Note that this document was written for the RISC OS version of NetSurf.
- Using NetSurf
- Interactive help
- Browser window
- File types
- Download window
- Hotlist management window
- Keyboard shortcuts
Last updated 10 November 2007
To run NetSurf, simply double click on the NetSurf application. This will cause the NetSurf icon to appear on the iconbar. Select clicking on this icon will open a browser window. Adjust clicking on NetSurf's iconbar icon opens the hotlist management window.
The iconbar menu contains options which concern the application as a whole.
|Show global history|
Instant on-line help is available throughout the software, in the form of interactive help. This offers quick help information, in bullet point format, about the item under the pointer.
To use interactive help, suitable software must be running. The program 'Help' is shipped with all RISC OS computers and it can be run from NetSurf's Help > Interactive help menu item.
The browser window is used to fetch and display web pages and other content available on the World Wide Web. It can also display files that are stored locally on your computer. The file types that NetSurf can handle include HTML, CSS and various image formats.
The area at the top of the browser window is called the toolbar. At the bottom, it can be seen that the horizontal scroll bar does not cover the full width of the window. Next to the horizontal scroll bar, is the status bar. The main section in the middle of the window is the most important part, the content area.
The content area displays web pages and other material, such as images. Web pages contain hyperlinks (often just called 'links') which can point to another part of the page, to a different page or to any other type of file. Links pointing to types of files that NetSurf doesn't recognise will open a download window. Placing the pointer over a link changes the pointer to a 'clicking hand', to indicate that the item can be clicked on.
The section at the top of the window is called the toolbar. It allows quick access to various commonly used features. Many more functions are available through the menus. The toolbar can be customised to contain only the icons you want, in the order you want, in toolbar edit mode. This is covered in the toolbar customisation section. Available icons are listed below.
Clicking on this button makes NetSurf go back to the previous page in the local history list. Select click to view the previous page in the current window. Adjust click to view it in a new window. Form information is not resubmitted.
Clicking on this button allows you to advance through the local history list. Select click to view the next page in the current window. Adjust click to view it in a new window. Form information is not resubmitted.
Select clicking on this button opens a window containing the local history tree. Adjust clicking opens the global history window. More detailed information can be found in the History section.
Clicking on this button returns to the configured home page.
Select clicking on this button opens the hotlist management window. Adjust clicking adds the current location to the hotlist.
Clicking on this button will open the print dialogue box.
Select clicking on this button will make NetSurf fetch and redraw the current page again. Adjust clicking forces NetSurf to fetch the current page as well as any objects it contains, such as images and style sheets.
Clicking on this button will open a save dialogue box, to allow you to save the page for future reference.
Clicking on this button will open the scale view window. It allows you to scale documents, affecting both text and pictures.
Clicking on this button opens the find text window. It allows you to search for a string of text within a document.
Clicking on this button stops whatever process the window is doing.
Clicking on this button moves up the directory tree. For example, if you are looking at http://www.domain.com/directory/page.html, clicking on the up icon takes you to http://www.domain.com/directory/ and a further click would result in a location of http://www.domain.com/.
Icons that are greyed out indicate that their function is unavailable. This happens when a new browser window is first opened. Since the window will be displaying its first page, there would be no previous page and the back button is greyed out. Also, as this is the first page, the forward button is also greyed out.
Throbber: This NetSurf logo animates while a page is downloading or rendering. It indicates that NetSurf is doing something.
The white writable icon on the toolbar is called the URL Bar and it shows the location of the current page. Here, you can enter the address of the page you want to view next. Text files dropped onto the URL bar are treated as URLs.
Next to the URL bar is a pop-up menu button which opens a list of URLs previously typed into the URL bar. Clicking on one of the URLs opens the page.
The current URL can be dragged from the URL bar to be saved or dropped onto other applications. A Ctrl drag saves the URL in Text format and a Shift drag saves it in ANT URL format. Systems that don't support text selection in writable icons (i.e. non RISC OS Select systems) allow the URL to be dragged out in Text format without the use of either Ctrl or Shift.
When typing into the URL bar, NetSurf opens a window below displaying suggestions for the full address. If the address you want is not shown, the box can be ignored. If the intended address is shown, select clicking on it will complete the address and open the page automatically. An adjust click on a URL copies it into the URL but does not load the page. The Up and Down cursor keys can be used to select an address from the list and the Return key opens the page. Escape closes the URL completion window. The function of other keys in the URL bar, such as the Left and Right cursor keys, is unaffected by this feature.
