Mac 101: Safari 3

Safari is an Internet web browser included with Mac OS X. It includes features to help maximize your online experience. You can use tabbed browsing to cut down on window clutter, block pop-up windows, make widgets out of websites, and have Safari automatically fill in your personal information when you're making online purchases.

This guide will help you familiarize yourself with the look and feel of Safari, as well as a few customizations that help you personalize your browsing experience.

Although most of this information applies to other versions of Safari too, some applies to Safari 3.x only.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

The Safari web browser window

These are the elements that make up a Safari window with a sample Apple website shown. Some of these elements can be customized, as described below.

  1. Back / Forward button *
  2. Stop / Reload button *
  3. "Open in Dashboard" button *
  4. Add Bookmark button *
  5. Address (URL) field *
  6. RSS feed button, or SnapBack button (in Safari 3.x and earlier) *
  7. Google search field *
  8. Bookmarks Bar
  9. Web page content
  10. Scrollbar
  11. Resize control

Note: 1 through 7 are collectively called "the toolbar". You can customize your Safari toolbar if you wish, as described below.

Set a home page

A home page is the webpage that your browser starts on when you open a new window. To set your Safari home page:

  1. Navigate the web page you would like to set as your home page (by going to, for example).
  2. From the Safari menu choose Preferences. Or press Command-, (the Command key and the comma key).

  3. Click the General icon.
  4. Click "Set to Current Page".
  5. Close the preferences window.


Adjusting the size of the Safari Window

If you want to make your Safari window larger or smaller, drag the resize control icon in the bottom right corner (as shown above) until the window is the size you want. Reducing the size of the window may cause scrollbars to appear. If you open additional Safari windows, they will be the same size.

Change the size of web page text

You can make some web page text larger or smaller by pressing the Command key with the plus (+) or minus (-) key, respectfully, or by choosing Make Text Bigger or Make Text Smaller from the View menu. Text that can be resized will become larger or smaller (text that is embedded in a graphic may not change size). This may have no effect on some webpages.

You can also press Command-0 (zero), or choose Make Text Normal Size from the View menu, to return text to the default size.

You can also add a Text Size button to your toolbar if you wish (see below).

Customize the toolbar

If you want to change the items that are on your Safari toolbar:

  1. Choose Customize Toolbar from the Safari View menu.

  2. The sheet shown below will appear, allowing you to drag individual favorite items into the toolbar, or rearrange the toolbar. Or, you can drag the default set to your toolbar if you want to go back to that.
  3. Click Done when finished.


Private Browsing

For privacy, you can choose Private Browsing from the Safari menu. When private browsing is turned on, web pages are not added to the history, items are automatically removed from the Downloads window, information isn't saved for AutoFill (including names and passwords), cookies are not retained, cache files are not retained, and searches are not added to the pop-up menu in the Google search box.

Clearing history

Safari keep tracks of webpages you've recently visited. If you want to manually clear your browsing history, choose Clear History from the History menu.

If you want Safari to automatically clear the history after a certain period of time, or not at all, choose Preferences from the Safari menu. Click the General icon. From the "Remove history items:" pop-up menu, choose your preferred setting (after one day, after one week, after two weeks, after one month, after one year, or manually). Until you close the window, you can still click the Back and Forward buttons to return to web pages you have opened.

Block pop-up windows

Some websites display "pop-up" windows that open automatically when you visit. Pop-up windows may display advertisements or other material, depending on the types of websites you visit. Some sites use pop-up windows to display more information about a selected item, or as a way for you to navigate to other areas of the site.

By default, pop-up window blocking is enabled in Safari 3 and later. You can choose to not block pop-up windows, or block them again later, by choosing and toggling Block Pop-Up Windows from the Safari menu. If a website isn't working the way you expect, you may need to deselect Block Pop-Up Windows.

Adding bookmarks

You can bookmark web pages so that you can quickly navigate to them without having to type the URL. To bookmark a site or webpage that you're currently viewing, choose Add Bookmark from the Bookmarks menu (or click the "+" button on your toolbar). You will be prompted to name your bookmark and choose where you want to keep it.

Searching for words in a page

To quickly find a word or phrase that's on a webpage, either press Command-F, or choose Find from the Edit menu, and type the word or phrase to find. Press Command-G or click Next to see the next occurrence of that text on the page.

Adding web clips to Dashboard

You can turn parts of a web page into a Dashboard widget in Mac OS X 10.5 or later. Click the Web Clip icon and select the part of the page you want to turn into a widget. Click Add and Safari opens your new widget in Dashboard. From there you can customize it with a selection of themes. Your new web clip widget stays updated, just like the website it was clipped from.

For example, you might make a Web Clip of the top 10 songs in iTunes:


Using Tabbed Browsing

Tabbed browsing lets you switch between multiple open web pages within a single Safari window. You can drag and drop the tabs to rearrange them, open one in a new browser window, or merge all your current windows into one tabbed window. Safari resizes each tab depending on how many you have open. You can even bookmark a set of tabs or revert to the tabs that were open when you last closed or quit Safari.

To open a new web page in a tab instead of a new window, Command-click any web page link. You can switch back and forth between tabs by simply clicking the tabs, or by pressing Shift-Command-] or Shift-Command-[ to navigate right or left through your tabs, respectively

To start with a new, blank tab press Command-T, or choose New Tab from the File menu.

Using RSS Feeds

Safari in Mac OS X 10.4 or later lets you view RSS (Really Simple Syndication) article feeds with a browser window. Many websites offer RSS feeds, and Safari allows you to view the content from multiple websites in one browser window. To do this, from the Bookmarks menu, choose Bookmarks Bar, then View All RSS Articles.

When you visit a website that offers an RSS field, a blue RSS label appears in the address field; click it to view the article summaries in its feed or click any article title to view the full article. If you're only interested in viewing certain types of articles in the feed, use the Search Articles field to enter your criteria. If you want to bookmark that RSS feed, choose Add Bookmark from the Bookmarks menu, type a name for the bookmark in the resulting dialog (such as "Apple News RSS"), and click Add.

Emailing Webpages


Ever search the Internet and find an article that you'd love to send to someone? With Safari, you easily can. You can send them a link to the page, or you can send them the page's entire contents, including all graphics and links that will work as long as the destination pages still exist. When you find a webpage that you'd like to send to someone:

  1. From the File menu, choose either Mail Contents of This Page or Mail Link to This Page.
  2. Mail opens and displays a new message window with either the webpage displayed in it, or a webpage link attached to it.
  3. Type an email address in the To field, type a message to your friend if you'd like, and then click Send to send it.

Search and SnapBack

Safari features built-in Google search directly in the browser. Just type what you're looking for in the Google field, press Return, and Google displays its search results in your browser window. As you explore your search results, Safari displays a SnapBack button in the Google field (it looks like a round, orange graphic with a white arrow), so you can instantly go back to your most recent Google search.

You might also see a SnapBack button appear in the URL address field if you start venturing away from the site that you originally started at; click the SnapBack button to go back to the last URL you typed or bookmark you chose.

Enabling AutoFill

If you're an online shopper, AutoFill can make entering all that Ship To information way easier. Safari gets this information from your Address Book card, and will automatically fill in any relevant information into webpage fields.

To enable AutoFill, choose Preferences from the Safari menu, click the AutoFill button, and select the "Using info from my Address Book card" checkbox. To make sure that your card is up to date, click the Edit button to open Address Book.

Tip: Want to learn more about Safari? Check out the built-in Safari Help guide on your Mac (in Safari, choose Safari Help from the Help menu).


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