Teach your old browser new navigation tricks

When you click Internet Explorer's Search button, the browser brings up a special search menu in its explorer bar - a pane to the left of the browser. What makes using this search bar better than heading to the search site itself? All the search results display in the left pane, so you don't have to keep clicking the Back button to return to the search site. You can toggle the search frame on and off by clicking the Search button.

If you're using Internet Explorer 4, you can configure your browser to rely on almost any search engine. Set this preference on http://home.microsoft.com/search/lobby/searchsetup.htm. IE 5 (which at the time of writing is still in beta) makes things easier still, by combining several search engines into a one-stop search tool. With IE 5, the key to effective searching is the Next button in the search bar, which lets you scroll through results from all participating search engines.

Alternatively, you can find what you're looking for by typing a keyword into IE's address bar. Internet Explorer treats any two or more words, separated by spaces, as a search query and directs these to a special area of Yahoo which is devoted to IE searches. If the expression you're looking for consists of a single word, precede it with a question mark followed by a space, or with the word "find" or "go" followed by a space.

Navigator's Search button takes you to a search page on Netscape's Web site where you can search with Netscape's own search tool or with AltaVista, Excite, Infoseek, LookSmart, or Lycos. But unlike IE 5, Navigator doesn't pass your query to all these engines simultaneously. Navigator 4.06 and later offer Smart Browsing features that make Web searching equally convenient. When you type keywords (such as "flyfishing gear") into Navigator's location bar, the browser takes you to Netscape's site and returns a few related URLs. Precede any single-word keyword with a question mark, or Navigator will try to add "www" and "com" to it. You can also drag and drop a phrase from another application (say, a word processor) into the browser window, and Navigator will jump to a site of the same domain name or will search for that phrase on the Web.

Still can't find what you're looking for? Click the What's Related button, and you'll get a list of URLs that are related to the current Web site. If you like this feature, but your current browser (IE or older versions of Navigator) doesn't support it, use the add-on Alexa. Alexa adds a small pane to the bottom of your browser, where it displays related links.

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