The Toolbar

If you look at the top of your screen, you should see a row of "buttons" that looks like the graphic above. Clicking on these buttons causes your browser to perform various actions. (Please note that only the buttons at the top of your screen will do this. The buttons in the content area are only pictures of the toolbar.)

Back and Forward

The back and forward buttons have been compared to fingers turning the pages of a book. They allow you to look through documents you have just visited. You will use the back and forward buttons more than any other buttons on the toolbar. Memorize their position as quickly as possible!

The back button's function is fairly self-explanatory. Clicking on it with your mouse will take you to the document that you were last viewing. Clicking again takes you to the one before that and so on. When you first open your browser, you will notice that the back button is not in white, but in grey. This indicates that the back button is inactive since there are obviously no previous pages.

Similarly, the forward button takes you forward one page every time you click it. This only works if you have used the back button at least once already. Otherwise, the forward button appears grey. Unless you go back a page, you are in the last document visited and cannot go any further.

  • Try using the back and forward buttons a few times, then come back to this page.

The Home Button

The home button (shown as a house) is another useful tool. Clicking on it will take you to your computer's preset "start page". When you opened Internet Explorer, a web page automatically appeared. This is the start page. Usually, a start page is characterized as a good starting place for navigation, with links to useful sites or search tools. Often, after you have been exploring far and wide on the internet, it is helpful to return to this page, but using the back button takes too long. Clicking on the home button saves time.

  • Try clicking on the home button now. After the start page has loaded, click on the back button to return to this page.

The Stop Button

If you look at your toolbar now, you will see that the stop button is grey. The stop button is only active (red) when you are in the process of opening a new page. While the page is opening (downloading) you can choose to stop the download by clicking on the stop button. You might choose to do this for several reasons:

  • The download is taking much more time than you expected and you decide it's not worth the wait.

  • You see in the Status Message Field that the size of the document you are downloading is very large and will take a long time to load.

  • You realize that you have typed the wrong address or clicked on the wrong link.

  • As the page begins to appear, you see that the content is not what you are looking for.

After pressing the stop button, you have several options, depending on what you want to do next:

  1. Click in the Address Field and type in a new address.

  2. If the page had already begun to appear on the screen when you stopped, click the back button to return to the previous page.

  3. If the new page had not yet begun to appear, just proceed as if you never started to open it.

The stop button, like the Status Indicator, also lets you know when your browser is in the process of downloading information. A download is in progress when the stop button is red.

  • Click on this WIN Icon..... It will take you to a page that will take a long time to load. Click on the stop button to cancel the download and use the back button to return to this page.

The Refresh Button

The reload button takes the address of the page you are looking at and accesses the page again, loading it afresh on your screen. This is especially useful at news sites such as CNN or CBC Newsworld. These sites are continually being updated with fresh information. If you are looking at one of these pages and suspect that new information may be available, clicking on the reload button will cause your browser to access the server where the page is stored and load it again.