Netscape Composer:  An Introduction

Tutorial 4:  Working with Links and Targets


One of the main features of a web page is the fact that it contains hot links to other sites on the web.  There are two ways to identify links on a page.  As a rule, text links are indicated by text that is blue (default color) and underlined.  Or, if you pass your cursor over a hot link, the shape of the cursor will change to a hand.  This often occurs with images that are links to another site on the web.  We're going to work with both kinds: text and image links.

Text link

To create a link, first type the text that will identify what the link is.  For example, I might want a link back to my home page for this tutorial.  I have now typed the words "home page."  Next, select those words by highlighting them (click and drag).  Then click the link button pictured above.  You will find it on the Composition toolbar above the Formatting toolbar we just used.  When you click this button, a dialogue box that looks like this will appear:

In the "Link to" portion of the box, in the white text area labeled "link to a page location or local file," type in the file you want to link to.  If it is a file that resides IN THE SAME FOLDER as this page, you need to type only the filename.  Ex:  compose.htm (this would take me back to the home page for these tutorials.)  If the page you want to link to is NOT in the same folder (ex: another site on the web), you must type the entire path.  Ex:
When you have finished typing in either the filename or the URL of your link, click the "OK" button at the bottom of the box.  Voilà!! You have made a link.  Assuming you are using Netscape default colors for text and links, the linked text should now appear blue and underlined.  Wasn't that easy?

The "mailto" link

You may want your readers to be able to send you an email message directly from your page.  There is a special command you can use with the link button to make an email message box pop up automatically.  This is called the "mailto" link.  There is an example at the bottom of this page.  Scroll to the bottom and click on my name.  You will see an email message box pop up with my email address already typed in.  All the reader has to do is type the subject of the message, the message itself, and click the send button.

To pull off this bit of magic is quite simple.  Let's assume you want to make your name a "mailto" link.  Type your name, highlight it, then click the link button.  In the white text area box, type:

You would of course, substitute your own email address for mine.  Notice that mailto is all one word, it is followed by a colon, and there is no space anywhere.

Image link

We're jumping the gun a little bit here since we haven't talked about images yet (we will in the next tutorial), but you can also make an image a link.  Simply click the image to select it (a border will appear around the image), click the link button, then type in the filename or URL you want to link to.  Voilà!!  The image is now a link.  When you view it in the browser, you will see a blue border around the image (I'll show you how to get rid of that later) and when you pass your cursor over it, the cursor will assume the shape of a hand.

Removing a Link

You may want to remove a link from either text or an image.  To remove it from text, highlight the text with the link you want to get rid of.  Click the RIGHT mouse button, and select "Remove Link."  Bingo, it's gone.  To remove a link from an image, select the image by clicking once on it, click the RIGHT mouse button, select "Remove Link."  Vanished.


When you click on a link, you are transported to another page or web site.  The page will load showing you the top of the file in the browser.  You can then scroll down to see the rest of the page.  But there may be times when you want to create not only a link to a page, but a link to a specific part of a page that is not necessarily the top of the page.  This is what we use targets for.  When you create a targeted link, you must specify first the page it's on and then the part of the page you want to go to.  You do this by setting up your targets first and then linking to them.

Let's look at an example.  I have two major sections on this page, links and targets.  Let's assume that on the home page for the Netscape Tutorials where I have listed the table of contents for the tutorials, I want to be able to click on the word "targets" and come immediately to this section of this page (I'm not interested in links, just targets).  First, I would have to set a target on THIS page.  I would place my cursor in front of the word "Target" (in red, above) and click the target button.  The following box would pop up:

This box asks me to name this target.  I'm going to call it "targets".  I would type the word "targets" in the white box.
When I click "OK," the following symbol will appear to the left of the word "Targets" : .  This symbol tells me that I have marked my text to make it a target.  It will NOT be visible when I view this page in Netscape Navigator (browser).  It is visible ONLY in Composer.

Next, I would go back to my home page file, open it in Composer, select the menu item that says "Targets" and click on the link button .  The following dialogue box will open up:

First, I type in the name of the file I want to link to.  I want to link from the menu on my home page to this page "links.htm."  Once I have chosen this file, a list of targets that have ALREADY BEEN SET on this page will appear.  In this case, there is only one:  "targets."  I select "targets" by clicking on it to highlight it, then click OK.
I have now created a link from the menu of the tutorials to this page and specifically, the section on targets.  Want to see if it works?  Go back to the menu page, scroll down to "Tutorial 4:  Working with Links," then click on the link that says "Targets."  You should end up back here, at the beginning of the "Targets" section.

Changing Links or Targets

You may want to change a link or target after you have created it.  You can do this quite easily by putting your cursor over the link or target you want to change, then click the RIGHT mouse button.  The following menu will pop up:

If you want to remove the link entirely, click on "Remove Link." 

If you want to change anything else, click on "Link Properties" and the same dialogue box will open up that opened when you first created the link.  You can then change whatever you want. 

Notice also that you can cut, copy and paste links.

You're a whiz with text and links.  Now, how about some pretty pictures?

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© 2000 by Pat Pecoy
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