Navigating With Lynx
How to Navigate Using LYNX
Part 1: How Lynx Works
Lynx allows you to perform two of the most basic navigational tasks:
read documents and follow links to
When reading a document, hit the space bar when you want to go to the
next screen, and press either the 'b' key or the '-' (minus/hyphen) key
when you want to go back to the previous screen.
Links are pointers which can take you to other documents, or to another
section of an individual document, such as the explanatory notes in the
body of a large document. At the top of this document there is a
table of contents which serves two purposes: first, it informs you what
information this document contains, and second, it provides you with the
ability to jump directly to the section which interests you the most.
Embedded in this sentence is another example of a jump-to link, which
will take you back to the top of the page.
Some documents are merely a list of links. Camera Obscura's
front page is an example of this type of document.
Whenever you choose a link, Lynx moves to a different document, or a
different place in the same document. Even if the document is on a
computer on the other side of the globe, Lynx will retrieve
it automatically and almost instantaneously--depending, of course, on the
time of day and the number of other people who are trying to access the
document you selected. No matter where you are, the peak time for internet
activity on the extends from approximately noon to midnight.
Part 2: Moving to and Choosing Links
If you don't have Lynx set to display a bracketed number to the left of
each link, you should--especially if you're using a speech-synthesizer.
To set Lynx to display numbered links:
To choose a link, simply type the corresponding number, and then hit
either enter or press the carriage return key. Here are a few links for
you to practice on--simply type the number that appears in the brackets
and press enter...
- Press 'o' to load the "Lynx Options Menu"
- Press 'k' to activate the "(K)eypad as Arrows or numbered links"
- Press any key to change the value of the option from "numbers act as
arrows" to "links are numbered"
- Press the enter key or hit the carriage return.
- Type a '>' (greater-than sign) to save this setting in the .lynxrc
file, so that everytime you load Lynx, a bracketed number will appear to
the immediate left of a link, alerting you to its presence.
You can also navigate from link to link by using the
arrow keys on the keyboard. The up and down arrows move to the next and
to the previous link, respectively. The current link (that is, the link
to which you would be taken if you pressed enter) will be displayed on the
terminal in an easily distinguishable manner--usually in reverse video,
although the actual appearance of the highlighted link depends on the type
of terminal you're using.
Once you've reached the link you want to go to, press enter (or hit the
carriage return) to choose that link.
Use the following list of links to practice navigating with the up
and down arrow keys by moving from one link to the other and then
pressing enter (or carriage return) to discover where the highlighted link
Part 3: Online Help
Lynx has two built-in help features. If you type 'h' or '?', Lynx will
generate a menu, which lists a number of help files as well as the lynx
The second help feature is a list of keystroke commands, which you can
view by pressing 'k'. Try it, and remember to press either 'u' or the
left-arrow key to return to this page.
Part 4: A Short Summary of Some Simple Lynx
- Use the spacebar to move forward through a document page by page, and
use 'b' or '-' (the minus key) to go back a page.
- There are two ways to follow a link:
- If the link is preceded by a bracketed number, simply type the number, and
then press either the carriage return or enter.
- Move to the desired link with the up-arrow or down-arrow keys.
When the link you want to follow is highlit (displayed in reverse
video) press either the carriage return key or enter.
- Once you've followed a link, you can always return to the
document you just left by pressing either the 'u' key or the left-arrow
- You can search for a specified text-string in a document by pressing
'/' (the forward slash). To find the next occurance of the
text-string, press 'n'.
- Whenever you load a searchable index, Lynx will prompt you to
press either an upper or lower case 's'. If you want to perform a
case-sensitive search, press shift-s; if you want to perform a
case-insensitive search, simply press an 's', and Lynx will prompt you to
"Enter a database query:" Type in the string for which you want to
search, and then press enter to execute the search.
- If you want hard copy of the current document, press the 'p' key.
Pressing 'p' generates the "Print Options Menu", which will present
you with a choice of writing out a copy of the document to a file, sending
it to yourself via email, or printing it. While email might seem like an
odd choice, if you're on a terminal where you can't print out a copy of
the document or can't save it as a file on your remote home directory, email
might be the only way you can get a copy of the file. It's also a good
way to send a copy of a document to a friend.
- Given the nature of hypertext and the web, it is often difficult to
relocate a resource or a really cool site a couple of days after you first
stumbled accross it. To preserve a customized lists of your favorite
links in "bookmark files" follow the following steps:
- Press 'o' to load the "Lynx Options Menu"
- Press 'b' to activate the "(B)ookmark file" text-entry field.
- To change the name of the bookmark file from the
default--lynx_bookmarks.html--hold down the control key and press the 'u'
key, then type in a filename that
- corresponds to the type of links contained in the file (for example,
- will be easy for you to remember, and
- which ends with an .html extention
- Press enter or the carriage return key to accept the value you set.
- To exit the Lynx Options Menu press either 'r', which signals Lynx
to use the file you just defined as the (B)ookmark file for the duration
of the current session, or '>' (greater-than), which instructs Lynx to
use the file you just defined as the default (B)ookmark file.
- Once you have defined your personal (B)ookmark file, typing the letter
'a' followed by 'd' (to save the currently displayed document), 'l' (to save
the highlighted link), or 'c' to cancel the operation.
- Note: choosing 'l' the is perfect way to save a link that
sounds interesting, but to which Lynx was unable to connect.
- Press 'v' to view the bookmark file, and use the up and down arrows
to move to a desired link.
- If, for any reason, the screen becomes garbled, hold down the control
key and type 'w' or 'l' to refresh the screen. To reload the current page,
hold down the control key and type 'r'.
- Camera Obscura
- back to the beginning of this document
What's the Web Spun From?
Most of the easily accessible information contained on the internet is
based on two technological protocols: hypertext--files marked up
in HTML (hypertext markup language)--and gopher, an information retreival
protocol developed at the University of Minnesota.
You can find explore the technical underpinnings and inner workings
of the World Wide Web (WWW or W3 for short) at the following
An excellent indication of the networked nature of the Web is that the
documents listed above are located on computers in Switzerland and
comments? criticism? corrections? suggestions?
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