Browsing the web

Getting started with Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer 11 is included in the Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 update. Internet Explorer makes it easier to get where you want to go on the web, and helps you see amazing content at its best. By learning some common gestures and tricks, you’ll be able to comfortably use your new browser and get the most out of your favorite sites.

Note: If you aren't using Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, go download the latest Internet Explorer for your operating system.

Browsing basics

Let's get started. To open Internet Explorer 11, tap or click the Internet Explorer tile on the Start screen.

One address bar, three ways to use it

The address bar is your starting point for browsing the web, with a combined address bar and search box so you can surf, search, or get suggestions all from one place. It stays tucked out of the way when you’re not using it to make more room for sites. To make the address bar appear, swipe up from the bottom of the screen, or click the bar at the bottom of the screen if you're using a mouse. Here are three ways to use it:

  • Surf. Enter a URL in the address bar to go to straight to a site. Or, tap or click the address bar to see sites you visit often (these are your frequent sites).

  • Search. Enter a term in the address bar and tap or click GoGo button to search the web with your default search engine.
  • Get suggestions. Don’t know where you want to go? Enter a word in the address bar to get website, app, and search suggestions as you type. Just tap or click one of the suggestions above the address bar.

Internet Explorer address bar

Multitasking with tabs and windows

With tabs, you can open many sites in one browsing window, so it's easy to open, close, and switch between sites. The tabs bar shows any tabs or windows you have open in Internet Explorer. To show the tabs bar, swipe up from (or click) the bottom edge of the screen.

Internet Explorer tabs bar with open tabs

Opening and switching between tabs

Open a new tab by tapping or clicking the New tab button New tab button. Then, enter a URL or search term, or select one of your frequent or favorite sites.
When you have multiple tabs open, switch between them by tapping or clicking open tabs in the tabs bar. You can have up to 100 tabs open in one window. Close tabs by tapping or clicking CloseClose in the corner of each tab.
Multiple Internet Explorer windows open

Using multiple browsing windows

You can also open multiple windows in Internet Explorer 11, and view two of them side-by-side. To open a new window, press and hold (or right-click) the Internet Explorer tile on the Start screen, and then tap or click Open new window.

You can view two windows side-by-side on your screen. Open one window, and drag down from the top edge to the right or left side of the screen. Then, drag the other window in from the left side of the screen.

Tip

You can keep the address bar and tabs docked on the bottom of the screen to quickly open sites and search. Open the Settings charm, tap or click Options, and under Appearance, turn Always show the address bar and tabs to On.

Customize your browsing

Once you’ve learned the basics of using your browser, you can change your home pages, add favorite sites, and pin sites to your Start screen.

To choose your home pages

Home pages are the sites that open each time you start a new browsing session in Internet Explorer. You can choose multiple sites—like your favorite news sites or blogs—to load when you open the browser, so the sites you visit most are ready and waiting for you.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)

  2. Tap or click Options, and under Home pages, tap or click Manage.

  3. Enter the URL of a site you’d like to set as a home page, or tap or click Add current site if you’re on a site you’d like to make a home page.

To save your favorite sites

Saving a site as a favorite is a simple way to remember sites you like and want to visit often. (If you've updated to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8, and signed in using your Microsoft account, any favorites you had were imported automatically.)

  1. Go to a website you want to add.

  2. Swipe up from (or click) the bottom edge to bring up the app commands, then tap or click the Favorites button Favorites button to show the favorites bar.
  3. Tap or click Add to favoritesAdd to favorites, and then tap or click Add.
Favorites bar in Internet Explorer

To pin a site to your Start screen

Pinning a site creates a tile on the Start screen, giving you one-touch access to that site. Some pinned sites will show notifications, so you know when new content is available. You can pin as many sites as you like, and organize them into groups on the Start screen.

Site pinned to the Start screen
  1. Swipe up from (or click) the bottom edge to bring up the app commands.

  2. Tap or click the Favorites button Favorites button, tap or click the Pin site button Pin site, and then tap or click Pin to Start.
Tip
You can switch quickly between favorites and tabs by tapping or clicking the Favorites button Favorites button or Tabs button Tabs button in the app commands.

Reading, saving, and sharing web content

When you’re flipping through your favorite online content, look for the Reading view icon Reading view icon in the address bar. Reading view clears away the clutter—like ads—so stories are front and center. Tap or click the icon to open the page in reading view. When you want to get back to browsing, just tap or click the icon again.
A web article with reading view off
A web article with reading view off
A web article with reading view on
A web article with reading view on

To customize your settings for reading view

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)

  2. Tap or click Options, and under Reading view, choose a font style and text size.

Here are a few different style options you can choose from.

Custom font style in reading view
Custom font style in reading view
Custom font style in reading view

To save pages to Reading List

When you come across an article or other content that you’d like to read later, just share it to your Reading List instead of emailing yourself a link or leaving extra browsing tabs open. Reading List is your personal content library. You can add articles, videos, or other content to it right from Internet Explorer without leaving the page you’re on.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Share.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Share.)

  2. Tap or click Reading List, and then tap or click Add. The link to your content is now stored in Reading List.

Helping protect your privacy

Socialize, shop, study, share, work—these are all things you probably do daily on the web that might make your personal information available to other people. Internet Explorer helps protect you with better behind-the-scenes security and more control over your privacy. Here are a few ways that you can help you protect your privacy while browsing:

Use InPrivate Browsing. Browsers store info like your search history to help improve your experience. When you use an InPrivate tab, you can browse like you normally do, but things like passwords, search history, and webpage history are deleted when you close the browser. To open a new InPrivate tab, by swipe up from the bottom edge (or right-click) to show the app commands, tap or click the Tab tools button Tab tools button , and then tap or click New InPrivate tab.

Use Tracking Protection and Do Not Track to help protect your privacy. Tracking refers to the way that websites, third-party content providers, advertisers and others learn about how you interact with sites. This might include keeping track of what pages you visit, links you click, and products you purchase or review. In Internet Explorer, you can use Tracking Protection and Do Not Track, to help limit the info that third parties can collect about your browsing, and express your privacy preferences to sites you visit.

Perfect for work and play

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