address bar, for very quick access

How do I see the “Favorites bar” (ie the “Bookmarks” bar)

If you can not see the bookmarks bar:

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top right of the browser window
  • Hover over the “bookmarks” option
  • Click on the “Show bookmarks bar” option (a tick will appear next to this option if the bar is already displayed)

HobnobsHow do I clear my browing history and cookies?

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top right of the browser window
  • Hover over the “more tools” option
  • Click on “clear browsing data”
  • Choose the time range and the specific items you wish to delete
  • Click on “clear data”

How do I change my “home page”

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top right of the browser window
  • Hover over the “settings” option
  • In the “Appearance” section, set your home page below where it says “Show Home Button”. The home button is a small icon of a house that, when displayed, shows near the address bar and gives a method of quickly taking you back to your home page

By the way, according to the same Statista analysis, the market shares of all the major browsers in September 2019 were:

Chrome – 69.08%
Firefox – 9.54%
Safari – 7.41%
Internet Explorer – 4.99%
Edge – 4.71%
Opera – 2.40%
Others – 1.87%

Another “by the way” is that Chrome can be a bit of a monster when it comes to hogging your memory. If you tend to have lots of Chrome tabs open at the same tab and your computer slows down, it might well be worth closing some of those tabs. Keep the number of Chrome tabs in single figures, if possible.

Want to move to a different browser?

Favorites folderYou may have thought of trying a different browser, but can’t face the thought of starting afresh with your collection of internet favorites (known as bookmarks in some browsers). Well, don’t let that stop you. It’s fairly easy to copy your favorites from one browser to another (technically, we are “importing” rather than “copying”, but that’s splitting hairs).

So, just look down to find the section relating to the browser you wish to start using, and follow the instructions. As usual with my blog posts of this kind, the instructions relate to the latest versions of the browsers.

Chrome

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top righthand corner of the browser
  • Click on “bookmarks”
  • Click on “import bookmarks and settings”
  • If Firefox isn’t the browser from which you are copying bookmarks, click on the triangle next to it and choose either Edge or Internet Explorer instead. The last option in the list (“Bookmarks HTML file”) is for when you are transferring Chrome bookmarks between computers
  • Uncheck any items that you con’t wish to copy from your previous browser
  • Click on “Import”
  • If you have your previous browser open, then close it now and then click “Continue”

After the importing has been completed, you can see where Chrome has put your bookmarks and move move them around using the Bookmarks Manager:

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top righthand corner of the browser
  • Click on “bookmarks”
  • Click on “bookmark manager”

BookmarkFirefox

  • Click on the icon of the clipboard (it has the tooltip “show your bookmarks”) that is next to the star that bookmarks the current page
  • Click on “show all bookmarks”
  • Click on “Import and Backup” at the top of the screen
  • Click on “Import Data from Another Browser”
  • Select the browser and click “Next”
  • De-select any items you do not wish to import
  • Click “Next”
  • Click “Finish” when you see the message “The following items were successfully imported: Favorites”

Firefox leaves you in the Bookmark Manager, so you can see the imported items (in a folder called, for instance, “From Intenet Explorer”) and move them around as desired.

Internet Explorer

  • Click on the “File” command
  • Click on “Import and Export”
  • Ensure that “Import from another browser” is selected
  • Click on “Next”
  • Select Safari or Chrome (note that Microsoft don’t give you the option to import from “Edge” (their other browser))
  • Click on “Import”
  • Click on “Finish”

To organise your favorites in Internet Explorer:

  • Click on the icon of the star (top right of browser)
  • Click on the triangle next to “Add to favorites”
  • Click on “organize favorites”

StarEdge

  • Click on the three horizontal dots (top right of browser)
  • Click on “Settings”
  • Click on “View favorites settings”
  • Select the browser from which to import the favorites (note that Microsoft are happy to give us the option to import from Internet Explorer to Edge, but not vice versa)
  • Click on “Import”

To organise your favorites in Edge:

  • Click on the icon with three unequal-length horizontal bars (apparently, this is called “the hub”)
  • In the popup, click on the favorites icon (the star)
  • You can now drag and drop favorites to move them around, or right-click to rename or delete

Safari (on a Mac)

  • Click on the “File” command
  • Click on “Import from” and then select the browser whose favorites/bookmarks you wish to copy
  • Untick “history” if you do not want to import it
  • Click on “import”

When I tried this, I found my “bookmarks” imported from Chrome were placed inside a bookmarks folder called “favorites” (accessible by clicking on the “bookmarks” command). No, I couldn’t figure that one out.

© 2011-2019 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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