The status bar, at the bottom of the window, displays information to the user. When you move the pointer over a link, the status bar will display the URL that the link points to. The status bar also displays information about NetSurf's progress while retrieving a page.
Between the status bar and the horizontal scroll bar is the status bar resizer. Over this widget, the pointer changes to a double headed arrow and you can drag the status bar resizer to set the width of the status bar.
The content area is the main part of the browser window; it displays documents and images. Various types of action can be performed in the content area, including:
Some operations, such as a dragging and clicking will behave differently depending on the content over which the action is carried out. For example, dragging over text initiates text selection whereas dragging over non-textual content will drag-scroll the page.
Further options are available through the menu, some of which are only available when menu is clicked over certain types of content. For example the Object submenu is available only when menu is clicked over an object, such as an image.
Textual content on pages can be selected and copied. Text in text areas can be selected and then cut or copied to the global clipboard. The global clipboard contents can also be pasted into text areas.
- Select click clears previous selections.
- Select drag over text clears previous selection and creates new selection.
- Adjust click adds to selection. If Adjust was clicked outside the selection the nearest end of the selection is moved to where adjust was clicked. If Adjust was clicked inside the current selection, the second (last) end of the selection is moved to where Adjust was clicked. If Adjust is clicked on a link, the selection is not modified and link handling behaviour is followed.
- Adjust drag over text dynamically does the same as repeatedly doing an Adjust click as you move the mouse, except, Adjust drag over links modifies the selection and does not follow the link.
Ctrl+C copies selected text to the global clipboard. Ctrl+A selects all text, while Ctrl+Z clears the selection.
The page can be scrolled by dragging non-textual areas up and down. During a drag scroll action, the pointer changes to a hand.
- Select drag on any non textual area of the page (except plugin areas and
overflow: scrollscrollbars) drags the page.
- Adjust drag on any part of the page, including text, provided there is no selection drags the page. Page drag scrolling is not possible over plugin areas or scrollbars, such as those for text areas or
- Select click on a link follows the link in current window.
- Adjust click on a link opens the link in new window.
- Shift+Select click on a link opens a download dialogue box for the link target.
- Shift+Adjust click on a link opens a save box for saving link the target address as a URL file.
Content can be dragged directly from the page to a filer window with the Ctrl key.
- Ctrl+Select drag saves the item under the pointer to a filer window or another application. The item is saved in its original format.
- Ctrl+Adjust drag saves the item under the pointer to a filer window or another application. Generally it saves it in the most applicable RISC OS format.
Different items are treated as follows.
- If the content drag save is initiated on a bitmap image, it is saved in its original format with Select. With Adjust it is saved as a sprite.
- If the content drag save is initiated on a text selection, it is saved as text, whether it comes from an HTML page, CSS file or whatever. Select / Adjust usage makes no difference.
- If the content drag save is initiated on a part of a web page that is neither image or selection, the page is saved as a "full save" with Select. With Adjust, the HTML is saved only.
text/plainis always saved as text.
Forms allow information to be entered and submitted to an agent such as a web server or mail server. Some form controls can be styled by web pages, so they may look quite different from one page to the next. Some common form controls are described below.
- Buttons trigger some action when selected. Common button actions are to submit or reset the form.
- Checkboxes are on/off switches that can be toggled. Checkboxes containing a red square are "on".
- Radio Buttons
- Radio buttons are like checkboxes except that groups of radio buttons are mutually exclusive: when one is switched "on", all others with the same name are switched "off". Radio buttons containing a red circle are "on".
- Selection Menus
- Selection menus open a menu, from which an item, or in some cases several items, can be selected. Selected items are displayed with a tick (✓) next to them. The pointer changes to indicate a pop-up menu is available over selection menu controls.
- A text input allows a single line of text to be entered and edited. Pressing Return in a text input will submit the form.
- File Input
- File inputs say "Drop file here" and allow local files to be submitted. Dragging a file to them sets the path to the file.
- Text Area
- Text areas are similar to text inputs but they allow multiple lines to be edited. Pressing Return in a text area moves the caret to the next line.
Tab can be used to move the caret to the next text input or text area control. Shift+Tab moves input focus back to the previous text box.
The browser window menu contains options relating to the content of the current window. Some of these options are unavailable at present as this area of NetSurf is not complete. The following options are available:
The Page submenu contains the following options relevant to the current page.
The Object submenu contains the following options relevant to the current object. This submenu is only available when the pointer is placed over an object such as a link or an image.
