Preview web pages before you go there in Safari on the Mac

The Apple MacBook is a popular choice of computer for home and work.

Most web pages have links on them and some have a lot. The question is, are they worth visiting? What if you could peek at them without actually going there. You can! Here’s how to do it in Safari.

This is a brilliant feature of Safari and normally when you are faced with links on web pages you can click them to see the linked-to page, then click the browser's back button to return to the page you were reading, or you can open the link in a new tab and read it later.

This is a tedious process and a better way is to open a pop-up preview window to show the page that is linked to without leaving the current page.

This is a hidden feature of Safari and many people do not realise that it exists because you wouldn’t think to try. In fact, the feature may not even be enabled on your Mac. So before showing how to preview web pages, 

1 Open System Preferences

Go to the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen and select System Preferences.

Open System Preferences from the Apple menu in OS X

2 Open Trackpad

The Safari preview facility we are going to use is a trackpad gesture, so click the Trackpad icon in System Preferences.

System Preferences on the Apple Mac is the place to customise the configuration settings

3 Enable previews

Select the Point & Click tab and tick the item called Look up & data detectors. Don’t be too surprised if this is not enabled on your Mac. The title for this feature is really obscure and you couldn’t guess what it actually does. Even the animated example isn’t that clear. It's not surprising you haven't discovered this Safari feature.

Customise the Trackpad gestures in OS X on the Apple Mac. Use swipes to perform actions.

4 Find some links

Now you need to open Safari and go to a web page that has one or more links. You can try this on if you want. Position the mouse over a link on the page.

Safari web browser on the Apple Mac has hidden features

5 Preview the page

Tap the trackpad with three fingers and a second or so later, a window pops up with a preview of the web page. You can click it to go there or click elsewhere to close it. The important thing to note is that you don’t leave the current web page.

Use the preview gesture in Safari on the Apple Mac and see the web pages that links point to without going there

6 Read it later

Did that web page look interesting? Is it something you might want to read later? Click the button in the top right corner of the pop-up window, Add to Reading List.

Add web pages to the Reading List in Safari on the Apple Mac and read them later

7 Open the sidebar

Let’s suppose you now want to read that web page. Click the button in Safari’s toolbar to open the sidebar on the left in the browser window. Select the middle tab, the reading list, and here you can see the page we just added.

Open the sidebar in Safari and select the reading tab. Click articles to read them

8 Read articles

You can read articles saved to the reading list now, later, tomorrow or next week. They stay there until you remove them. Just click an item in the sidebar to view the page.

Open the sidebar in Safari and select the reading tab. Click articles to read them

9 Manage the reading list

When you have read an item in the reading list, it can be removed by right clicking it and selecting Remove Item. Notice the other options to open the item in a new tab or a new window, and to mark it as unread. All these are useful functions.

Manage the saved web pages in the Reading List in Safari on OS X

Make use of these two great features in Safari – preview web pages before you go there and add the interesting ones to the reading list so that you can read them later.



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