Police searches were carried out at the homes of all four defendants
An "encyclopaedia or library" of articles promoting terrorism was found during raids on the homes of three men and a boy of 16, a court has heard.
Prosecutors told London's Blackfriars Crown Court the haul included documents on weapons and explosives.
Defendant Aabid Khan, of Bradford, West Yorkshire, was described as "dedicated to the pursuit of a violent holy war".
The 23-year-old and three others deny terrorism-related counts of possessing articles or documents.
In the dock are Mr Aabid and Sultan Muhammad, 23, also from Bradford, West Yorkshire, Ahmed Sulieman, 30, from Woolwich, south-east London, and Hammaad Munshi, 18, from, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.
All four deny possessing articles or documents likely to be useful to terrorists in 2005 and 2006.
Mr Khan and Mr Muhammad also deny possessing articles for a terrorist purpose.
'Acts of murder'
Simon Denison, prosecuting, told the court that the material allegedly belonging to Mr Khan "showed he was dedicated to the pursuit of a violent holy war against anyone, any person or any country which did not believe in his religious faith".
"The computer, hard drives and the computer discs contained thousands of documents, videos and audio files that held detailed practical information on how to make and use weapons, explosives and poisons, how to carry out acts of murder on potential terrorist targets here in the UK as well as abroad," Mr Denison said.
He said police also found news reports about terrorist activity "that could have been used as information to inform someone intent on committing acts of terrorism".
Mr Denison said Mr Khan also possessed "documents that provided detailed information on surveillance and counter surveillance".
"This information amounted to a terrorist encyclopaedia or library that would have enabled him or others to carry out terrorist attacks here or abroad in a variety of ways, and thereby to further the cause that appeared to be his mission in life - the war on Western values and anyone who was a non-believer in the Muslim faith."
Mr Khan was arrested at Manchester Airport on 6 June 2006 as he arrived back from Pakistan.
Further raids then followed in West Yorkshire and London leading to the detention of Mr Khan's co-accused.
Mr Denison said all four had been "motivated by their common cause" and had amassed computers, CDs and books that "were the necessary tools of their trade, possessed to be used in furtherance of that violent cause".
Among the documents allegedly discovered at the defendants' homes were titles such as How To Make Napalm, Manual On Explosives And Demolitions and the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook.
Mr Denison said one particularly "chilling" video provided "a step-by-step guide on making a suicide bomber's vest".
Aabid Khan, 23, of Bradford, West Yorks
Sultan Muhammad, 23, of Bradford, West Yorks
Ahmed Sulieman, 30, of Woolwich, London
Hammaad Munshi, 18, of Dewsbury, West Yorks
The jury heard that the youngest defendant, Mr Munshi, was a pupil at Westborough High School, in Dewsbury, at the time of his arrest.
He lived with his parents 10 miles from Mr Khan, and according to prosecutors, was in regular contact with him.
In one discussion, via the MSN internet messaging service, the pair discussed how someone might "get a sword with a metal blade through a security scanner at an airport", Mr Denison said.
He said the schoolboy had also "created a document" from information found on the internet which contained "practical information how to make napalm, detonators, high explosives, home-made explosives, how to make grenades and how to kill someone".
The trial continues. It is expected to last 10 weeks.