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At the bottom of each page is a footer (using smaller point sizes) that also contains links to main sections of the website.  The footer area is not provided as the navigation method for the website even though it can be used for that purpose if you so choose.  The main method of navigation is to click on menus or links displayed as part of the regular text.  To go back, you can always click on the Back arrow in your browser or the title of the page (on our site).

The size of text that you see depends on the size of your monitor and the resolution that the monitor is set at.  If the resolution is set too high for the size of the monitor, text may appear harder to read.

Our web pages are designed using the "default" size of text, the same as over 90% of web pages worldwide.  So if the print of our website looks too small to you, there are four reasons why.  A discussion of the four reasons are listed in the order you should use to check your system out.  The first reason shown may be all you need to change.

Here are the four reasons:

  1. You may not have the text size set in your browser for the best viewing.
  2. Your screen resolution may be set too high for the size monitor you are using.
  3. You may not have the same typeface installed that we specify (rarely the case).
  4. You may be using an older browser.

Reason 1) You may not have the default text size set in your browser for the best viewing.


As you get older and your eyes weaken; you may wish to change the default viewing size in your browser.  Surprisingly, a lot of people are not aware of this feature, nor take advantage of it. The different browsers think of changing the size to mean different things. Some think of it as changing the text size but leaving the page layout the same; others think of it as changing the entire page layout. Each method has its pros and cons. Internet Explorer changes the entire page layout, not just the text. Most other browsers change the text size without altering the layout. For some web page designs, the text may become too large for the area the text is intended to be displayed. On the other hand, a page that is enlarged entirely may become too large to be viewed on the monitor. It is always good to have both types of browsers handy so that when one is making the enlarged version worse, you can switch to the other browser.

Internet Explorer:

To change the default viewing size in Internet Explorer, choose the View menu, and scroll down to the Text Size choice.

An example of what you will see in Internet Explorer version 4.0 and later.
Notice the choices range from Largest to Smallest.  You should try these out and choose the size that you are most comfortable with.

If your browser has the Text Size button displayed, you can click the button to select the choices very easily:
An example of what you will see in Internet Explorer version 4.0 and later.

Other browsers such as Avant Browser, Deepnet Explorer, and MaxThon have similar methods of changing the typeface size.

Tip: Internet Explorer allows you to change text size when the mouse wheel is rolled while the Ctrl key is depressed.

  • If you have the Microsoft Intellimouse or compatible "wheel" mouse, you can change the settings very easily by pressing the Ctrl key and rolling the wheel on the mouse.
  • For Internet Explorer versions prior to version 7, rolling down increases the text size. Starting with version 7, rolling up increases the size.
  • If the page has lots of text it may take a moment to update the display (don't roll back and forth unless the page updates instantly, otherwise the computer may hang).

 

Netscape/Mozilla has a similar feature to change the default displayed text size.  In Netscape version 4.7, the choice is View, then Increase Font, or Decrease Font.  You can also use the Ctrl key and the right bracket (]) key to increase, and the left bracket([) to decrease.

In Netscape versions 6 and 7, the choice changed to View, then Text Zoom.  The current setting will be shown (in percent).  You can specify the sizes to use in percent or you may "increase" or "decrease" your current settings.  Ctrl and the plus(+) and minus(-) keys will allow you to increase and decrease the text size.

Tip: Mozilla (modern versions) allows you to change text size when the mouse wheel is rolled while the Ctrl key is depressed.

  • If you have the Microsoft Intellimouse or compatible "wheel" mouse, you can change the settings very easily by pressing the Ctrl key and rolling the wheel on the mouse.
  • While pressng Ctrl, roll the mouse wheel down to increase the text size.
  • If the page has lots of text it may take a moment to update the display (don't roll back and forth unless the page updates instantly, otherwise the computer may hang).

To make sure this will work in Mozilla, you have to make sure the settings are correct, which is not the default settings as the browser is shipped; to do this, you need to edit your preferences.  Select Edit | Preferences, then select Advanced, then Mouse Wheel (as shown below).  Click on the Ctrl tab, then make sure that the choice "Make the text larger or smaller" is selected.

