Chapter 1
Welcome to Netscape Communicator

This chapter introduces you to Netscape Communicator, tells you how to start it, and describes how to get online help.


What is Netscape Communicator?

Netscape Communicator is a complete set of tools that allow you to take advantage of all that the Internet has to offer.



Navigator is a web browser that lets you search for and view information on the World Wide Web.

For information on using Navigator, see Chapter 2, "Using Navigator."



Messenger lets you send and receive electronic mail (email) to and from anyone who has an email address and exchange files so that you can share them with others.

For information on using Messenger, see Chapter 3, "Using Messenger."



Collabra lets you participate in Internet newsgroups, also called discussion groups. A discussion group is an online community of people who share similar interests. You can participate in an ongoing discussion about a particular topic, or just read what others are saying. Collabra makes it easy to view and organize your favorite newsgroups.

For information on using Collabra Discussions, see Chapter 4, "Using Collabra."



Composer lets you create your own web pages and publish them on the World Wide Web, so that anyone who has web access can view them.


 For information on using Composer, see Chapter 5, "Using Composer."



Conference lets you talk and collaborate "live" with colleagues around the world while avoiding long-distance phone charges. You can work with a remote colleague to edit a document, sketch on a shared whiteboard that your remote colleague can see, exchange files, and browse a web site together.

For information on using Conference, see Chapter 6, "Using Conference."



Netcaster automatically delivers up-to-date information from a web site directly to your desktop. You can choose from Netcaster's ready-made list of links to interesting web sites, called channels, or you can add your own channels. Channels are web sites that are automatically updated and delivered to you, so that you can see the latest information when it becomes available without having to search for it.

You can use Netcaster to automatically download any web site so that you can view it when you're offline (disconnected from the Internet). Browsing a web site offline can save you time and reduce your connection charges.

 For information on using Netcaster, see Chapter 7, "Using Netcaster."



Note Calendar is only available in Communicator Professional Edition.
Calendar lets you schedule meetings and events, manage your calendar, and track tasks.

For information on using Calendar, see Chapter 8, "Using Calendar."


IBM Host On-Demand

Note IBM Host On-Demand is only available in Communicator Professional Edition.
IBM Host On-Demand lets you connect to a 3270-based host computer so you can access data stored on that computer.

For information on using IBM Host On-Demand, see Chapter 9, "Using IBM Host On-Demand."


Netscape AutoAdmin

Note Netscape AutoAdmin is only available in Communicator Professional Edition.
Netcape AutoAdmin lets system administrators centrally manage and update Netscape Communicator within an enterprise network. As a Communicator user, you don't use this feature.

 For more information on Netscape AutoAdmin capabilities, see Chapter 10, "About AutoAdmin."


Starting Communicator

If you're using Communicator on a local area network (LAN), ask your network administrator about the best way for you to connect to the Internet. If you connect to the Internet using an account you have with an Internet Service Provider, refer to the instructions that came with the connection software for information on connecting to the Internet.


Unix users If you're not sure how to start Communicator, ask your system administrator.
  1. Locate the Netscape Communicator icon. For Windows 95 and Windows NT users, this icon is on your desktop.
  2. For Windows 3.1 users, this icon is in your Netscape Communicator program group.

    For Macintosh users, this icon is in the Netscape Communicator folder.

  3. Double-click the Netscape Communicator icon.
  4. If you are starting Communicator for the first time, follow the instructions in the Profile Setup Wizard to create a new user profile. See "Sharing Communicator with others (Windows and Macintosh only)" for more information. or
  5. If this copy of Communicator has more than one user profile, choose the one you want to use and click Start Communicator.

The Netscape Navigator web browser window appears, and displays a preset page, called the home page. See "Choosing a home page" in Chapter 2, "Using Navigator," to change the home page Navigator displays when it starts.


Minimizing online charges (Windows and Macintosh only)

If you use a modem to connect to the Internet, you can control when you make a connection to your Internet Service Provider. Working offline reduces the amount of time you are connected to your service provider, and it might save you some money. You can still use Communicator even when you're not connected to the Internet. For example, you can:


Working offline

To disconnect from your Internet Service Provider at any time:


To reconnect to your Internet Service Provider:


Starting Communicator in offline mode

To tell Communicator that you want to start it without connecting to your Internet Service Provider:


Note This change affects all future sessions with Communicator, so you only have to perform the following steps once.
  1. Go to Navigator.
  2. From the Edit menu, choose Preferences.
  3. Click Offline.
  4. Choose Offline Work Mode.
  5. Click OK.
  6. (Windows) From the File menu, choose Exit to quit Communicator. (Macintosh) From the File menu, choose Quit to quit Communicator.
  7. Restart Communicator. Communicator starts but does not connect to your service provider.
  8. Important Communicator stores messages you send while working offline in the outbox folder for later delivery, after you reconnect to the Internet. To send deferred mail (mail stored in your outbox) after you reconnect, you must start Messenger and choose Send Messages in Outbox from Messenger's File menu.

