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Helpful hints on using the features of this site

Content

Appearance Printing What You See Save to File
"Copy & Paste" Downloading a Document Reload ! Reload ! Reload!
C'mon Back Searching Patience, m'dear

Appearance

Despite all the hullabaloo about standardization, no two web browsers will display a web page the same way. Similarly, yes - but often with enough variation to make the page seem awkward, or at best, not quite what the developer had intended. The pages on this site are best viewed using Netscape Browser, version 3.0 (or higher) or Internet Explorer 3.02 (or higher).

If you are using Microsoft's Internet Explorer and the spacing of the pages seems out of kilter, then try changing the font size. For Explorer 3.02 or higher, click on the "View" menu, then chose "Fonts". Your best option is probably "small" or "smallest". In earlier versions of Explorer a "Font" tool button is found in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

With Netscape, check to be sure your monitor is set to a resolution of 640x480 or higher, and with 256 colors or more (you can find the adjustments in Windows, by going to "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel", "Display" then click the "Settings" tab). Also, be sure you have chosen "Arial", size 12 for the proportional font, and "Courier New", size 10 for the fixed font. To check and change it, do the following: on the top menu bar of Netscape, click on "Options", then chose "General Preferences", and click the "Fonts" tab. In the line that states "Use the Proportional Font:", click on the "Choose Font..." button and select "Arial", size 12. In the next line that states "Use the Fixed Font:" click on the "Choose Font..." button and select "Courier New", size 10.


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Printing What You See

The easiest way to capture a page that is displayed on your browser is to click on "FILE" on the top menu bar, and choose "Print". When a "Print" dialog box appears, click on the "Properties" bar and select "Portrait" (because it's usually the best format), then click O.K to print. However, before you print, you might choose "Print Preview" to see if you will get what you expect.

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Save to File

If you want to save a web page to a file, click on "FILE" in the top menu bar, and choose "Save as...". The browser will then prompt you for a location and name. The file you save will be in a text-based html format. This means that any text editor can read it and you can edit it at will. However, it will contain some "overhead" in the form of html instructions. In some cases the required instructions will be such as to make the document unreadable without considerable editing. In that case check to see if an option is offered that allows you to download the page or pages directly. Alternatively, you can simply do a "cut & paste" or more accurately, a "copy and paste" routine, described in the next paragraph.

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"Copy & Paste"

You can be very selective in the text you choose to transfer to another file. Using your mouse, simply click and drag over the area of the web page that interests you. This will highlight or darken that area. Then click in the "Edit" option of your menu bar, and select "Copy". Your text is now on the clipboard. Go to your word processor (e.g. Word, WordPerfect, etc.), open a "New Document" (under "FILE") and "Paste" the text you have on the clipboard (under "EDIT"). You will notice that any bolding and variations in fonts will not carry over. However, you will have copied the selected text.

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Downloading a Document

Some documents are available on the site to download as a Word or WordPerfect files. If you choose to do so (that is, click on the hyperlinked line that offers the option) your web browser may already be set to recognize that type of file (Word, Excel, Text, etc.), launch the appropriate applications program and display the document. At that point you can review the document, save it, close the program, and return to the web page.

Alternatively, you may wish to save the file to your PC directly, without first invoking the application program. If your browser is not already set to "save" mode (i.e., to save the file rather that launch an application), the instructions below will show you how to set it.

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Reload! Reload! Reload!

When you call up a web page, your browser will, of course, display the text and graphics that go along with that page. But if this is the first time you addressed that page, your browser will also store the associated data files onto your hard drive, in a subdirectory called "cache". The reason for doing so is that the next time you call on the same site, the browser can look up the necessary files directly from your hard drive, a process that is much faster than downloading the files from the Internet. Depending on how you set up your browser, these cached files can stay resident for days or weeks.

The problem with this convenience is that when a page is updated, the browser will be unaware of it and will continue to bring up the old files in cache. As a result, you are likely to become frustrated by the apparent lack of current information.

To remedy the situation, merely click on the "Reload" or "Refresh" button (depending on your browser) on the tool bar near the top. We have also helped by coding our pages such that your browser keeps our most active pages in cache for only 20 minutes. But just in case that doesn't work and you desperately need updated information, click "Reload". If the information has still not changed, then it's probably not yet available and you may go ahead and have a cow.

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C'mon Back

Most of our pages have links near the top of the page that allow you to return to a previous page. But in some cases a page may be addressed from several locations, so there is no way to know and code a page with the proper return path. In that case, it may be more practical to use the "Back" or "Return" button on the tool bar. This will navigate you back to your previous click. Note, however, that if you have been moving around (by clicking) within a current page, it may take several clicks of the "Back" button to retrace your steps to the "previous" page.

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Searching

Our search engine lets you enter a name, number or character string (group of characters, including spaces) that may be contained in a docket case listing. It then displays those court cases in which the search object was found and highlights the object in red. The information on each case also includes the title of the page in which the case appears as well as a link to the top of that page. You have the option to choose which courts to include in the search. You can include as many as you want. Your entries are not case sensitive. Since the search includes only those pages within our web site (rather than the entire world), you may be more successful in finding what you want by using a single, short word or fraction of a word or number. (e.g., use hutch in place of David Hutchinson or 4367 in place of D29674367). However, be aware that a request for cases containing the name "Law", will also net you those containing "Lawrence" or Laidlaw.

Some docket files are quite large, especially those from the criminal, sessions and circuit courts. What's more, several of such large files can be associated with each court (one file for each division or each day of the week). As a result, the search engine may take several seconds to complete its search.

You can also perform searches using your browser's own search engine. However, it can only search one page at a time (the page you are in). Use your browser's command for "Find". This search method is particularly useful when you are looking for a name or number in a document that is already on your screen because it places you at the appropriate location on the document where the entry is found.


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Patience, m'dear

If you are using a dial-up modem, they have come a long ways from the "old" days, but they are still wanting when it comes to downloading large files. Most of the files on this site are relatively easy to transmit. But a few are large enough to take up to a minute, and sometimes more to load. Particularly large files include, for example, the dockets from Criminal Court, Sessions Court, Juvenile Court, and occasionally those from Monday Motions Chancery Court and Thursday's Bankruptcy Court hearings. Many of the local court rules are also quite massive. We see larger files becoming the trend. So, be forewarned that, until direct-linked, high-speed networks become the norm, your efforts to access court records will sometimes tax your patience.

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