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by Ray DeCosta

Q. A friend suggested that I use the middle button on my mouse in order to make my Internet surfing more convenient. What was he talking about?

A. Most Internet browsers are configured to open a link in a new tab when the middle mouse button (instead of the left button) is used to click it. This feature has been available for some time now, but a lot of people aren't familiar with it and haven't ever used it.

Called "tabbed browsing", you can now have several web pages open at the same time and switch back and forth between them. For instance, this makes it very convenient for you to compare three different web pages for prices on an item you are considering purchasing. Your browser will show the title of each page in a tab and you can view any page by simply clicking the tab of the one you want to see.

Using the middle button is also convenient when you are on a very complex home page such as a typical news website. Clicking a link with the left button takes you to an interesting page but when you hit the "Back" button, that home page has to load all over again. To add to the annoyance, you often lose your place as well!

However, if you use the middle button to go to the other page, clicking the "X" on the resulting tab will close that page and return you directly to the home page with no reloading.

Published: Courier 8/1/10 - Page 5C