Basic Netscape Navigator Tutorial


Ok, so you’re probably one of those people who listen to hippy music and hate on everybody because they are so corporate. You definitely have a poster of the Grateful Dead (or if not then Phish) in your room and you think that raging against the machine is not using what other people use. If you’re a real geek you are running this whole operation on Linux and sticking it to “the man”. You would never be caught dead using a Microsoft product, but you need to surf the Tori Amos chat rooms somehow, so you decided to use the premier second fiddle of the internet…Netscape Navigator.

I can’t blame you…I once protested clothing for more then a week straight before “the man” made me put on a pair of pants when picking my kid up at school. I got so mad that they dragged me down to the station where I told them that clothes were a thing that the government invented to oppress the masses. I think that they really believed in what I was saying but were forced to give me a ticket because the men “upstairs” (wink wink) were watching. Anyway…five hundred dollars later (and three weeks in the state lockup) I had proved my point to those fascists.

But I tend to ramble. Here is the best guide on the net for using Netscape. All from…your best place for tutorials. (Remember my brothers…keep it real! Netscape for life!)

The Netscape window

This section describes what you see in the main Netscape window. Most of the tools and text fields that help you to navigate the Internet are visible, though you have the option of hiding some tools in order to give more space on the screen to the content area.

This section also describes a window's graphical elements.

Window summary

Displays the previous page in the history list. A history list references a hierarchy of pages you have already viewed.

Displays the next page in the history list. When you use Back or a history menu item to retrieve a page, using Forward gets the proceeding page. Forward is only available after you use Back or a history item.

Displays the home page designated in the General Preferences|Appearance panel. The default for our school system computers is the CCPS home page location.

Redisplays the current Netscape page, reflecting any changes made prior to the original loading. Netscape checks the network server to see if any change to the page has occurred. If there's no change, the original page is retrieved from the cache. If there's a change, the updated page is retrieved from the network server.

Loads images into pages. This is useful when the Options|Auto Load Images menu item is unchecked and icons have been substituted for images. By loading images, you replace the icons with the intended images.

Lets you enter a URL to display the specified page in the content area.

Prints the content area of the current Netscape page. A dialog box lets you select printing characteristics.

Lets you specify a word or phrase to locate within the current Netscape page. You can specify case sensitivity and search direction. If a match is found, the text is selected and displayed.

Halts any ongoing transfer of page information.


In a world of electronic pages, the URL, short for Uniform Resource Locator, acts as a unique address, much like everyone has their own unique fingerprint. A URL is made up of three main components.

The first component, the protocol, identifies a manner for interpreting computer information. Many Internet pages use HTTP (short for HyperText Transfer Protocol). Other common protocols you might come across include file (which loads a file from your local hard drive), ftp (which is short for File Transfer Protocol), news (the protocol used by Usenet news groups), and gopher (an alternative transfer protocol).

The second component, the server, identifies the computer system that stores the information you seek (such as Each server on the Internet has a unique address name whose text refers to the organization maintaining the server. The last item listed in the server ID usually lets you know what type of organization or what country the server is part of.

The last component, the pathname, identifies the location of an item on the server. For example, a pathname usually specifies the name of the file comprising the page (such as /welcome.html), possibly preceded by one or more directory names (folder names) that contain the file (such as /home/welcome.html).

Some pathnames use special characters. If you are typing a URL into the location field, you'll need to enter the characters that exactly match the URL. For example, some pathnames contain the tilde character (~) which designates a particular home directory on a server.

You usually do not need to know a page's URL because that information is always included as part of a highlited link. But when you are in a situation where you have the URL address but no link to click on, Netscape gives you the opportunity to type in a URL directly into the location text field. Using the URL, Netscape will bring you the specified page just as if you had clicked on an automatic link.


Directory Buttons

Netscape's Directory buttons connect you to pages that are designed to help beginners take a tour of the Web. There are 2 Directory buttons in Netscape that you will use most frequently:

The Handbook button takes you to a full on-line handbook for Netscape. It contains all of the items that this tutorial covers plus many extra items that we don't cover here.

The Net Search button is a directory of Internet search engines that you can use to find specific information or a particular page, either by searching page titles, subject fields, document content, or other indexes and directories. Due to the fact that every search engine works differently, this tutorial will not attempt to go into depth on searching. For more information look for on-line help within each search engine.


There are also three menus which you may use frequently: