Browsing the World Wide Web With Lynx

This document provides instructions for using Lynx, a character-based, non-graphical web browser designed for text-based environments. Lynx does not allow you to display pictures or play sound/media, and its interface is entirely keyboard-driven. It is available on the ITS Login Service.

Note You can use Lynx to visit suspicious web sites without fear of infecting your computer.

Starting Lynx

Note Lynx requires access to a Unix server such as the ITS Login Service. Registered students, faculty and regular staff have access the Login Service.

To use Lynx on the ITS Login Service:

  1. Use secure software to connect to the Login Service (

    Windows: PuTTY is available at no cost. Users can download here. For information about obtaining and using PuTTY, refer to Use PuTTY to Connect to Host Computers [Windows] .

    Mac OS X: Mac OS X comes with SSH software called Terminal, found in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder. Start Terminal and enter this command:


    Note Download the U-M SSH Connections here for one-click connections to the Login Service and other campus Unix servers.

  2. Login with your uniqname and UMICH Kerberos password when prompted, pressing Return or Enter with each entry.

  3. At the % prompt, type lynx (be sure to type all lower-case letters). Press Return or Enter. The Lynx main page will be displayed.

  4. Visit a web page by pressing g. At the "URL to open" prompt, enter the URL of the page and press Return or Enter.

Key(s) Action
Up and Down Arrows Moves the cursor within the document to select a link.
Right Arrow Follows the selected link to its associated document (same as pressing Enter or Return).
Left Arrow Returns to the previous document.
Spacebar or + Scrolls forward in the document you are viewing.
b or - Scrolls backward in the document you're viewing.
Backspace Displays a history menu from which you can select links you have previously used in your current session.
i Displays the index file, which provides a variety of starting points for exploring the Web.
g Allows you to navigate to a URL by entering its address.
h or ? Displays links to Lynx's online help menu.

Lynx displays links to other documents as highlighted text. The Up and Down arrow keys are used to select links. Press Return or Enter to follow the link to its associated document. Lynx displays a basic set of commands at the bottom of the window for reference.

To search for text within the current document, press / (forward slash) and enter the text you wish to find. Lynx will then move to the next occurrence of this text string or display an error if it is not found. Lynx will find all occurrences of the text string, even within other words. For example, the search string "account" might find "account," "accounts," and "accounting."

Lynx's Online Help

From the Lynx main page, press h to see the online help menu.

Quitting Lynx

To quit Lynx, press q. If you have finished using the ITS Login Service, be sure to log out by typing exit or logout at the % prompt and quit or exit the software you used to connect.

Last Updated: 
Thursday, March 20, 2014