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Customizing Your Personal Start Page

Your Start Page is called Personal because you can customize it in many ways. You can stick with the basic layout and edit what's displayed, or you can move features around to redesign the page to fit your needs. You can also just remove a feature entirely if you don't want to use it.

For instance, you might want to move features you use most often to the top of the layout. You might want to turn off features you don't need. (You can always turn them back on if you change your mind.) You might want to customize the links in My Links.

You can also personalize the information so that you see the weather in your city, your horoscope, and other information that is meaningful to you. You'll find out how to do all this and more in the following sections.

Changing General Settings

The simplest change to make to the Personal Start Page is to change the general settings, including the page name and current ZIP code so that the news and weather relate to your part of the world, and whether email sound is turned on. To change the title and city of your Personal Start Page, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Personalize link at the very top of the page (under the page name). You'll see the General tab of the Personalize page as shown in Figure 3.8.

  2. Enter the name of your Personal Start Page, your ZIP code, and whether you want to hear a sound whenever you get new email ("Mail Truck").

  3. Click Save Changes to store your settings. After a few seconds, you'll return to your Personal Start Page.

Figure 3.8 Choose your display options here.

Changing the Layout

If you want to change the layout of your Personal Start Page and move features around, you can do so. You can also turn off features you do not want displayed. Follow these steps to make a change to the layout of the Personal Start Page:

  1. Click Personalize at the top of your Personal Start Page and then click the Layout tab. You'll see the page shown in Figure 3.9.

  2. To turn off a feature, select it and then click the Off button.

  3. When you're finished making changes to the layout, click Save Changes. Your revised Personal Start Page appears in a few seconds.

Figure 3.9 You can turn on and off features and rearrange the order of these Personal Start Page elements.

Changing Individual Features

You can customize most features on the Personal Start Page. For instance, you can customize the news headlines to display the news topics you're interested in. You can customize the search feature by selecting the search engine you want to use. Follow these steps to make a change to a feature on the Personal Start Page:

  1. Click the Personalize link next to the feature you want to customize. For instance, to customize news headlines, click Personalize in the news headline banner. This brings up the Personalize News page (see Figure 3.10).

  2. Make any changes to the selected feature. In the news headlines category, for example, you can display up to 20 news topics on your Personal Start Page. Click a box to check or uncheck the topic. You can also list up to five headlines per topic.

  3. Figure 3.10 Click a check box to turn an option on or off. Scroll down to see the rest of the available choices for that option.

  4. After you finish changing the settings for a feature, click the Save Changes button (at the bottom of the screen, not shown in Figure 3.10). After the changes are stored, you return to your updated Personal Start Page.

For some features such as Music, you can only change the placement of the feature or turn it off. If that is the case for a feature you select, you'll see a message telling you that this is the only change you can make.

Here's a quick breakdown of the personalized options for each area you can customize:

  • Personalize search—You can select which search engines you want on the Personal Start Page. You can select from Excite, GoTo, Go Network, and other search engines. Click Personalize and then select the service you want to use. (Note that you can always access all of the search engines. To do so, click the link More Searches at the bottom of the search feature.)

  • Personalize reminders—You can choose to display reminders on your Personal Start Page. You can select holiday, birthday, and anniversary, and to-do list reminders. Click Personalize, click the appropriate link for the type of reminder you want to set up, and then enter the appropriate information. For instance, for a birthday reminder, you should enter the birthday person's name and birth date.

  • Personalize directory—You can specify which directory search is displayed on your Personal Start Page. Click Personalize and then select Yellow Pages, White Pages, or Email Search.

  • Personalize weather—To select the city you want for weather, click Personalize. Then, click Add a City and enter the name of the city or a local ZIP code. Click Submit.

  • Personalize finance—One of the handiest features on the Personal Start Page is the finance information. You can personalize this information by selecting up to 30 stock symbols as well as several indices. Click the Personalize link next to the Finance feature and then enter the stock symbols you want to keep track of (see Figure 3.11). You can also create a stock portfolio, with updates sent to your mailbox. For more information on EarthLink's financial features, see Chapter 15, "Personal Finance."

  • Personalize My Links—For quick access to your favorite links, add them to the My Links feature. Click Personalize next to the My Links area and then type the site name (as you want it listed on the Personal Start Page) and the URL or site address. You can add up to 30 links to this area of the page.

  • Personalize videos—You can customize this feature so that it displays a list of new releases, top five videos, or top five DVDs.

  • Personalize your bookstore—You can change the book genre list. You can select from arts, bestsellers, literature, and others. Click Personalize and then select the genres of your liking.

  • Figure 3.11 Select stock symbols to be displayed in the Finance area.

  • Personalize lottery—Have the most recent winning numbers from your state lottery displayed in this feature. To do so, click Personalize and then select the desired state from the drop-down list.

  • Personalize Web channels—You can select Web channels from Excite, Infoseek, LookSmart, About.com, or Snap.

  • Personalize horoscope—Click Personalize next to Horoscope and then select your astrological sign to display it on your Personal Start Page.

  • Personalize soaps—If you want to see a daily synopsis of your favorite soap opera, click Personalize and then select the soap opera for which you want to display a daily summary.

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