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Computer user

Computer mouse (James Gardiner)

?? Help ??

To get the most out of browsing the website, we suggest you look at the guidance below.

 

KEY POINT

  • Drop-down menus - The site works best if you navigate using the drop-down menus.  These use JavaScript.  Most people have JavaScript enabled.  But if you don't, you need to activate JavaScript.  See Navigation section below for details.

Computer (James Gardiner)

Introduction

There are two types of information on this Help page :

We've indicated which sections are only 'general information' - for instance by using a different background colour - this panel is an example.

Also each of these general sections has a green heading as follows :

[general information]

We've placed most of these sections at the ends of each topic, or near the bottom of the page.

Please forgive us if (at times) we seem to be spelling out the blindingly obvious.

Display

Display - Screen resolution

Apple computer

Most text on the site is single-column, with a simple layout.  Therefore the site is best viewed at lower resolutions - such as :

At the lowest resolution (640 x 480) usually you will need to use the full width of the screen to view the full width of the website (then you don't need to scroll horizontally).  So if you're using a second pane (eg Search, Favorites, or History) you need to close it.  Alternatively press the Full Screen F11 function key.

You can change your screen's resolution if needed (details below).

'What's my current screen resolution?'

Click the following link to find out your screen resolution setting (uses JavaScript).

To change your screen resolution in Windows : [general information]

  • Go to the Display settings - in some Windows versions this is done by:
    Start Menu > Settings > Control Panel > Display > Settings tab > Screen area slider or

This shouldn't require a reboot - so long as you keep to the same colour depth (eg 16-bit).

Computer mouse

Display - Changing the text size [general information]

You can adjust the size of text on a website by changing the browser setting.  For instance with Internet Explorer - click on View, then Text Size, then select the size you prefer.  The current setting is indicated (by a bullet).

If you have a scroll-wheel mouse, there's an easier way - you can adjust the text size by moving the scroll wheel while you hold down the Ctrl key.

Display - Full-screen setting (F11 key) [general information]

Most browsers have a full-screen setting.  Normally you use the F11 function key to toggle it on or off.  Full-screen viewing allows you to see more of the web page and less clutter (eg toolbars).  Also, less scrolling is needed.

With Opera's full-screen setting you see literally only the page itself (so long as you hide the taskbar).

Laptop computer

Navigating

Fishing boat navigation compass (Tain and District Museum Trust - Scotland)
Fishing boat compass
Tain Museum - Scotland
(courtesy of SCRAN)

Ways of navigating the site :

Each of these is described below.

Navigating - Using the drop-down menus (top of pages)

Most of the site's pages have drop-down menus.  These are the best way of navigating the site.

To return to the drop-down menus anytime, just press the Home key, which takes you to the top of any page.

JavaScript (JS) is used to operate the menus.  So, in order to see the menus, it's crucial that you have JavaScript enabled (ie switched on) in you browser's settings.  For example, in Internet Explorer this can be done via Tools > Internet Options.

Normally, if you enable JavaScript, it doesn't pose a security risk - so long as you've followed the normal precautions for safe computing - such as :

If no JavaScript - If you don't have JavaScript enabled, you can still use the site, but navigation is less easy - you have to use the static sitemap (details below).  To help you, we've also provided a few links at the top of each page, to key pages (links similar to those at the bottom of pages).  These links at the top only stay visible if the drop-down menus don't appear.

Page highlighting is used to enhance the menus - in other words the page you're browsing is highlighted (with a background colour) on the menu.  This allows you to see where you are in the menu structure.  If the page appears more than once on the menus, all the instances are highlighted - eg links to the 'What's new' page.

Status bar - On some menu items we've used the status bar at the bottom left of the screen to display more information (instead of it just displaying the page's filename).

Tooltips - With a few menu items, a tooltip text box appears next to the item (after a short delay).  This too provides more information.

Links to sections of pages - Most items on the menus are complete pages.  However, a few take you to sections of pages (eg 'Help').

Completeness - Almost all the site's pages have an item on the menus.

Duplication - A few items appear more than once on the menus (such as "Our aims" and "What's new").

Development - We continue to experiment with the menus and welcome your views.

Our thanks to Milonic Solutions Limited   - suppliers of the menu software.

Navigating - Using the sitemap

What's it look like?

