So much of our interactions with the Internet are completed using a web browser. In this module we’ll take a look at the basics of using a browser, some of the advantages of various browsers, and engage you in a few tasks that may save minutes and hours in the long run. 


After completing this module, you will be able to:
  • Describe what a browser is and what it does
  • Take advantage of the strengths of different browsers
  • Set or change a default browser
  • Set or change a homepage
  • Add bookmarks to your browser
  • Organize existing bookmarks

What is a Browser?

Uploaded by Google

Advantages of Specific Browsers

Some browsers work better than others for specific tasks.  Below are some examples of where one browser may lead to better results and performance.

Internet Explorer: Microsoft Sharepoint, Microsoft Outlook Web Access, eSchoolPlus+
Mozilla Firefox: Teacher Access Center (Beta) - Gradebook
Google Chrome1: Gmail, Google Docs, Google Apps, most Flash based websites, Voicethread
Safari: Apple products, Java enabled sites

TIP: A general rule of thumb is that if something doesn't look right in one browser, try another browser to see if that resolves the issue.

Activity #1: Exploring Different Browsers

Try opening all of the browsers available on your desktop or laptop.  If you don't see one and you have the rights to install one, try downloading and installing a new browser.

Download Links

Setting a Default Browser

So, which browser suits you best? Chances are Internet Explorer (PC) and Safari (Mac) are the default browsers. However, it doesn't have to be that way. It's quite simple to change your default browser, and it could save you a lot of time going forward.

PC: Read | Watch
Mac: Read | Watch

Activity #2: Setting Your Default Browser

If you are tired of Internet Explorer or Safari (the likely existing default browser on your machine), try setting a new default browser.  This will cause any links that you click on to open up in the browser that you want instead of having you copy the link to then open in a new browser.  

Setting a Homepage

Do you have a web page that you visit more often than others?  Consider making that page the starting page every time you open your browser.

Internet Explorer 7, 8: Read | Watch
Mozilla Firefox: Read | Watch
Google Chrome: Read | Watch
Safari: Read | Watch

Activity #3: Setting Your Homepage

Stuck with a homepage that has no relevance to your daily life?  Looking for quicker access to your school or company's homepage?  Try changing your browser's homepage and save a few clicks. 

Adding Bookmarks

Why type the same website URL over and over?  Save the address as a bookmark and call it up just like you would a phone number that's on speed dial.

Internet Explorer 7, 8: Read | Watch
Mozilla Firefox: Read | Watch
Google Chrome: Read | Watch
Safari: Read | Watch

Activity #4: Adding a Bookmark

Try adding a useful link into your browser's bookmarks list.  
Check your work by closing the browser tab or window and re-opening the website using the newly created bookmark.

Managing Bookmarks

Now that you have a few bookmarks, what happens when you start accumulating dozens or hundreds of useful links?  Organization comes into play both in the form of folders or bookmark toolbars that give you easy access to the links that you use the most.

Internet Explorer 7, 8: Read | Watch
Mozilla Firefox: Read | Watch
Google Chrome: Read | Watch
Safari: Read | Watch

Activity #5: Organizing Your Bookmarks

Explore with folders and the bookmarks toolbar to position the bookmarks you use the most in places you can access the easiest.

Checking For Understanding

Did you have success with your browser journey?  Got a new and improved look/feel and organization with your bookmarks?

Test your knowledge.   Take a quick quiz below and see how well you do.  Click on "Start Now" and receive immediate feedback on how you do.

Not satisfied with your learning progress?  Please submit a feedback or issues support form found on the bottom of this page.


1 - Google Chrome also has automatic updates as well as Adobe Flash updates built in.  This makes it especially useful in areas where installs/updates by the end user are limited.