Internet browsers - bookmarks and tabs

General Information

Internet browsers are one of the most commonly used applications on computers. There are 4 important things to know about using web browsers - how to access a website, how to go back and forth between web pages, how to use bookmarks, and how to use tabs.

The examples below show where you can do these things in both the Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer browsers.

Accessing a website

There are two basic ways to access a website:

  • If you know the address (the url) - type the address in the space provided
  • If you don't know the address (the url) - you need to search for the website using a search engine such as Google.


Exercise: open your browser and in the space for the address type and then press the enter key. You have just entered the address for the Google search engine website and are taken to that site.


Moving back and forth between web pages

The two arrow buttons in the button bar of the browser allow you to move back and forth between pages that you have already seen without having to retype their url or search for the page again. Pressing the back button (the arrow pointing to the left) will take you to the previous page, while pressing the forward button (the arrow pointing to the right) will take you to the next page.


Bookmarks (Favorites)

Just like a bookmark in a book makes it quick and easy to find a particular page in the book, a bookmark in an internet browser makes is quick and easy to find a particular website. You should always bookmark websites that you access frequently (email login pages, news sites etc) so that you don't have to search for, or type, the url every time you want to go to that page.

Note: in Microsoft Internet Explorer, bookmarks are called favorites, but we will use the term bookmarks in this tutorial for the sake of simplicity.

To see the current list of bookmarks in your browser (each browser usually has a small set of default bookmarks), click on the Bookmarks menu in Mozilla Firefox or the Favorites menu in Internet Explorer. In both cases, at the top of the menu you will see some options to add and organize your bookmarks, and below that, you will see the list of bookmarks. To go to the website marked by a bookmark, just select the name from the list by clicking on it.

Creating/adding a bookmark

First go to that the website that you want to bookmark using your browser, then:

In Mozilla Firefox: go to the Bookmarks menu and select Bookmark This Page

In Internet Explorer: go to the Favorites menu and select Add to Favorites

In both cases, a little pop-up window appears which lets you give the bookmark whatever name you want, and also lets you choose a sub-folder of the Bookmarks/Favorites folder in which to put the bookmark (if you have made sub-folders in it).

Once you have added the bookmark, it appears in the Bookmarks list.

Organizing your bookmarks

You can organize your bookmarks using folders and sub-folders just as you can with files on your computer. To do this, first open your browser, and then

In Mozilla Firefox: go to the Bookmarks menu and select Organize Bookmarks

In Internet Explorer: go to the Favorites menu and select Organize Favorites
In both cases a window will open which lets you create folders, rename and move bookmarks etc.


Exercise: open a web browser, go to the website and save the site as a bookmark/favorite.



Tabs allow you to have several websites open at once, without having to also open a separate browser window for each website. Using tabs can save a lot of space on your desktop, because you only have one browser window open (instead of several) if you want to look at multiple websites at the same time. The same functionalities are available in each tab.

Creating a tab

To create a new tab in both Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer go the File menu and select New Tab, or use the Ctrl-T shortcut. The browser window will change slightly to create space for a row of tabs just above the website window. To move between the tabs, just click on the tab that you want.


Exercise: open a browser and go to the Google website ( Now create a new tab and use that tab to open the University of Geneva website ( Now go back to the Google website by accessing the first tab.