It has a similar format to sitemaps on other websites - it's a bulleted list of the web pages on the site, in a logical order, with groups of items progressively indented to show the structure.  It resembles the table of contents (ToC) of a book.  Each item has a link.

On our site, the sitemap is an exact replica of the items on the drop-down menus, and it's in the same order - but it's arranged in a single-column list.

Why use the sitemap?

Generally, when navigating the site, it's preferable to use the drop-down menus (and the cross-referencing links within the text of each page).

However, we've included the sitemap for three reasons :

  1. You can print it out - it gives an excellent overview of the site as hardcopy.
    - Details below.
  2. You can use it to imitate 'frames', for quick navigation of the site.
    - Details below.
  3. It's essential for navigation if JavaScript isn't enabled on your computer (the drop-down menus rely on JavaScript).
    - Details below.

The two versions of the sitemap

The website provides two (slightly different) versions of the sitemap :

  1. a popup sitemap  =BEST - as it's always up-to-date.
    It's generated in real time by JavaScript (dynamic HTML), using the current data in the drop-down menus.
  2. (a static sitemap - This is a recent copy of the popup sitemap.  However, usually it's slightly out-of-date, so ignore this version unless you haven't got JavaScript enabled.)

Accessing the popup sitemap

The sitemap window

The popup sitemap window is a 'reduced' browser display - there's no toolbars etc at the top.
However, the static sitemap window is a normal browser display.

1. Printing the sitemap - You may find it helpful to print out the sitemap (it uses around 4 pages of A4).  It's best to print the popup sitemap (rather than the static sitemap) - this ensures it's 100% up-to-date.  To print it, right-click on any blank/whitespace part of the sitemap panel, then choose 'Print' from the menu that appears.

2. Using either version of the sitemap to imitate 'frames' for navigation (optional)

Introduction - A few websites still use 'frames'.  These make navigation easier (using a list of links in a tall, narrow left-hand panel).  However, they have disadvantages and nowadays are 'deprecated' - in other words, frowned upon.  We describe below a neat way you can use the Sitemap to imitate frames.  This gives you the best of both worlds - the navigation advantages, but without any of the disadvantages.  Follow the instructions below.

Instructions - Once you've called up either version of the sitemap, clicking on any of its links will open the chosen page in the other (parent) browser window.  This allows you to imitate web page frames as follows :

Sitemap window =list of links
(scrolls)
main (parent) window

3. Using the sitemap if you haven't got JavaScript enabled

Over 90% of computer users have JavaScript enabled. So most people can ignore this section.

If you haven't got JavaScript enabled, the drop-down menus and popup sitemap won't work (as they use JavaScript).

To cope with this, we've added a 'static sitemap' to the site.  This enables you to navigate the site.  However, bear in mind that the static sitemap is only a snapshot file and it becomes progressively out-of-date until we next re-create/update it.  It's a standard (static) HTML web page, produced by us and updated periodically, using the data in the drop-down menus.

Accessing the static sitemap:   At the top of most pages there's a link to it.
Note:  Normally, the link is hidden after a couple of seconds by the JavaScript-powered drop-down menus.  But if you haven't got JavaScript enabled, the menus won't appear - so the static sitemap link remains visible.

Navigating - Using links

In addition to the usual links within the text of each page, the following links are provided :

The drop-down menus at the top of most pages :  Details of these are given above.

Links - at the top of each page : These are quick links to a few key pages.  However, if the drop-down menus appear successfully, they'll cover up the links at the top (after a couple of seconds).  This is deliberate.

Links - at the bottom of each page :  These are quick links to a few key pages such as the Homepage, Help and Contact us.  However, generally it's best to go to the top of the page (eg just by pressing the Home key) and then use the comprehensive drop-down menus.

Links - the list of headings (ToC) near the top of most pages :  Near the top of many pages (below the drop-down menus and the page heading) we've placed a list of the headings used on the page.  This is like a Table of Contents (ToC) for the page.  Many of them have links to the headings themselves.

Links - External   versus Internal :

Note - In some cases, where we mention another website (such as the Charity Commission) and give a link, it doesn't have a red double-arrow.  This is because it's an internal link - it doesn't go directly to that website, but goes to another part of our site where we give further information on that organisation (including an external link).

Exceptions - We've not used red double-arrows on the following pages or sections :

Links - Style :

Image links :  We've added only a few links on images.

