Using feeds (RSS)

This information applies to Windows Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Internet Explorer 8.

Here are answers to some common questions about feeds (RSS).

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What is a feed?

Feeds, also known as RSS feeds, XML feeds, syndicated content, or web feeds, contain frequently updated content published by a website. They are usually used for news and blog websites, but are also used for distributing other types of digital content, including pictures, audio, or video. Feeds can also be used to deliver audio content (usually in MP3 format) which you can listen to on your computer or MP3 player. This is referred to as podcasting.

How do I know if a website offers feeds?

When you first view a website, Internet Explorer will search for feeds. If feeds are available, the Feeds button Picture of the Feeds button will change color and a sound will play.

How do I view a feed?

When you visit a webpage, the Feeds button Picture of the Feeds button will change color, letting you know that feeds are available. Click the Feeds button, and then click the feed you want to see. If you are using Internet Explorer 8, and a website offers Web Slices as well, you'll see the Web Slice button Picture of the Web Slice button. To get content automatically, you should subscribe to a feed. For more information on Web Slices, see Web Slices: frequently asked questions.

How do I subscribe to a feed?

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

  2. Go to the website that has the feed you want to subscribe to.

  3. Click the Feeds button Picture of the Feeds button to discover feeds on the webpage.
  4. Click a feed (if more than one is available). If only one feed is available, you will go directly to that page.

  5. Click Subscribe to this Feed.

  6. Type a name for the feed and select the folder to create the feed in.

  7. Click Subscribe.

How do I add a feed to the Internet Explorer 8 Favorites bar?

To add a feed to the Favorites bar, subscribe to the feed, and then select the Add to Favorites Bar check box in the Subscribe to this Feed dialog box. If you've already subscribed to the feed, you can click the Add to Favorites Bar button Picture of the Add to Favorites Bar button to add the feed to the Favorites bar. To learn more about the Favorites bar, see Customize your Favorites bar.

How does a feed differ from a website?

A feed can have the same content as a webpage, but it's often formatted differently. When you subscribe, Internet Explorer automatically checks the website and downloads new content so you can see what is new since you last visited the feed.

Does a feed subscription cost money?

No, it's usually free to subscribe to a feed.

How can I view my subscribed feeds?

You view feeds on the Feeds tab in the Favorites Center. To view your feeds in Internet Explorer 8, click the Favorites button, and then click Feeds. In Internet Explorer 7, click the Favorites Center button Picture of the Favorites Center button, and then click Feeds.

Can other programs display my subscribed feeds?

Yes, Internet Explorer provides the Common Feed List to other programs. This allows you to subscribe to feeds with Internet Explorer and read them in other programs, such as e‑mail clients, or the Windows Sidebar.

What does RSS mean?

The acronym RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and is used to describe the technology used in creating feeds.

What formats do feeds come in?

The most common formats are RSS and Atom. Feed formats are constantly being updated with new versions. Internet Explorer supports RSS 0.91, 1.0, and 2.0, and ATOM .3, 1.0 . All web feed formats are based on XML (Extensible Markup Language), a text-based computer language used to describe and distribute structured data and documents.