Netscape Power User Workshop

  1. Download latest version of Netscape. In the Menu Bar select "Help | Software Updates". There are several different versions of the software available. Read the descriptions to pick the appropriate version for your use.

  2. Organizing Bookmarks. From the menu bar select "Bookmarks | Edit Bookmarks". From this window you can drag bookmarks to move them. Insert Folders to group similar bookmarks together (these may be nested). From the menu bar select "Edit | Find" to search for a bookmark. Make several bookmarks, and them rearrange them. Create a folder and move a bookmark into the folder. If you select a bookmark then "Edit | Bookmark Properties", you can change the description for the bookmark and add comments.

  3. Navigating
    1. Frames. Frames can cause some confusion for navigating and printing. To print a frame, select the frame you want by clicking somewhere in the frame and then print. Be aware that if a frame is not properly designed they can nest within each other. To avoid this, determine the URL for the document of interest and enter it in the location bar. Here is an example of a web page that uses frames.

    2. Multiple Windows. Some HTML documents will open an additional Netscape browser Window. When this occurs, the back button will not return you to the previous Window. Return to the previous location by closing the new Window. It looks like this. The feature is generally not useful and it usually is caused by a mistake in HTML coding.

  4. Save. This allows you to save information from the Web on your hard drive.
    1. HTML. You may save an HTML document on your hard drive by selecting "File | Save As" from the menu bar. This will only save the HTML code, not any embedded graphics. When you save a file, be careful to note where the file is saved.
    2. Images. To save an image right click on the image and select "Save Image as".
    3. Files. You can open non-HTML files in Netscape. Sometimes this will work automatically, other times you must setup Netscape to do this for you. You may also save any file that is linked by right clicking on the link and then selecting "Save Link As".

  5. Installing Plug-ins and Helper applications. Plug-ins and helper applications greatly extend Netscape's capabilities. They allow Netscape to use almost any type of file. For more information about installing Plugins see Helper applications for this site. You can also get more information about Plugins from Netscape. To learn how to use these, I suggest installing Acrobat and/or Quicktime. To see what plug-ins are installed click on "Help|About Plug-ins".
    1. Acrobat Download, Test Document

    2. Quicktime Download, Test Document

    3. Shockwave, Test Document

  6. Opening files from CD-ROM or disk. Netscape can open files from a local disk drive, CD-ROM, or Network. From the Menu bar select "File | Open Page" and select the appropriate file type. After you have installed one of the helper applications, borrow a CD-ROM and try this out. Or go to the Network Neighborhood and find something.

  7. Configuring and using the Cache. When Netscape downloads any document, it saves a copy of the HTML, JPEG, and GIF files on the computer. This feature speeds up browsing when you return to a previous page. This memory is used as a stack. The most recent document goes in and when the allocated space is full, the oldest document is removed. The Cache is stored in memory (RAM) or on disk (Hard drive). The most recent files are stored in the RAM cache since this is faster. You may adjust the size of the cache to change the performance of your system. If you have the RAM or hard disk space available, increasing the cache will increase the number of documents stored in the cache. Understanding how this feature works is very useful. The settings are available from the Menu bar "View | Preferences | Advanced | Cache". The dialog box is shown below:

    The three options are listed below. You can always verify the document (check to see if it has been updated) by pressing the "Reload" button. "Shift-Reload" forces Navigator to download the document again (even if it has not been updated).

    1. Once Per Session. This is the default setting. The cache is cleared when you exit Netscape. When you restart Netscape it loads any document from the network the first time. After the document is loaded in the cache, if you return to that page Netscape loads the document from the cache. Once the cache is filled, the oldest document is removed to make room for the next file. You can force Netscape to load a document from the network (instead of the cache) by pressing the "Reload" button.

    2. Every Time. This setting forces Netscape to always load the document from the network. With this setting the cache is disabled. This is useful if you are designing a web page and would like to see any changes. You can force Netscape to load a document from the network (instead of the cache) by pressing the "Reload" button.

    3. Never. With this setting Netscape will always load a document from the cache if it has been saved. Documents will only be loaded from the network if they are not stored in the cache. This is very useful for presentations. You can go through the web pages that you will be using to store them in the cache. Set "Verify Documents" to Never. And then Netscape will load any of those documents from the cache. This saves download time during lecture and it even makes it possible to run a presentation without the network connection.

  8. Appearance. There are several preferences that determine how Netscape displays documents. This is set in "Edit | Preferences | Appearance".
    1. Startup. This specifies what Netscape does when you start the program. You want it to launch the browser. If you can use Netscape e-mail, you might want to include this when the program starts.

    2. Toolbar. This determines how the toolbar buttons are displayed. I recommend switching this to text. This increases the amount of space available for the browser window. (In addition, the pictures are usually confusing)

    3. Fonts. Click on the + symbol next to "appearance", this will expand the menu so that you can select "Fonts". You can specify both the font type and size of displayed text. Select your favorite font (I prefer Times New Roman) and adjust the size to make it easy for you to read. For projecting in classroom, you may want to increase the font size to 14 or 16 point. Also a "San-Serif" font (like Arial) may display better on a projector.

    4. Colors. Click on the + symbol next to "appearance", this will expand the menu so that you can select "Fonts". You can specify the colors for text and the background. For display in a classroom, you get the best contrast and the brightest image by using black text on a white background. I think this works better than the Netscape default of black on gray. If you get tired of viewing web sites where the author has selected orange text on a yellow background or any other combination that offends your fashion sense, you can set Netscape to always use the color combinations you like by selecting "Always use my colors". From this dialog box you can also specify if links in a document are underlined, and how long Netscape remembers if you have visited a link (which it turns purple).