The selection submenu contains the following options, for manipulating the current selection and performing clipboard actions.
|Copy to clipboard|
|Cut to clipboard|
|Paste from clipboard|
The Navigate submenu contains the following options, useful for navigating the web.
|Back one page|
|Forward one page|
|Up one level|
|Reload this page|
|Stop loading this page|
The Display submenu contains the various options which affect the rendering of the current window. Other configuration options are described in the configuration section.
|Save as default|
If the buttons, URL bar and throbber are all disabled, the toolbar at the top of the window is removed, leaving more space for the main content area.
|Buffer all rendering|
|Set as default position|
|Stagger window position|
|Copy window position|
|Reset default position|
The Utilities submenu allows you to access some of NetSurf's extra features.
|Add to hotlist|
|Show local history|
|Show global history|
|Delete all cookies|
The Help submenu contains options for fast access to help and information while you're using NetSurf.
When NetSurf encounters a file type it does not recognise, it opens a download window to allow the file to be saved to disc. (Note, NetSurf ignores local files of unrecognised file types.) The file types that NetSurf understands are listed below, with their RISC OS file type and MIME type(s) .
Flash files are not handled by NetSurf directly but are displayed by an external plugin.
NetSurf recognises different file types by their RISC OS file type for local files and by their content-type header for files sourced from the internet. Files are not identified by their extension or content. This means that for a file to be displayed, servers must be configured to send the correct content-type header and local files must have the correct RISC OS file type set.
Whenever you follow a link to a file that NetSurf doesn't know how to handle, NetSurf opens the download window. This allows you to save a local copy of the file. The download window is shown below.
As soon as the download window opens, NetSurf starts downloading the file to your Scrap directory. At any time, either as the file downloads or after it has finished, it is possible drag the file icon at the top of the window to the directory where you wish to keep the file. This action causes the file to be moved to your desired location from Scrap and if the download is incomplete, the remainder of the file will also go to the new location.
The Source field indicates the location of the file being downloaded.
Initially, the Destination field allows the local filename of the file being downloaded to be set. Once the local destination of the file has been set, by dragging the icon to a filer window, the local path is shown here. Clicking on it will open the associated directory.
The bottom part of the download window displays information about the download's progress. On the left, the amount already downloaded and the total size are displayed. In the middle, the download speed is indicated and that the right, and estimated time remaining is shown. A beige progress bar indicates the download's progress visually.
While browsing the World Wide Web, you may come across interesting pages and some time later, you may wish to return to them. NetSurf's history stores the addresses (URLs) of the web pages you visit so that you can return to a page without having to remember the URL or how you first came across it.
NetSurf supports two distinct types of history; local and global. Local history contains only the pages that are visited in any particular window. Global history contains all the pages that have been visited in NetSurf and is remembered when NetSurf is restarted.
Local History Window
NetSurf's local history window provides a diagrammatical overview of the browsing history of a particular window. Each web page that is visited is represented by a thumbnail in a tree diagram. Beneath each thumbnail the page title is shown. Clicking on a thumbnail will cause the NetSurf browser window to return to that particular page.
Global History Window
NetSurf's global history stores the addresses (URLs) of all the web pages you visit. To open the global history window, you can adjust click on the history toolbar button on a browser window, use the browser window menu option or use the iconbar menu. The global history is made up from "addresses" and "directories".
An address consists of a name and a URL. Addresses in the global history can point to any kind of file and double clicking on one will launch the URL in NetSurf. Addresses also store the date the URL was visited. By default, addresses are listed in the order they were visited and they are grouped by date within directories.
Directories store groups of addresses. In the default global history view, there are directories for each day up to the beginning of last week and further directories for previous weeks. The global history is expired after a maximum of four weeks.
The global history display works in a similar way to a filer window, although there are some important differences. Directories are not opened in new windows. Instead, the whole of the history is displayed in one window and directories represented by branches in a tree diagram. Double clicking on a closed directory will open it, displaying its contents as a new branch. Double clicking on an open directory will close it. When addresses are double clicked on, their URL is launched by NetSurf.
Next to the address and directory icons there are toggle boxes, which can be used to expand and collapse branches in the history tree. Clicking on the branch toggle boxes next to directories has exactly the same effect as double clicking on a directory. Expanding an address with the branch toggle box displays the other information it contains. (The URL and the time it was visited.) The space bar can also be used to expand or collapse selected addresses.
As with filer windows, selections can be made by dragging selection boxes and adjust clicking can be used to add or remove items from the selection.