Shows Mozilla setting

After the adjustment is made, while pressng Ctrl, roll the mouse wheel down to increase the text size.

 

Firefox has a similar feature to change the default displayed text size.  Firefox changed the menu items starting with version 3.0 Prior to 3.0, the View Menu had a Text Size choice, which then allowed the user to Increase, Decrease, or set the text size to Normal. Starting with version 3.0, the View menu item changed to Zoom, which then allowed the user to Zoom in, Zoom Out, or Reset. The main difference is that versions prior to 3.0, the menu choices affected text but not the layout of the page, which is what you wanted in most cases to read the text easier. Starting with version 3.0, the View | Zoom menu choice refers to the entire page. To be backwards compatible, versions 3.0 allows the user to select the Zoom Text Only option.

The text size can be increased using the Ctrl key and the plus key (+). Ctrl and minus (-) decreases the text size.

Tip: Firefox (modern versions) allows you to change text size when the mouse wheel is rolled while the Ctrl key is depressed.

  • If you have the Microsoft Intellimouse or compatible "wheel" mouse, you can change the settings very easily by pressing the Ctrl key and rolling the wheel on the mouse.
  • For versions prior to Firefox 3, while pressng Ctrl, roll the mouse wheel down to increase the text size; for version 3 and later, roll the mouse wheel up to increase the size.
  • If the page has lots of text it may take a moment to update the display (don't roll back and forth unless the page updates instantly, otherwise the computer may hang).

 

Opera has a similar feature to change the text size displayed.  Opera changes the size of the entire page, not just the text size, so the page may get larger than your display width causing you to scroll left and right to read text, or the page may be formatted with sections of text below other sections. The choice is View, then Zoom.  Opera uses a few preset sizes such as 120%, 150%, and 200% (and others) that can be chosen in the same menu.

Tip: Opera (modern versions) allows you to change text size when the mouse wheel is rolled while the Ctrl key is depressed.

  • If you have the Microsoft Intellimouse or compatible "wheel" mouse, you can change the settings very easily by pressing the Ctrl key and rolling the wheel on the mouse.
  • Opera increases the size of the page when the mouse is rolled up. The idea being Up increases text size and Down decreases text size. This make sense; too bad Internet Explorer didn't start out this way, which in turn influenced the other browsers to do the same as Internet Explorer. Now, looks like they all are adapting roll up to increase text size.
  • If the page has lots of text it may take a moment to update the display (don't roll back and forth unless the page updates instantly, otherwise the computer may hang).

 

Konqueror has a similar feature to change the text size displayed.  From the Konqueror View menu, you can Enlarge Font or Shrink Font. Konqueror changes the size of the text (font), not the entire size of the page. The menu choice is View, then Enlarge Font.

Tip: Konqueror allows you to change text size when the mouse wheel is rolled while the Ctrl key is depressed.

  • If you have the Microsoft Intellimouse or compatible "wheel" mouse, you can change the settings very easily by pressing the Ctrl key and rolling the wheel on the mouse.
  • Konqueror increases the size of the font when the mouse is rolled up. The idea being Up increases text size and Down decreases text size.
  • If the page has lots of text it may take a moment to update the display (don't roll back and forth unless the page updates instantly, otherwise the computer may hang).

Other browsers such as Safari, and iRider also have similar methods of changing the typeface size.


Effects of Ctrl+MouseWheel Up

Browser Ver Text Size Layout
IE 6 (and lower) Decrease Decrease
IE 7 (and higher) Increase
Increase
Firefox 1 & 2 Decrease Remains Same
Firefox 3
3.0 (and higher) Increase Increase
Opera   (All known) Increase Increase
Flock Slimbrowser 4.10 (and higher) Increase Remains Same

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Reason 2) Your screen resolution matters.


The Browser Statistics website shows that the most common screen resoluton keeps changing. This information was compiled in June 2008.

