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The Hard Refresh: Wiping your creative slate clean

By May 17, 2010How To

It occurs to me that some people don’t know about the hard refresh command. And that I take it for granted that I do.

Basically, your browser caches web pages (or files and remembers them on your computer). So, if something changes on a website, you might not know – because when you type the web address into your browser bar, it returns the last page it remembers for that address. (Didja get that?)

The browser doesn’t always go back to the site’s server and look for a new, updated page. (The hows and whys of when it does and does not do this are soooo not important here – and highly technical in a way that I have chosen decidedly not to be!)

However, if you engage the hard refreshby holding the shift key down while you click on the refresh button – the page reloads anew. This is particularly helpful when you’re building or updating a website. (Which I find myself doing a LOT of these days with my uber-team.)

What a handy tool to have at the ready when you have an automatic reaction to something.


  • When you see potato chips and then eat the whole bag – because your browser remembers that that’s what you did the last time.
  • Or when you see that someone that’s just no good for you and you run to them as fast as you possibly can – because your browser remembers that that’s what you did the last time.
  • Or when you have a lot of work to do and instead you clean your house or eat or watch a movie or play solitaire or go out to dinner or surf the web – because your browser remembers that that’s what you did the last time.
  • Or when you’re trying to write a new post, paint a new picture, solve the oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico and you just keep coming up with the same crap or stagnation or theme or brilliance – because your browser remembers that that’s what you did last time.

Ahhh…to be able to hit shift+refresh and clear the slate, load something new and see an entirely updated screen.

Image credit: CeeKay

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Amy says:

    I hit the do-over button this morning, which is just going to have to be close enough. I rushed through pre-school drop-off because of a client call I couldn’t miss only to get stuck taking the 30 minute long way home because of a major car accident that closed my regular route. When I finally made it to my desk, I realized that my call was scheduled for pacific time, not eastern, and decided it was time to get back in the car and obtain some caffeine. When I returned rather than using my jolt of carbonated goodness to get to work, I called a friend and talked for 45 minutes.

    I hit restart, but I should have hit refresh! Who knew?!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..#MomInspired – Friday Night Sitewarming with Mom Select =-.

  • Van says:

    I need a hard refresh option for my brain, the constant bombarding thoughts make it hard to do or write ANYTHING sometimes…
    .-= Van´s last blog ..Sea, Sun, & Vintage Thrifted Finds =-.

  • Nice one Julie. I think we all get in that rut where we do things the same every time and need a kick in the pants to get us moving differently. I like to clear the cache in my browser ever few hours so that things will refresh new. I didn’t know about the shift refresh!
    .-= Justin Matthews´s last blog ..Kids songs and Dirty Lyrics =-.

  • Edgy Mama says:

    You’re effing brilliant. I was thinking something similar this morning about a slightly toxic person I need to remember not to engage with. Now, I’m just going to remember hard refresh whenever I’m tempting to engage with him.
    .-= Edgy Mama´s last blog ..Moog Ale, Asheville swimming teacher retires, and Monday =-.

  • Todd Jordan says:

    Love this. Hard-refresh!
    That’s a new term to me. Called it Reload vs Refresh. I’m going with your term, more fun.

    Yep. Need this all the time. I’m in the process of a slow but sure hard-refresh on how I deal with internal and external customers at work.
    .-= Todd Jordan´s last blog ..Tweetups Tip – Share something remarkable =-.

  • Kelly Diels says:

    hard. refresh.

    There is so much I *could* do with those two words (and do).

    I think you just hard-refreshed my soul.

    love love love.

  • Andi says:

    I definitely want one of these AND a rewind button for my mouth for ALL the things I have said in my life that I wish I could take back.
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..Sex and The City Paris =-.

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