The global history toolbar allows quick access to various commonly used features. More functions are available through the menus. The toolbar can be customised to contain only the icons you want, in the order you want, in toolbar edit mode. This is covered in the toolbar customisation section. Available icons are listed below.
Clicking on this button deletes any selected directories or addresses from the global history.
Select clicking on this button expands any addresses that are being shown, to display additional information about each one. Adjust clicking hides the additional information for any expanded addresses.
Clicking on this button launches all selected addresses in separate browser windows. If a directory is selected any addresses it contains will be launched.
Select clicking on this button opens every directory in the global history. Adjust clicking closes any open directories.
The global history menu contains options which allow you to manage the content of your global history. The options available are:
The History submenu contains the following options which apply to the global history window in general.
The selection submenu, which is only available when a selection has been made in the global history window, contains the following options.
Hotlist Management Window
While browsing the World Wide Web, you may come across pages that you wish to return to. NetSurf's hotlist provides a convenient way of storing these addresses (URLs) so that you can return to the page without having to remember the URL or how you first came across the page. To open the hotlist management window, you can adjust click on NetSurf's iconbar icon or select click on the Hotlist toolbar button in a browser window. Hotlists are made up from "addresses" and "directories". There can be as many of each of these as you like.
An address consists of a name and a URL. Hotlist addresses can point to any kind of file and double clicking on one will launch the URL in NetSurf. The name can be anything but, for web pages, it is set to the page title by default. The simplest way to add an address to the hotlist is to adjust click on the Hotlist toolbar button in a browser window. This adds the URL of the current page to the hotlist. Additionally, files on your hard disc can be added by dragging them to the hotlist from a filer window. Addresses also store other usage information, such as the date the address was added to the hotlist, when it was last visited and how many times it has been visited in total.
Directories are used to group related addresses to allow for easy location of the address you want. They can be nested and contain a mixture of addresses and other directories.
The hotlist display works in a similar way to a filer window, although there are some important differences. Directories are not opened in new windows. Instead, the whole hotlist is displayed in one window and directories represented by branches in a tree diagram. Double clicking on a closed directory will open it, displaying its contents as a new branch. Double clicking on an open directory will close it. When addresses are double clicked on, their URL is launched by NetSurf.
Next to the address and directory icons there are toggle boxes, which can be used to expand and collapse branches in the hotlist tree. Clicking on the branch toggle boxes next to directories has exactly the same effect as double clicking on a directory. Expanding an address with the branch toggle box displays the other information it contains, such as the URL and its usage statistics. The space bar can also be used to expand or collapse selected addresses.
As with filer windows, selections can be made by dragging selection boxes and adjust clicking can be used to add or remove items from the selection. Selections can then be dragged and dropped within the hotlist management window to move them around. It is possible to drop a selection into a closed directory by releasing it over the bottom half of the target directory. Dropping the selection over the top half of a directory or address will insert the selection above that item. Finally, dropping a selection over the lower half of an address will move it below the address.
Renaming of addresses and directories can by achieved by clicking on an item with the Alt key held down. The URLs within expanded address entries can also be altered in this way. Selected items can be deleted from the toolbar, menus or with Ctrl+X
NetSurf's hotlist is stored as an HTML file which can be found in Choices:WWW.NetSurf. This means the hotlist file can be loaded into a NetSurf browser window and used as a links page or set to your default home page. The hotlist file is saved when you quit NetSurf.
The hotlist toolbar allows quick access to various commonly used features. More functions are available through the menus. The toolbar can be customised to contain only the icons you want, in the order you want, in toolbar edit mode. This is covered in the toolbar customisation section. Available icons are listed below.
Clicking on this button adds a new directory to the bottom of the hotlist. The cursor is placed at the name of the new directory. Either type Ctrl-U and rename it or press Return to accept the default name.
Clicking on this button deletes any selected directories or addresses from the hotlist.
Select clicking on this button expands any addresses that are being shown, to display additional information about each one. Adjust clicking hides the additional information for any expanded addresses.
Clicking on this button launches all selected addresses in separate browser windows. If a directory is selected any addresses it contains will be launched.
Select clicking on this button opens every directory in the hotlist. Adjust clicking closes any open directories.
Icons that are greyed out indicate that their function is unavailable.
The hotlist menu contains options which allow you to manage the content of your hotlist. The options available are:
The Hotlist submenu contains the following options which apply to the hotlist in general.
The selection submenu, which is only available when a selection has been made in the hotlist management window, contains the following options.