Links - understanding the information on the status bar : [general information]

If the status bar is visible in your browser, it tells you where each link will take you.

The status bar is usually at the bottom of the screen, above the taskbar.  If it's not visible, you can configure the browser to display it.

When your mouse pointer hovers over a link, the status bar will display the name of the target ('http: //www' etc).  Typical examples are listed below (we've added bold for clarity) :

The explanations above also apply to the information in a browser's address bar (which is usually above the main window).

Links - opening in a new (second) window :[general information]

  • Sometimes it's useful to open a web page in a new (second) window of the browser (so that you can still refer to the existing window).
    To do this in Internet Explorer:  Hold down the Shift key when you click on the link.
  • You can switch instantly between the two (or more) windows by clicking on their entries on the taskbar at the foot of the screen (the "running programs" buttons).  When you do this, the page doesn't have to be downloaded again.  At any stage you can close any of the windows without affecting the others.
  • We've configured most of the external links     (see above) so they open automatically in a second window.
  • Most browsers have tab browsing - which provides multiple windows automatically.

Searching a single page :[general information]

Most browsers allow you to search an individual page.  For example with Internet Explorer use:  Edit > Find (on This Page)... (or just press Ctrl-F).

Searching using 'Hilitext' : [general information]

'Hilitext' is a small utility produced by Fanix   - an Australian software publisher located in Brisbane.

The program makes navigation and searching easier, especially when you use its wildcards ('?' and '*') and Options.  We've found it an indispensable program with unexpected uses.

Fanix describe Hilitext as :

" ... a text highlighting tool, which instantly highlights all occurrences of specific words, phrases etc in your web pages, e-mail messages and/or other documents at your request.  It helps you seek information more quickly and hence saves you a lot of valuable searching time."

Shareware - The latest version of the program (v1.5) is shareware (expiring after 30 days unless you purchase it).  It works with Windows 2000 onwards.

Freeware - Earlier versions were freeware.  The last freeware version ('LFV') can still be downloaded from various sites on the Net - for example page 12 of 321download.com  . It's version 1.1, dated 2001.  It works with Windows 98 onwards.

Navigating - Using your browser's 'History' panel [general information]

Most browsers include an option to display a History panel - typically on the left of the screen.  This lists the pages visited for each website, and includes links to them.  To display (or hide) the History panel in Internet Explorer, select View > Explorer Bar > History (or just press Ctrl-H).

Navigating - Using a scroll-wheel mouse [general information]

Computer mouse

Computer mouse

A scroll-wheel mouse makes navigation much easier and quicker.  It means you don't need to use the right-hand vertical scroll bar so much.  Preferably get an optical mouse (not a mechanical one).

Incidentally, the vertical scroll bar on the right-hand side is useful in giving you an idea of how far down you are in a long page.

Navigating - Keyboard shortcuts [general information]

Computer keyboard

Don't forget keyboard shortcuts.  For example in most browsers :

  • The Home key takes you to the top of a web page
    (useful for accessing the drop-down menus)
  • The End key takes you to the bottom of a web page (eg to access the site search box)
  • The PgUp and PgDn keys take you up (or down) a screen page
  • The Back arrow symbol Back key takes you to the previous page you've viewed.

Navigating - Using Opera as your browser [general information]

Opera has useful features for aiding navigation which are not available in Internet Explorer.  For example, the two links options :

  • View > Panels > Links displays a left-hand panel which lists the links on the current web page (in the order they occur).
    The links shown comprise all the links: (1) to other parts of the same page, (2) to other pages on the same website, and (3) to other websites.
  • View > Links ... (or Ctrl-Alt-L) converts the main window into a similar list of all the links.  However, in this case the list gives two columns - link and address.  These can be sorted.  Also, this list can be copied to the clipboard.

Navigating - Using other browsers [general information]

Programs such as Firefox and Chrome also offer useful enhancements.

Site design and compatibility

Hexagon of different colours

Most of the site uses a simple design and standard, well-established software, components, fonts and the like.  This should maximise compatibility with different types of computers and browsers.  Contact us if you get any problems.

We haven't used:   frames, Flash, audio, video, blinking text, unreasonably small font sizes.

There's one animated image.

