Sometimes it is just fun to hang out in the terminal and not use all this fancy graphical interface nonsense with annoying advertising, video, GIFs and popups. Since I didn’t “grow up” with this software, I needed to teach myself how to use it. The manual is very complete on w3m but there is much more there than what I need. So, here is my internal notebook on w3m turned public.
I use Konsole as my terminal application of choice on openSUSE. It has been my favorite for years and the default of KDE Plasma. If you would like a more retro terminal browsing experience that takes you back to a more exciting time in computer history, you can install Cool-Retro-Term.
Install the Browser
sudo zypper install w3m
Optionally if you want inline pictures, which can be ropey at times:
sudo zypper install w3m-inline-image
Since you have already installed this using the terminal, adding anything about “open a terminal first” is a waste of text on the screen.
To initiate the program you must enter a target site for w3m.
Or maybe something that is more useful:
The nice thing about this web browser is that it is very “tab-key friendly.” Press Tab or left-click, into the search area. To enter text, press Enter.
The cursor will go to the lower left hand corner of the terminal with a TEXT: prompt, enter your text and hit Enter.
It will return your cursor back to the search line. Press the Tab or Right-Arrow key to take you to [Search] and press Enter.
Congratulations, you have completed your first search on w3m.
Searching is great, but you need to know how to actually navigate with w3m.
Arrow-Up / Arrow-Down
Jumps from hyperlink to hyperlink
Enter, Right-Arrow, Left-Double-Click
If you are using w3m in a mouse enabled environment, as I would typically do, right-click anywhere on the screen and this handy little menu will pop up.
This is nice to have because you don’t have to remember the keystrokes. Although, the keystrokes are the whole reason I like using this browser. It give the mouse (or touchpad) a break.
More Nifty Web Browsing Commands
Open Link on New Tab
This will start another tab as you would expect from a modern browsers.
Use up / down arrow keys to select the tab and press Enter
Open Page in External Browser
Your external browser preference can be adjusted to suit your needs, you can even add more browser options.
This is a handy browser that is incredibly light weight. It works very well in Konsole, although the images can sometimes bleed over onto the menu bar of the application.
I use this browser somewhat frequently, mostly on sites that have far too much Java code and hog memory resources. This browser displays the information that I want and tends to discard the undesirable cruft found on many sites. Also, if the site just won’t display well in w3m, it is a poorly made site.
If this browser works for you and you find this simple guide useful, great! If this isn’t something that works for you or you find this blathering a waste of your time it was barely 600 words so you aren’t out much time. I have been annoyed by some of the more feature rich browsers so w3m has been refreshing to use. Should this browser not meet your needs here are plenty of other web browser options out there that might do a better job. I primarily put this together for me anyway.