Addresses added to the hotlist from a NetSurf browser window have a default name set. For HTML files, this is the page title.
NetSurf can be tailored to suit your needs by configuring the way it looks and behaves. Most of NetSurf's configuration options are available from the global choices panel. Display options for browser windows are set up for an individual browser window and then saved globally in the browser window menus.
Toolbars can be customised to contain only the icons you want, in the order you want, in toolbar edit mode. This is covered in the toolbar customisation section.
The configuration panel is opened from the iconbar menu.
NetSurf's global configuration sections
Clicking on one of the section icons will open a new configuration window, allowing you to set up that particular aspect of NetSurf.
All of NetSurf's configuration section windows have the following three buttons at the bottom.
- This button can be used to reset NetSurf's options, for the current configuration window, to the original values that are built into NetSurf. Use this button if you think that you have configured something wrongly and want to try the "factory settings".
- Select clicking on this button will close the window. Any changes you have made will be discarded.
Adjust clicking on this button will return all the options in the window back to the last saved values, that were shown when you opened the window.
- Select clicking on this button will save your changes and close the window.
Adjust clicking on this button will save your changes and leave the window open.
NetSurf keeps local copies of some content, which has been downloaded from the internet. This local copy of downloaded data is called a cache and it improves NetSurf's performance. The cache is used so that if, for example, you visit a page that contains an image and then go to another page that uses the same image, NetSurf will not need to download the same image twice.
NetSurf has two separate caches, the memory cache and the disc cache.
The memory cache is used to store data related to the most recent pages you have seen. Since this data is stored in memory, it can be accessed very quickly. The memory cache is not preserved over sessions, and is lost when you quit NetSurf.
- This option can be used to alter the size of NetSurf's memory cache. A larger cache will allow more content to be stored in memory, at the expense of greater memory usage.
The disc cache is used to store content from web sites on your computer's hard disc. This allows you to return to old pages without having to download them again. The disc cache also stores other persistent data (data that is recovered next time you start NetSurf). It stores web page thumbnails for showing in global history.
- This option can be used to alter the maximum length of time data will stay in the disc cache, without being used, before it is dropped from the cache. Note that files are not automatically deleted from your hard disc when they are dropped from the cache. Files in the cache are each assigned a file name. When the file is dropped from the cache its file name is freed up, so that a new file to be written to the cache can overwrite it. NetSurf does not automatically delete dropped files for performance reasons and to keep hard disc usage to a minimum. To manually delete dropped files, use the "perform maintenance button below.
- Perform maintenance
- This button can be used to delete any redundant files from NetSurf's disc cache.
At the current time the disc cache is not fully operational. It is only used for storing images.
NetSurf accesses the internet by contacting remote computers. The options here can be used to configure how it does this.
Some computers need to be connected to the internet through a proxy server. If your Internet Service Provider has a proxy server, the details can be entered here.
- Proxy type
- This option can be used to select a proxy type. "No proxy" means you do not require a proxy to connect to the internet. "Simple proxy" means use a proxy that does not require authentication (a username and password). "Basic authentication" means use a proxy that requires a username and password. "NTLM authentication" also means use a proxy that requires a username and password. Consult your ISP to find out which option to use. If a proxy is required, "Simple proxy" is the most common type.
- This option can be used to set the host name for the proxy server. This option will be greyed out if "No proxy" has been selected above.
- This option can be used to set the port number for the proxy server. This option will be greyed out if "No proxy" has been selected above.
- This option can be used to set a username for use with the proxy server. This option will be greyed out unless a proxy with authentication has been selected for the proxy type.
- This option can be used to set a password for use with the proxy server. This option will be greyed out unless a proxy with authentication has been selected for the proxy type.
The way NetSurf fetches content from the internet can be tailored to suit your hardware and the speed of your internet connection. These are quite advanced configuration options and should not need to be modified, in most cases.
- Maximum fetches
- This option can be used to set the maximum number of simultaneous fetches (downloading multiple things in parallel) that NetSurf will carry out at one time. After this limit is reached, new fetches will be queued and fetched as the current fetches are completed. High values will benefit people with fast connections and fast computers, that are able to keep up with all the incoming data.
- Fetches per host
- This option can be used to set the maximum number of simultaneous fetches per host. This means the limit to the number of simultaneous downloads from a particular web site. Simultaneous downloads from the same host can speed up fetching web pages quite dramatically because images on the page can be fetched in parallel, rather than in series.