  9. Navigator "Edit | Preferences | Navigator". Here you can specify if the browser starts with a blank page or a "home page". You can change the location of the home page by entering any URL in the space provided. This means that you don't have to wait to download the "Netscape home page" every time you start the program.

  10. Telnet. Telnet is a "protocol" for computers to interact over the internet. It is most commonly used to log into a "server" computer like muse or widcat (the library card catalog). I recommend downloading and installing a telnet application called Teraterm. There are many others available, but this one is free and it works well. You can download teraterm from Tucows (a shareware/freeware archive that includes many other useful programs. Check to see if Netscape is configured to work with "Telnet". Try out the Widener University library card catalog.

    Login as: dialpub
    Enter a terminal type: ?
    Enter a terminal type or number: 25

    NOTE: If you are using a different telnet program, you should test the terminal emulation to see if it works correctly. If it does not work correctly, try one of the other terminal types. VT-100 or some variation on this is probably the most common.

    Now you should have a "Library Hours" Screen.
    Choose a command: so
    From the "Directory of Online Resources" Screen.
    Now you are at the regular card catalog screen.

  11. View. This allows you to "view" or "hide" different toolbars. Since some of these features are redundant and take up screen space, it is useful to turn some of them off if you do not use them.

  12. Java. Java is a programming language that is used to include programs inside a web page. These are usually called java applets. To use java, you must have a java ready browser. The Windows 95 version of Netscape includes Java. For Windows 3.1 users, there is a beta version of Netscape that will work with Java (although I have not gotten it to work). If your browser supports java, here is a sample that demonstrates some of what it will allow. This is just a simple little program, but with Java it may be distributed over the web. Gas Law .

  13. Javascript. Javascript is not the same as a Java applet. Javascript is a relatively simple programming language that is used to produce web pages with limited interactive features. Javascript may be used with the most recent versions of Netscape (both Windows 95 and Windows 3.1). A few examples that demonstrate some of the potential include a Drill and Practice with significant figures. and a Scientific Calculator.

  14. Mail. Netscape may be used for e-mail with a pop or an IMAP mail server. Both of these mail standards are available on Muse and other servers on campus. This provides an easy to use windows interface for e-mail. To configure this go to "Edit | Preferences | Mail and Groups" To get to the submenues click on the + symbol:
    1. Display quoted text. This is a standard format for e-mail where any quote from a previous message begins each line with a > symbol.

    2. Identity. This is where you specify who you are, what your e-mail address is, and who you work for. One nice feature here is the addition of a "signature file". This is simply a short text file that is added to every e-mail message. Typically this would include your name, address, phone, and e-mail. Some people get very creative with this. You can create the file in any wordprocessor and simply save it as ASCII text. Another feature that is available here is the "Address Card". DON'T do this. It attaches an extra file to your message that gives the same information as the signature file, but it clutters up the hard disk of the recipient. It is a silly gimmick that Netscape added in an effort to irritate people.

    3. Messages. This specifies how your messages are sent. Options include:
      1. HTML messages. These will display as garbage for anyone who is not using Netscape for their mail. If your recipient is using Netscape mail, it lets you include more formatting than is possible in regular e-mail. But for most recipients, they will see a bunch of garbage and think you are a pest.
      2. Quote original message when replying. This is good form, it helps someone remember what they were talking about. However, it is not necessary to quote the entire message. Cut out any extraneous information. Just quote enough to set the context for your reply.
      3. Wrap long lines. This is important for many old e-mail systems. You should "wrap" text lines so that they will display properly. The default setting of 72 should be fine.
      4. Copies of outgoing messages. This is an easy way to e-mail a copy of all your correspondence to another e-mail address.
      5. Copy messages to a folder. This places a copy of your sent messages in a directory on your computer.

    4. Mail Server. This is where you specify your login ID, the server to load your mail from, and how to access that server. Under "More" you can set the directory to save your mail, you can set Netscape to automatically download your mail at a set interval, you can set netscape to remember your e-mail password, and you can set netscape to work with other software. The MAPI protocol lets you e-mail a file directly from another program. For example you can send a Word document as an e-mail attachment directly from Word.

  15. Composer "Edit | Preferences | Composer".To get to the submenues click on the + symbol:
    1. Author Name. You.

    2. Automatically Save. This automatically saves the file you are working on at a regular interval. This is a VERY good idea.

    3. External Editors. These are programs for editing the raw HTML and raw images. I would recommend using Notepad or Write as HTML editors (both are included with Windows) and LView (available from the internet) as the image editor.

    4. Font Size Mode. I suggest using the Relative HTML font scale. This is the most widely used method.

    5. Under the subheading "Publishing"
      1. Maintain Links. This sets the links to work when they are moved to the server. For more details look under "relative links" in the help menu.
      2. Keep Images with Page. The image files are separate from the web page, this checks that the image file is not left behind.
      3. Publishing location. This is the URL for transferring web pages to the server. Details will vary for each server. Two addresses are required, one for transferring files (ftp://) and one for viewing files (http://). The link will look something like: ""

  16. Help. Don't forget to look here for useful information. It really is pretty good.

This page is maintained by
Scott Van Bramer
Department of Chemistry
Widener University
Chester, PA 19013

Please send any comments, corrections, or suggestions to

This page has been accessed 6392 times since 5/10/97.
Last Updated 5/11/97