Tips, tricks and tweaks for Maxthon 3
Don’t just stick with the usual browsers, says David Haward, try out Maxthon
Dodging in and out among the heavyweights of the browser wars are a few contenders that certainly deserve more than their fair share of publicity. Take Maxthon, for instance, a perfectly excellent web browser that has, already built into it, a range of features that would normally require the installation of numerous add-ons and suchlike.
Indeed, Maxthon 3 is not only bundled with juicy features aplenty, it also looks pretty nice to boot, plus it wipes the floor in terms of speed when compared to the latest version of Firefox and the offerings from Microsoft. You won’t go far wrong when it comes to using Maxthon, so to celebrate this otherwise fairly unknown browser, let’s have a look at some handy tips, tricks and tweaks that will make your browsing experience a little more entertaining.
The Maxthon Passport is a handy feature that allows you to synchronise and access your favourites, notes, settings and other Maxthon related goodies across any number of computers and devices. In essence, your web will travel with you, and in reality it works rather well.
To sign up for the Maxthon Passport, simply click on the Sign-Up link that appears as a separate box, when first installing or upgrading to Maxthon 3 or by clicking on the smiley face in the top-left corner, followed by the link next to it labelled ‘Login With Maxthon Passport’.
The wizard will then walk you through the process of setting up a free account and ask you which services you want to have synchronised by the Passport. After you’ve made your selections, the next time you log in on a different computer or smart device, the services will by synced and you’ll be able to enjoy your usual browsing experience.
Normally, having a free sign-up box appear when starting an application is a sure-fire way to have it ignored, but the Maxthon Passport is pretty good, so go ahead and give it a try.
Instead of launching a separate screen grabber or hitting the PrtScr button, with Maxthon you have the ability to take an image of a section of the page displayed or the entire area. In addition to taking the screenshot, you can also blur out some areas (bank details, for example); create caption bubbles of differing shapes and sizes and fill them with text; you can draw lines, arrows and highlight sections, should you so wish; then you can save the finished product as a JPG, PNG or BMP.
It’s very simple; all you need to do is ocate the page you want to grab the screenshot from. Then click on the arrow next to the camera icon in the top right of the screen. Select either ‘Snap Region’, or ‘Snap Whole Page’, do the necessary adjustments, and then click on the save (the disk icon) button and name it.
If there’s one thing that annoys most late night browsers of the internet, it’s sudden bright screens of white backgrounds and eye-watering text. In most cases, you shouldn’t really be surfing in the pitch black, but there are times when the other half may be sleeping and there’s work to be done. In that case, you need a night time mode.
With Maxthon loaded up, locate the right-facing double arrows (in the very top right of the screen)
Click them and a number of options will appear.
One of these is ‘Night Mode’, with an extension arrow to the right of it. The arrow will launch more configuration options for night mode, as well as activating it. To cancel Night Mode, simply click it again.
The options will allow you change the default colours, fonts and backgrounds, so the websites you visit in the dead of night will not only be easy on the eye, but they’ll also remain readable, while discrete.
While many can’t stand making wiggly lines on their screens to launch, close or otherwise control their browsing, there are some who revel in it and are actually quite good at making the thing on the screen appear to resemble the gesture itself.
To set up mouse gestures, click on the smiley face, locate ‘Options’, then scroll down the selections until you see ‘Mouse Gestures’ and click on it.
From here you can alter the default ‘Hold right button, then left click’, to one of your own making, as well as defining a custom gesture to initiate a command within the browser. It’s all very clever, although I’m still really naff at drawing even a simple gesture with a mouse. Sad really, isn’t it?
This tip is quite possibly one of the most awesome features of any browser ever. Let’s say, for example, you want to purchase a new printer. You have a few in mind but want to shop around for the best price and a list of accompanying features. What you need in this case is a split-screen affair, so you can measure up one site against another or one list of features versus another. Maxthon can help.
Hit F10, and the screen will split into two separate browser windows. Navigate to the first website, then with the separate set of tabs, along the top of the main window, navigate to the other. Split screen really is quite cool, and as far as I know Maxthon is the only one that does this. Please correct me if I’m wrong, though.
Drag and drop search
Another nice tip, this one. If you come across a phrase, title or name of something in among the normal text of a random web page, highlight it, then drag it onto the address bar to initiate a search of the text.
What many don’t realise is that within Maxthon itself, you have the ability to launch any ‘normal’ application or program. To start with, locate the arrows in the very top right again, click them, and select the first option in the menu, ‘External Tools’. This will launch a separate box with My Computer, Desktop, Notepad, Calc and Paint already populated within, but you can include your own by clicking on the plus sign, then browsing to the directory of the executable and clicking on it to add it to the relevant boxes.
Click on the ‘More’ button at the bottom of the window and fill in any extra arguments needed to run the program. Tick any of the boxes you want to have the program launch in a particular fashion, and click ‘OK’ when you’re ready. The application will now be added to the External Tools, ready to be launched.
One final clever trick and a feature that’s enabled by default in the new version of Maxthon is that of the auto pop-up video. If you’re on a site that has an embedded video and you hit the play button, Maxthon will add a box asking if you want to either ‘Save’ the video, or launch it as a ‘Popup’ in a separate window for better viewing.
We think Maxthon is ace. It’s fast, secure and has loads of features. Nip on over to their web page (www.maxthon.com), download the latest version, and get maxed out web browsing.