- Cached connections
- This option can be used to set the maximum number of persistent connections that NetSurf can maintain at any one time. Persistent connections, or "Keep-Alive" connections are HTTP sessions that allow multiple requests to be sent over the same connection. In some cases they have been shown to result in an almost 50% speed up in latency times for HTML documents with lots of images.
Content is the name given to material downloaded from the World Wide Web. It can be web pages, images, animations and more.
NetSurf can prevent certain types of content from loading and stop pages from performing certain actions.
- Hide advertisements
- This option can be used to stop NetSurf from displaying advertisements on web pages. This can be useful for pages which contain distracting or obtrusive adverts. Note that NetSurf can only make an educated guess at which content is an advert and which is not. This can mean that some adverts will be fail to be blocked, or more seriously, when advertisement blocking is enabled some valid content may occasionally be blocked.
- Disable pop-up windows
- This option can be used to stop web pages from opening new browser windows on your desktop. Some pages may try to open advertisements in new windows, when you visit the page, or open some links in pop-up windows, instead of the current window. Disabling pop-ups means that the only way a new window can be opened is when a user explicitly opens it.
- Disable plug-ins
- This option can be used to disable plug-ins. Plug-ins are external applications that can handle specific types of content, for example Flash files. This option disables the use of plug-ins, meaning that NetSurf will simply not display the particular file, or use any alternative content provided by a web page.
Most content and information on the World Wide Web is text. It is important to set NetSurf up so that it displays text that you find comfortable to read.
You can set which specific font on your system that you want NetSurf to use for each of the five styles of typeface that are available for use on the World Wide Web.
- This option can be used to select a particular sans-serif font on your system. It will be used whenever a web page specifies a sans-serif typeface. Helvetica (Homerton) is an example of a sans-serif font.
- This option can be used to select a particular serif font on your system. It will be used whenever a web page specifies a serif typeface. Times (Trinity) is an example of a serif font.
- This option can be used to select a particular monospace font on your system. It will be used whenever a web page specifies a monospace typeface. Courier (Corpus) is an example of a monospace font.
- This option can be used to select a particular cursive font on your system. It will be used whenever a web page specifies a cursive typeface. ZapfChancery (Churchill) is an example of a cursive font.
- This option can be used to select a particular fantasy font on your system. It will be used whenever a web page specifies a fantasy typeface. There is no particular style of font associated with fantasy, so any fancy looking but readable font would be apt and suitable.
- This option can be used to set the default font style. It is used when web pages do not specify a font face of their own. Sans-serif and serif are the most typical options for this setting.
The size of text used to render web pages can be controlled with the following options. It is important to ensure that the text NetSurf renders is at a size you find comfortable to read.
- This option can be used to set the default font size. The default font size is the size at which text will be rendered whenever web pages do not specify a size. It is also the base size that is used where web sites specify relative font sizes.
- This option can be used to set the minimum font size. No text will be rendered smaller than this size, even if a web site specifies a smaller size. This option is used to ensure that web pages are never rendered with smaller text than you find easy to read.
Home Page Configuration
The home page is the page that is opened when you open a new window from the icon bar.
- This option can be used to set NetSurf's home page address. Any address can be typed into the box, or an address can be selected from a menu of recently visited URLs. These URLs are addresses that have previously been typed into the URL bar of a NetSurf browser window.
- Open browser window on start-up
- This option can be used to make NetSurf open a new browser window on the desktop, when the application is started.
A great deal of content on the internet is in the form of images. NetSurf allows the display of images to be tailored to suit the hardware you use.
NetSurf can use various different methods to display images on web pages. If you are using NetSurf in a 16 million colour screen mode, all the options will perform the same. If you use less than 16 million colours then there is a trade-off between image quality and rendering speed. The exception to this is the "Use OS" option, which will never display images with alpha channels (varying degrees of transparency) as well as any of the other options. The four image quality settings are described below.
- Use OS
- This means that RISC OS's routines (OS_SpriteOp) are used to display images. This option results in poor quality (especially so for images with alpha channels as the alpha channel is emulated using standard calls) and also poor speed. This option is not recommended unless you are having problems with the other options.
- Direct to screen
- This is the fastest available output, but suffers the same low quality as using the OS routines in less than 16 million colours. However, this option can render images with alpha channels correctly. If you are on a slow machine you may want to use this for background images.
- This is a quick method for improving the display of images in screen modes with less than 16 million colours. It emulates twice as many colours as are available in the current screen mode (for less than 16 million colours). It gives a fair increase in display quality for many images and you won't notice much speed loss. If you're on a slow machine you will probably find this best for foreground images.