The screen resolution you use depends on the size of monitor and the ability of your graphics card.  If you have a large monitor you can get away with a higher resolution.  If it makes text too small, you can change to a lower resolution. If it makes portions of the web page wrap, you may need to change to a higher resolution. To effectively use a larger resolution, you may need to upgrade to a larger monitor (larger display area). New larger flat-screen monitors are becoming cheaper and take up less room. The most common size flat-screen monitor is 22 inches or larger.

How to adjust your monitor's screen resolution.

Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000 (similar in XP/2003/Vista)

  1. Go to your "desktop" and right click on an empty area.  A shortcut menu will appear:

    An example of what is seen in Internet Explorer.

  2. Click on "Properties." The following dialog box will appear:

    An example of what is seen in MS Windows 9x/Me.


  3. Select the Settings tab at the top right.   You should now see a display similar to this (The display shown here is what it looks like while making a Colors selection):

    An example of what is seen in MS Windows 9x/Me. or An example of what is seen in MS Windows XP. or An example of what is seen in MS Windows 9x/Me.

    Notice that the type of Display is shown just below the monitor image.  The first single monitor example above shows "NEC MultiSync 3D."  It also shows that the display graphics card is the "S3 Vision 868 PCI" model.  If you have not set your graphics display model, the first time you make any changes, you will be asked to select the model.

  4. Go to the "Colors" or "Color Quality" control just below the description for the "Display."  Using the drop down box, you will see the choices available depending on your graphics card's abilities and the drivers installed for it (recognized by the Operating System).  Hopefully your graphics card has choices that allow you to have more than 256 colors.  If the maximum number of colors you see is 256, it probably means the drivers are not installed or has not been recognized by the operating system, which may be the case if you are operating in Safe Mode.  The colors setting works in conjunction with the screen size/resolution (labeled as Screen area or Screen resolution).  If you choose the maximum number of colors, your choices for maximum screen size will most likely be reduced.  This is true for the majority of monitor/graphics adapter combinations.

    Notice this example shows "High Color (16 bit)" and "True Color (32 bit)" choices.  Some display cards have other choices (such as a 24 bit choice).  The number of bits is an indication of how many colors your graphics card can display.  The higher the number, the larger number of colors.  This can affect shades and subtle colors that can occur in images made from photographs.  Graphics images like the ones above often use very few colors in order to ensure they can be displayed properly on systems that do not have the ability to display a large number of colors.  Most web page graphics are made with only 256 colors for this reason.  Of course, photos can be the exception, although often photos have the number of colors reduced in order to load faster, but seldom if ever will a photo be reduced to 256 colors.  Photographs in animated graphics (animated GIF files) are most likely the only time you will see photographs reduced to 256 colors.

  5. Change the setting to "High Color (16 bit)" or "True Color (32 bit)" settings.  The True Color (32 bit) settings requires more memory than the High Color (16 bit) setting.  You may wish to experiment and try both settings to see which setting you prefer.  The smaller the monitor, the less you will notice the difference. How much memory is used for display purposes can affect your computer's performance. Graphics Adapter Cards have a built in amount of memory and some high-performance cards have lots of memory, plus an accelerated graphics processor. These types of cards can greatly improve the performance of your overall computer.

  6. The most important setting is the screen resolution.  The choices available to you depend on your graphics card's abilities and the number of colors setting you chose in the above step.

    If you have your monitor set to a higer resolution than 800x600, you can try reducing the resolution to see if it helps in readability.  You can change the "Screen area" to 800 by 600 pixels by clicking and dragging the slide control to the left or right.  Stop when the number changes to "800 by 600 pixels."  If you move the slider too far to the right (higher resolutions) than what the number of colors choice you have set at the left allows, then the color choice to the left (the one just set in the prior step) will change (decrease) to allow the higher resolution.  Moving the slider back to the left will not change it back.  If this does happen, you will need to re-select the number of colors again.

  7. Click "Apply."  If you increased the resolution, you may get a warning to restart your computer otherwise some applications may not work properly and you may get a warning such as this:

    An example of what is seen in MS Windows 9x/Me.


    Click O.K.  The following box will appear: Click "OK" again.

    Describes that the changes will resize the desktop.