Sharing Communicator with others (Windows and Macintosh only)

When you start Communicator for the first time, it will ask you to create a user profile. User profiles let more than one person use Communicator to access the Internet in different ways. For example, if you share your copy of Communicator with other users, each of you can create your own user profile to keep your settings, preferences, bookmarks, and mail messages separate. Even if you are the only person using Communicator, you must create at least one profile for yourself.


Note If you are upgrading from a previous version of Navigator, Communicator automatically creates a user profile for you that uses your current settings and preferences. See "Setting up Communicator so that another person can use it" for information on creating additional user profiles.
If you want to, you can create several profiles just for yourself, where each profile stores information about a different service provider. For example, if you want to connect to a different service provider to try out their service without canceling the account you have with your current service provider, you can create a new user profile and use it to connect to the service provider you want to try out.


Important User profiles are not private or protected. Anyone who has access to your copy of Communicator can start Communicator using your user profile.

Setting up Communicator so that another person can use it

  1. (Windows) If Communicator is running, choose Exit from the File menu to quit the program. (Macintosh) If Communicator is running, choose Quit from the File menu to quit the program.
  2. (Windows 95 and Windows NT) From the Start menu, choose Programs, then choose Netscape Communicator, then choose Utilities, then choose User Profile Manager. (Windows 3.1) Open the Netscape Communicator program group, and double-click User Profile Manager.
  3. (Macintosh) Open the Netscape Communicator folder, and double-click User Profile Manager.

  4. Click New.
  5. Follow the instructions in the New Profile Setup Wizard.

Switching Communicator to use another person's acount

Once you've created additional user profiles, you choose the one you want to use when you start Communicator.


  1. (Windows) If Communicator is running, choose Exit from the File menu to quit the program. (Macintosh) If Communicator is running, choose Quit from the File menu to quit the program.
  2. Start Communicator. See "Starting Communicator" for more information.
  3. (Windows) Choose the user profile you want to use and click Start Communicator. (Macintosh) Choose the user profile you want to use and click OK.

Setting your Communicator preferences

Communicator uses a collection of settings called preferences that allow you to customize Communicator's features. Communicator stores your preferences with your user profile to keep them separate from the preferences of other user profiles.

 To view or change your preferences:


  1. From the Edit menu, choose Preferences. The left side of the Preferences dialog box lists the preferences by category. The right side of the dialog box displays the preferences for the selected category.
  2. Click a category to display its preferences. Some categories have one or more sub-categories listed beneath them. For example, the Browser preferences also includes Languages and Applications sub-categories.
  3. Click a sub-category to display its preferences.
  4. Choose or type the preferences you want. Click Help for more information about the preferences.
  5. Click OK to close the dialog box and confirm your settings.

Using Communicator help

Communicator includes comprehensive online help for each of its components.

To use online help:


  1. From the Help menu, choose Help Contents to display the main contents page for Netscape Communicator Help.
  2. Click the icon of the application you need help with, and choose from the options presented.

    Tip Click the Help button in a dialog box for help on the options presented in the dialog box.
Communicator Professional Edition users To get help when using Calendar, press F1 from any window (Windows) or choose Netscape Calendar Guide from the Help menu (Macintosh). To get help when using IBM Host On-Demand, click the Help button in the IBM Host On-Demand main window.

Finding information

To find information in Communicator Help, you can:


Searching for a word or phrase

  1. From the Help menu, choose Help Contents to display the main contents page for Netscape Communicator Help.
  2. Click the icon of the application you need help with.
  3. In the Help window, click Find.
  4. Type the word or phrase you're looking for.
  5. Choose the search options you want.
  6. (Windows) Click Find Next to start or continue searching. (Macintosh) Click Find to find the next occurrence.
  7. (Unix) Click Find to start or continue searching.

  8. (Windows and Unix) Click the close box when you are done searching.

Using the Help index

  1. In the Help window, click Index.
  2. Enter the word or phrase that most closely matches what you're searching for.
  3. Click a topic in the list.

Finding related topics

Viewing the previous and next help topic

  1. To return to the last topic you viewed, click the Back button.
  2. To return to the topic you viewed before you clicked Back, click the Forward button.

Getting more help

Besides Netscape Communicator Help, there are many other sources of online assistance available to you.

Release notes

You can find late-breaking information about using Netscape Communicator in the Release Notes.

ReadMe file

ReadMe files provide you with installation and setup information. To read the ReadMe file, double-click the Read Me icon in the Netscape Communicator folder.

Communicator information and support

This web site provides links to information that can answer your questions about using Communicator. You can check the latest release notes, search for up-to-date information about using Communicator features, join a Netscape discussion group, and much more.