- Error diffused
- This is another method for improving the display of images in screen modes with less than 16 million colours. It is slower than dithering but offers the highest quality representation of images. If you run in an 8bpp (256 colour) screen mode then this is as aesthetically pleasing as you can get. As it is slower than the other options, you may only want to use it for foreground images, even on a medium powered machine (such as a SA RiscPC).
Note that if you are using a 16 million colour mode then neither error diffusion or dithering will be used, even if one of these options is selected. This is because all possible colours can be displayed directly. Naturally, use of a 16 million colour million colour screen mode gives the best possible display, if you have the image quality setting set to "Direct to screen", "Dithered" and "Error diffused". If you use 16 million colours and have a fast machine, it is best to use "Error diffused", so that if you ever drop to a low colour screen mode you still get the best available image quality.
- This option can be used to set the type of rendering to be used for foreground images. Since foreground images are often important features of web pages and cover relatively small areas, it is worth setting this setting as high as you can get away with on your hardware. For details on what each of the options actually does, see the notes above.
- This option can be used to set the type of rendering to be used for background images. Since background images are rarely vital features of web pages and can cover large areas, it would be wise to set this setting to a lower quality than for foreground images, if you are not running NetSurf on one of the latest machines. For details on what each of the options actually does, see the notes above.
- Preview image
- This section shows the results of your image quality choices on the visual appearance of images. In 16 million colour screen modes, the "Direct to screen", "Dithered" and "Error diffused" will look the same. If the "Use OS" option is used for the foreground image, the preview will demonstrate the poor handling of alpha channels that this mode exhibits. In 256 colour modes, the differences between the different quality settings should be quite pronounced.
Some web pages use animations, which are a series of still images played in sequence.
- Speed limit
- This option can be used to set the minimum time delay between displaying each frame of an animation. Increasing this value will cause animations to run slower. Fast animations require a lot of computational effort, so a very low setting can cause your computer to slow down when rapid animations are displayed.
- Disable animations
- This option can be used to stop animations from being played. If animations are disabled then the first frame of the animation is shown as a static image.
The way NetSurf interacts with its users is called its interface. Various aspects of NetSurf's behaviour can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Downloading / saving files
You can use NetSurf to save content from the internet onto your local hard disc.
- Strip filename extensions when saving
- This option can be used to remove the file extensions (eg .html and .jpeg) from file names. The extensions are not needed on RISC OS as it records the file type by other means. You may want to retain file extensions if you plan to transfer saved files to other computers, running different operating systems.
- Request confirmation before overwriting files
- This option can be used to make NetSurf to ask for confirmation before overwriting a file of the same name, when saving. Please note that NetSurf does not allow directories to be overwritten. Also note that SparkFS causes zip files and other archives to be treated as directories.
NetSurf has various features that can provide information and additional functionality as you use or interact with the program.
- Display recently visited URLs as you type
- This option can be used to enable NetSurf's URL suggestion feature. When this is enabled and you type into the URL bar of a NetSurf browser window, then a small window is opened up below the URL bar, which shows previously visited URLs that could be used to complete the URL you're typing. For more information, see the URL completion section.
- Hover URLs by the pointer for local history
- This option can be used to make NetSurf display the URL of the thumbnail under your mouse pointer in local history windows. The URL is displayed in a floating box, beside the pointer.
NetSurf has been designed to work in different languages and you can select the one that you find most suitable.
- This option can be used to select the language to use for NetSurf's interface. This includes menus, dialogue boxes and interactive help text. The only available languages are those that have had resources prepared for them. At the current time, these are English, Dutch, French and German.
- Web pages
- This option can be used to request for web pages to be sent in your preferred language. Some web sites are available in a variety of languages. NetSurf will request that web servers send pages in the language of your choice. If your desired language is unavailable, the server will ignore the request and use a default language.
NetSurf provides you with a certain amount of control over how it uses the memory on your system. The way you set up NetSurf's memory usage will depend on how much memory your system has and how many other applications you tend to have running while browsing the World Wide Web.
NetSurf uses memory to store images downloaded from the internet, while you are viewing them. It can store both compressed and uncompressed images in memory.
- This option can be used to set the maximum amount of memory NetSurf will use for storing uncompressed images. The more memory you allocate to this, the more images NetSurf will be able to hold in memory. Uncompressed images, held in memory can be displayed very quickly.
- Automatic handling
- This option can be used to tell NetSurf to make an intelligent guess at the best amount of memory to use for uncompressed images on your system. Generally, this option will work well for most users.
