Tabbed browsing in Internet Explorer 8: frequently asked questions

This information applies to Windows Internet Explorer 8.

Here are answers to some common questions about tabbed browsing.

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What is tabbed browsing?

Tabbed browsing is a feature in Internet Explorer that enables you to open multiple websites in a single browser window. You can open webpages in new tabs, and switch between them by clicking the tabs you want to view. By using tabbed browsing, you potentially reduce the number of items that are displayed on the taskbar.

If you have multiple tabs open, you can also use Quick Tabs to easily switch to other tabs. For more information, see Using Quick Tabs in Internet Explorer.

How do I open a new tab?

To open a new blank tab, click the New Tab button on the tab row or press CTRL+T. To open a new tab from a link on a webpage, press CTRL as you click the link, or right-click the link and then click Open in New Tab. If you have a mouse with a wheel, you can click a link with the wheel to open it in a new tab.

Picture of the New Tab button
New Tab button

In Internet Explorer 8 you can open previously closed tabs or browsing sessions, choose an Accelerator, or start InPrivate Browsing. For more details on the new tab page, see Tabs, Accelerators, and InPrivate Browsing: recommended links.

How can I tell which tabs I opened from links on a webpage in Internet Explorer 8?

When you open links on a webpage in new tabs, Internet Explorer 8 groups those tabs by displaying new tabs in the same color as the page you linked from.

How do I close a tab?

If you have more than one tab open, click the Close Tab button Picture of the Close Tab button on the tab you want to close. If you have a mouse with a wheel, and have more than one tab open, you can click a tab with the wheel to close it. If you only have one tab open, you must close the browser window to close the tab.

If you click the Close button in the upper-right corner of Internet Explorer 8, you will be asked whether you want to close the tab you're currently viewing, or the entire browser window. In Internet Explorer 7, you can choose to reopen the current tabs the next time you start Internet Explorer.

Can I reopen tabs I've already closed?

In Internet Explorer 8, yes, you can open tabs you've closed during a single browsing session, or all the tabs that were open when you previously closed the browser. For more information, see Open tabs you've previously closed.

How do I open a new tab to my home page?

When you open a new tab, Internet Explorer displays the new tab page by default. If you prefer that your home page appear when you open a new tab, follow these steps:

Open a new tab to your home page in Internet Explorer 8

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.

  3. Click the General tab, and then, under Tabs, click Settings.

  4. In the Tabbed Browsing Settings dialog box, click the list under When a new tab is opened, open, click Your first home page, and then click OK twice.

Open a new tab to your home page in Internet Explorer 7

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.

  3. Click the General tab, and then, under Tabs, click Settings.

  4. In the Tabbed Browsing Settings dialog box, select the Open home page for new tabs instead of a blank page check box, and then click OK twice.

Notes

  • If you open a new tab and see a page that says "You've opened a new tab" after you've followed the steps above, select the Don't show this page again check box, and then click Close. When you restart Internet Explorer, your home page will display whenever you open a new tab.

  • If you have multiple home page tabs, only the first home page in your list will open in the new tab.

How do I save a group of tabs?

To save a group of tabs, click the Favorites button, In Internet Explorer 8, click the arrow next to the Add to Favorites button, and then click Add Current Tabs to Favorites. In Internet Explorer 7, click the Add to Favorites button Picture of the Add to Favorites , and then click Add Tab Group to Favorites. Give the tab group a name, and then click Add.

How do I open a group of tabs that I've saved?

Click the Favorites button and then click the folder that you want to open. Click the arrow to the right of the folder name Picture of the Open in tab group button. All of the webpages will open on separate tabs. When you open a group of tabs in this way, Internet Explorer 8 groups those tabs by displaying a color band at the top the tabs.

Can I turn off tabs so that they no longer appear?

Yes. Here's how:

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.

  3. Click the General tab, and then, in the Tabs section, click Settings.

  4. Clear the Enable Tabbed Browsing check box.

  5. Click OK twice.

  6. Close Internet Explorer and then open it again.

What keyboard shortcuts can I use when working with tabs?

The following table describes the keyboard shortcuts that are available when working with tabs.

To
Press

Open links in a new tab in the background

CTRL while clicking the link.

Open links in a new tab in the foreground

CTRL+SHIFT while clicking the link.

Open a new tab in the foreground

CTRL+T or double-click an empty space on the tab row.

Open a copy the current tab in a new tab in Internet Explorer 8

CTRL+K

Switch between tabs

CTRL+TAB to move forward or CTRL+SHIFT+TAB to move backward

Close the current tab (or the current window when there are no open tabs)

CTRL+W or ALT+F4

Open a new tab in the foreground from the Address bar

ALT+ENTER

Switch to a specific tab number

CTRL+n (where n is a number between 1 and 8)

Switch to the last tab

CTRL+9

Close all tabs except for the one you're viewing

CTRL+ALT+F4

Open Quick Tabs (thumbnail view)

CTRL+Q

See Internet Explorer 8 keyboard shortcuts for more information. In Internet Explorer 7, see Internet Explorer keyboard shortcuts .

Can I choose whether pop-ups are displayed in a new window or on a new tab?

Yes. You can choose to always display pop-ups on a new tab, to always display them in a new window, or to let Internet Explorer decide how to display them. If you opt to let Internet Explorer decide how to display pop-ups, it will display the pop-up in a new window if the pop-up specifies size or display requirements. Otherwise, the pop-up is displayed in a new tab.

To change how pop-ups are displayed

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.

  3. Click the General tab, and then, in the Tabs section, click Settings.

  4. Make a selection in the When a pop-up is encountered section.

  5. Click OK twice.