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Browser Tips for Productivity

We tend to think of the browsers we use on computers as something that should just work. We all know that’s not the reality, as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release), Google’s Chrome, and Apple’s Safari all have their own unique quirks and settings.

However, there are features and settings that, when used, can become habit-forming and make our use of browsers more productive with web-applications like Enterprise Business Systems.

Managing Tabs and Windows

When you click a link on a website, the next screen either opens in the same browser tab, or in a new tab or window. The website dictates which will happen. Generally, links open in a different tab or window if:

  • The next page is in a different website or system
  • There are no security concerns over another window
  • There is no risk of locking data (e.g. ‘locked pernr’)
  • The technology of the next page is incompatible with the current page

There are times when we would like browsers to behave differently. For example, if compiling information from two reports, or looking at a prior action you took while initiating a new action, it would be helpful to have two items open at once.

Controlling the default behavior

If the website determines a link should open in a different screen, whether that different screen is a new tab or new window is determined by the browser. Some browsers have settings that influence that behavior. Here are links to directions:

Changing what is in a Tab or Window

Duplicate tab

Using the right mouse button to click the link gives a number of options. These may include: Open, Open in new tab, or Open in new window, or Open in new private (incognito) window. These are not available in all web-based products, including the EBS Portal. There is a way to accomplish this, however.

The workaround is to open the same screen in a separate tab, then click the link, resulting in two different screens in the same system. Be warned! If you do this, you must close all windows before logging off, or you run the risk of leaving your session active on that computer and locking records! Here are the directions for each browser:

  • Internet Explorer – right mouse click and choose “Duplicate tab”
  • Firefox ESR – hold down the “Control” button while clicking on the reload icon next to the URL
  • Google Chrome – right mouse click on the browser tab and choose “Duplicate”
  • Apple Safari – use the “cmd” and “L” keys at the same time

Changing tabs to windows

Often you have multiple tabs in your browser, but would rather have multiple windows. Some browsers have commands for changing a tab to a new window, but there is a simple technique that works for all supported browsers. Hold down the left-mouse button on the tab you want to move to a new window, then pull the tab down (or just shake the mouse). A new window will open with that tab on it.

Changing windows to tabs

Now, suppose you have too many windows open and want to put the tabs back together into less windows. Click and hold the browser tab with the left-mouse button. Drag the tab over to the browser window where you want it, and drop it next to the tabs of that window.

changing windows to tabs 

Back to Top

On many of the longer forms and screens, it would be ideal to also have the toolbar or buttons at the bottom of the screen.  Pressing the Control and Home buttons on the keyboard at the same time will take the browser all the way back to the top of the page.

Horizontal Scrolling

In products like Microsoft Excel (or the SAP GUI for Windows), where information may be wider than one screen, the wheel on the mouse can scroll both vertically and horizontally. Horizontal scrolling is done by holding down the Shift key while using the mouse wheel.

Web-based applications (the SAP GUI for Windows’s replacement) use a different method for horizontal scrolling. Hover the mouse cursor on the scroll bar (not on the slider button), hold down the left-mouse button, and use the scroll wheel as before. Note, this may not work with all mice. With some mice you tilt the scroll wheel side-to-side, or software add-ins may be required.

horizontal scroll bar 

Selecting Multiple Records in the SAP GUI for HTML

A web-based display replaces most items that formerly used the SAP GUI for Windows. In this application, you can still do some of your favorite shortcuts.

To select multiple rows of a table, hold down the control key while clicking the records. To select a consecutive range of records, select the first record, hold down the shift key, then choose the last record.

If there are values you use frequently, you can recall them in an individual field. Place the cursor in the field, then use the down arrow key to see a list of values you typed in before. Use the up/down arrow and enter keys to select a value.