- This option can be used to set the maximum amount of memory NetSurf will use for storing compressed images. The more memory you allocate to this, the more images NetSurf will be able to hold in memory. Uncompressed images, held in memory, can be displayed quickly. When the "direct" and "compressed" memory is full, images can be dropped out of memory and stored on your hard disc. This is part of NetSurf's disc cache functionality and options for controlling this are provided in the cache configuration section.
- Automatic handling
- This option can be used to tell NetSurf to make an intelligent guess at the best amount of memory to use for compressed images on your system. Generally, this option will work well for most users.
As the World Wide Web has grown in popularity, so too has the number of people who try to exploit its users for some nefarious end. Browser security and privacy features have become increasingly important.
When you visit one page, after following a link on another page, a browser can tell the new page the address of the page that linked to them.
- Send site referral information
- This option can be used to allow NetSurf to send referral information. When this option is disabled, NetSurf will not tell web sites the address of the page you came from. In most cases this should not cause any problems, but some sites do require you to send referral information. In these cases you might find images don't load or you get Forbidden messages from their server. On the other hand, if you do send referral information, web sites will be able to tell what web site you were at before you followed a link to their site. This allows them to find out what other sites are linking to them and is not usually any cause for distress.
NetSurf records all the web sites you have visited as part of its global history feature. Entries can be deleted from the global history window directly and NetSurf allows the length of time items are kept in global history to be configured.
- This option can be used to set the length of time entries are stored in global history, before they are deleted. Setting the duration to zero days turns off the global history feature.
The 'look and feel' of NetSurf's interface can be changed. This is done by installing and selecting themes.
This section displays a preview of all the currently installed themes. New themes are available at the NetSurf themes page.
- Theme selection pane
- This section can be used to select a theme. A theme is selected using the radio buttons. If a theme you have just installed does not appear for selection, NetSurf needs to be told to re-scan the themes directory. It is re-scanned when the choices window is opened or by adjust clicking on the Cancel button. The currently loaded theme is cached so any updates to that theme will not be loaded until NetSurf is restarted. Alternatively, it is possible to switch to another theme, re-scan themes and then switch back.
Icons on NetSurf's toolbars can be switched on & off and moved around. The sprites used for the icons can be changed by installing different themes.
To move the icons around, enable toolbar edit mode by clicking menu over the toolbar and choosing "Edit toolbar". This will open the toolbar editing panel. Icons can be dragged back and forth between the temporary panel and the toolbar. Separators for groups of icons can be created by dragging the separator sprite from the toolbar edit panel and dropping it where you want it to go. To exit toolbar edit mode, select "Edit toolbar" again from the toolbar menu.
When you exit toolbar edit mode, the new toolbar layout is saved and new windows opened from then on will use your customised toolbar.
NetSurf supports keyboard shortcuts, which allow quick access to features and make NetSurf easier to use. The supported keypresses and corresponding functions are listed below.
|Ctrl+N||Open the current page in a new window|
|Ctrl+F1||Display information about the current page or content|
|F3||Save the page source|
|Ctrl+F3||Save the page as text|
|Shift+F3||Full save of the web page, including images etc|
|Ctrl+Shift+F3||Save the page as a Drawfile|
|F8||View the page source code in a text editor|
|Open the print dialogue box|
|Page Down||Scroll down by one page|
|Page Up||Scroll up by one page|
|Cursor Down||Scroll down one line|
|Ctrl+Cursor Down||Go to the bottom of the page|
|Cursor Up||Scroll up one line|
|Ctrl+Cursor Up||Go to the top of the page|
|F11||Open the scale view window|
|Ctrl+Q||Reduce scale of view|
|Ctrl+W||Increase scale of view|
|Ctrl+Shift+Q||Reduce scale of view by 10%|
|Ctrl+Shift+W||Increase scale of view by 10%|
|Shift+F11||View box outlines. This may be useful if you are creating your own web page. Cyan marks the content's edge, magenta marks the padding's edge and yellow marks the margin's edge.|
|F5||Reload the current page|
|Ctrl+F5, Ctrl+R||Reload the current page and any images and style sheets that the page uses|
|Esc||Stop the current page loading|
|F1||Open the documentation contents page in a new window|
|F2||Move the caret to URL bar and clear it to "www."|
|F4||Open the text search window|
|F6||Open the hotlist management window|
|F7||Open the local history window|
|Ctrl+F7||Open the global history window|
|Ctrl+F2||Close the window|