JavaScript - The drop-down menus (details above) use JavaScript.  So, to see the site properly, you need to ensure that (a) you use a browser which is compatible with JavaScript, and (b) your browser options are configured so that JavaScript is enabled.  According to W3Schools  , 90% of users have JavaScript enabled.  The popup sitemap (details above) also uses JavaScript.

Files

Pages - the filename, title and heading :[general information]

Bear in mind these are different :

  • The filename of a page
    Example:    'help.shtml'
    This is displayed on the address bar, and also on the status bar if a link points to it.
  • The title of a page is a description added by the author, stored in a hidden part of the page (the <title> tag in the head).
    Example:  'SITE HELP - help with using this website (navigation, printing, screen resolution etc) - www.CharityBags.org.uk - CharityBags'
    This is displayed :
    • on the top bar of the browser window
    • on the browser's button on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen
    • in the History panel of the browser
  • The heading of the page is just the heading visible in the text at the top of the page.
    Example (current page):    '?? Help ??'

Images

Please see the About images page.

Size of site

Floppy disk (Scran)

When last counted; figures approximate :

Printing out   Microsoft Windows Print icon Print icon Print icon Print icon Print icon

Inkjet printer (by Oxford Designers and Illustrators)

Printer-friendly pages - Most of the site's pages are printer-friendly.  Their full width should print out (although page breaks will be random).

Not so Printer-friendly pages - There are a few such pages.  Two reasons for this are :

If you print these pages with your usual printer settings, the right-hand margin may be missing.

One way of solving this problem is to tell your printer to output in landscape (horizontal) format rather than the default format of portrait (vertical).

More on printing : [general information]

Print Preview - To display a print preview (in Internet Explorer), click File then click Print Preview.

Selecting pages - When printing, remember you can select individual A4 "print" pages to print, without having to print all the web page.  You can select the appropriate ones by using Print Preview first - this will minimise printing costs.

Copy-and-paste to a word processor - In some cases this is a useful alternative to printing out via your browser.  Do it as follows :

  • highlight the part of the web page you want with your mouse
  • copy it to the clipboard (Ctrl-C)
  • then paste it into a word processor (Ctrl-V)
  • ... and print it out from there.

This allows you to modify page breaks and headers/footers.

Adobe Acrobat PDF files [general information]

Adobe Acrobat PDF icon
Adobe Acrobat PDF icon
Adobe Acrobat PDF icon

There are a few documents on the site in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.  They have a "pdf" file extension - eg "report.pdf".  You can view these while on the site and/or download them.

To view Acrobat files, you need to have the Acrobat reader program installed on your computer.  The program is free.  It's on the cover disks (CDs/DVDs) of many monthly computer magazines, and also can be downloaded from Adobe's website  .

To download Acrobat files :

  • place your mouse over the link to the file
  • right-click for a menu, and
  • choose to save the file to your disk (choose Save Target As ... in Internet Explorer).

Microsoft Word files [general information]

There are some files on the site in Word format.

These have a file extension of "doc" - eg "charities.doc"

For more on this (downloading and/or viewing), see the Microsoft Word help page.

Viewing a site offline [general information]

Computer user (by James Gardiner)

After visiting a website, usually you can still view it when offline.

You can view it offline in two ways :

  1. Caching pages (temporary) :
    • The web pages you've visited are normally stored (cached) on your computer by your browser, and retained in your "Temporary internet files" folder (usually for several weeks, depending on your choice of settings).
    • To view the pages offline, run your browser as usual, but select "Work offline" or similar - for example click File, then click Work offline.
    • To see all the website offline, you'll need first to access all the pages when you're online.
      With our site, you can do this two ways :
      (a) use the 'popup sitemap' (the easiest method), or (b) use the drop-down menus. See Navigation section above for details.  With either method, you systematically work your way down the list of links to pages, briefly loading each.
    • You can get net accelerator programs which load all the web pages automatically while you are browsing.
  2. Computer hard disk (by Oxford Designers and Illustrators)
    Hard drive
    Saving pages (permanent) :
    • You can save individual web pages to your hard drive permanently - for example click File, then click Save as ...
      You can do this online, or offline from the cache (see above).
    • You can get programs which will save all the pages of a website to your hard drive automatically - such as MetaProducts Offline Explorer.

Notes

The examples above assume your browser is Internet Explorer.

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Help (Computing/IT) :
Related pages and Useful links