How to Search Web Pages

Many People Don’t Know this Search Tip

a pair of binoculars useful for searchingIt seems that only 10% of Internet users know this productivity tip.

I can’t believe so many people don’t know about Ctrl_F. However, this blog is all about helping Internet users get the most out of it, so an explanation might be helpful.

Back in November 2011, Google’s usability guru, Dan Russell, provides the evidence, reported in New Scientist report.

His stunning observation: only 10% of Internet users know about every browsers’ Find function, Ctrl-F.  Not just web browsers, actually, it works in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other products, and the free equivalents of Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird and its calendar, Lightening. In fact it’s always worth a try – except, sadly, in Microsoft Outlook itself, where it means Forward (an email).

How to Search Web Pages

Want to find a word or phrase in a long web page without reading the whole thing?  Here’s what you do:

  1. Click in the body of the web page you want to search;
  2. Hold down the Control key, labelled Ctrl, bottom left of your keyboard;
  3. Press F, for Find, and type what you’re looking for in the field that appears.

Windows users write this as “Ctrl-F” or “Control-F.”  Mac users write “Command-F” instead.

search box in google chromeHere’s how it looks in Google Chrome.

Note also the “1 of 3” to the  right of the search phrase. This shows that we’ve found the first “Portishead” on the page, and that there are three altogether.  Press the down arrow to the right to go to the next, up arrow to go back.

search field in Mozilla Firefox

In Firefox, the search field appears under the window when you press Ctrl-F.

Firefox doesn’t have a count, like Chrome, but if you click “Highlight all,” they become quite obvious. It also has a “Match case” function.

search field in internet exporer 9

In Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9, the search field appears at the top left of the screen.  It combines the options of Firefox with the count of Chrome.

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