  8. Newer versions of MS Windows do a great job of identifying the computer monitor but older versions may need your help.  If you have already set your monitor before with Windows 9x/Me, the following box will appear.  The image will be smaller if you are increasing your resolution.  In this case, it may be difficult to read.  If this is the case, then this indicates you are using a very small monitor.  If you are using a small portable computer, a small monitor would be normal.  Otherwise, click "yes."

    An example of what is seen in MS Windows 9x/Me.


    If you have not adjusted your display settings previously with Windows 9x/Me, you will be prompted to specify the type of monitor you have.  This is the same information as shown in step 3 above.  A text entry field will appear on your screen if you need to take this step. Newer versions of MS Windows will likely already know about your monitor, but if not, you may see a similar prompt.

  9. Using the scroll bars, choose the manufacturer and model number (or a similar model) of your monitor (click on your manufacturer in the left window; select the model number in the right window).  Click "OK." The box shown in Step #7 will then appear and you should click "OK."  The box from Step #8 will appear; select "YES" if you wish to use the new settings.

Power Macintosh Users (OS 9.x; different from OS X)

  1. Somewhere near the bottom of your screen or at least part way down on the left, you'll see a little gray shape that looks like a seatbelt buckle.  If you click on it and drag it out, it will expose a "belt" of little pictures (also called "icons") with an even smaller arrow next to each one.

  2. Go to the monitor icon that has a black-and-white checkerboard pattern for the screen.  This is where you can adjust the resolution.

  3. Click on the icon and HOLD YOUR FINGER DOWN ON THE MOUSE.  You'll see a "menu" that lists different choices for screen resolution.

    You will see some, if not all of the following:
    • 640 x 480
    • 800 x 600 -or- 832 x 624
    • 1024 x 768
    • (...and possibly higher resolutions)


    If you now use a higher resolution than 800x600 (or 832x624), you can decrease the resolution, effectively making the text on the screen larger.  Try the 800x600 setting to see if it improves readability by moving the mouse pointer over the setting (if the 800 x 600 choice is not available, bring your mouse pointer to "832 x 624" (to highlight it).  This is the Macintosh version of "800 x 600" pixels for some systems).

  4. Take your finger off the mouse.  You've made the selection!

  5. Restart your computer to see the results.

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Reason 3) You may not have the same typeface installed that we specify (rarely the case).


This is most likely to be the case only if you are using a Macintosh or a Unix system.  Even if you do not have the same typeface installed, browsers will usually do a substitution with a similar typeface.  It is not possible to guarantee that we use a typeface that every system will have installed.  To increase the chances that we use a typeface that you have, we use five common typefaces.

We specify Arial, Geneva, Helvetica, Tahoma, and Verdana typefaces, not necessarily in that order.  Your browser will use the first one that you have installed, or it will choose the default typeface that you have set for your browser if you have not installed any of the typefaces listed.  We have no control over the default typeface you have set for your browser.

We use Arial, Geneva, Helvetica, Tahoma, and Verdana in an attempt to cover as many systems as possible.

Arial, Tahoma, and Verdana are common typefaces in the Windows world.  Geneva is also common in the Windows world but even more so in the Macintosh world.  Helvetica is common on Unix systems.  If you do not have one of these typefaces installed, you might want to install them; other websites use them heavily and it could improve your view of the other websites as well.


Regardless of the sizes of type used in our website, you may be able to use your own settings and override the values in your browser.


Internet Explorer Help text.

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Reason 4) You may be using an older browser.


Browsers are kept up to date by their manufacturers, occasionally having a new release within a few months of the last release.  The later browsers correct bugs and enhance viewing.  Regardless of your feeling for Microsoft, Internet Explorer works best for most users and for most websites.  It is by far the most common browser in use today.  Internet Explorer has settled down designwise at version 6.x.  The most common updates for Internet Explorer 6.x these days has been for critical security patches; other than that, it seems to have leveled out.  Internet Explorer 6.x supports more features of the HTML standard, the CSS standards, and just about any other standard in use today on the web.

A newer version of Internet Explorer (ver 7.x) has been developed for users of Windows XP and later operating systems such as Windows Vista; it does not support older operating systems.  It is the only browser that limits its market in this manner.  The new Internet Explorer 7.x browser has several new features and it corrects some bugs that existed in version 6.x.  The new browser has a different look, meaning a cleaner interface and more viewing area for the webpage you are viewing.  For the first time, you can add RSS Feeds directly from the browser, and a customized search field you set to use your favorite search engine.  New security features help point out known "phishing" sites.  The new browser has "tabbed" browsing, and if you didn't know tabbed browsing existed before, you would think Microsoft invented it (a comical point since there was once a statement that Internet Explorer could not have tabbed browsing due to its basic design, while at the same time, several other browsers based on the IE engine had already implemented tabbed browsing).

Microsoft has been developing the next version of Internet Explorer (version 8) and has it available for Beta testing on their website but recommended for application and web developers only currently. Microsoft claims it is more secure and offers a better web experience. We will see.

Internet Explorer is not the only browser to implement the most recent web page standards. Currently, Firefox is at the forefront when it comes to standards. There are other browsers, in fact many of them.  Most work pretty well, but most do not have the range of support for the standards as Fireox and Internet Explorer.  There are other browsers built on the Internet Explorer basic components and so they work almost the same as Internet Explorer.  They generally have features not available in Internet Explorer.  If you wish to try out ome of these IE based browsers, check out Avant Browser, Deepnet Explorer, and MaxThon.

Netscape 4.7 era can occasionally have problems and even crash on websites that Internet Explorer has no problem with at all.  Netscape version 6 fixed some things, other bugs were not.  The current version (9.x) may be an improvement on these issues. Netscape's version 9 will be the final version; its current owner (AOL) has decided to retire Netscape for good (support ended for all versions of the Netscape browser on February 1, 2008). The basic code had already been turned over to the developers of the Mozilla based Firefox group.

Since the later versions of Netscape was based on the code developed for the Mozilla/Firefox browsers, I don't have the same bad feelings about it. A few years back (around version 4.x), I gave up on Netscape. When a browser cannot properly understand the commands encountered, it should ignore the information, but crashing is an indication of poor quality control.  Netscape crashed so often that we stopped recommending or even suggesting it as a viable browser.  We stopped testing it extensively around version 4.7x.  We lost the incentive to test version 6 except for testing how it worked with some JavaScript we used.  If you used Netscape from that era and prefered it, then that is fine.  Even when it worked, it displayed text formatted differently than we intended.  For some reason, a paragraph could be shifted to the right appearing to be indented when it was formatted exactly as the paragraph above it.  This caused readers to assume the text was indented as a subparagraph to the one above it, when in fact, that was not the case.  We have no control over such display inconsistencies other than to recommend the user try a modern version, or switch to Internet Explorer or Firefox.

To download the Internet Explorer version 6.0 or later (allows deleting of cookies, yea!), click on the icon:

Download Internet Explorer now!

Internet Explorer isn't the only browser available. Check out some of the other browsers available. All are free except for the iRider (last one for Windows based OS), which sells for $19.95.

Microsoft WindowsColon Internet Explorer Avant (Internet Explorer Trident engine based) Deepnet Explorer (Internet Explorer Trident engine based) Maxthon (Internet Explorer Trident engine based) Slim Browser (Internet Explorer Trident engine based) Netscape (Mozilla Gecko engine based) Mozilla (Gecko engine based) Firefox (Mozilla Gecko engine based) Seamonkey (Mozilla Gecko engine based) K-Meleon (Mozilla Gecko engine based) Flock (Mozilla Gecko engine based) Opera Safari Chrome Comodo Dragon (WebKit engine based) Amaya iRider (Internet Explorer Trident engine based)

LinuxColon Konqueror Netscape (Mozilla Gecko engine based) Firefox (Mozilla Gecko engine based) Seamonkey (Mozilla Gecko engine based) Songbird (Mozilla Gecko engine based; XULRunner Platform, media oriented) Flock (Mozilla Gecko engine based) Opera Amaya

MacintoshColon Safari Camino (Mozilla Gecko engine based) Songbird (Mozilla Gecko engine based; XULRunner Platform, media oriented)




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