Internet Explorer

In Windows 8 Internet Explorer is the current default web browser. Learn all about using Windows 8 IE together in this free lesson.

Using Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer—also known as IE—is the default web browser in Windows 8. While IE offers many of the same features you would expect to find in any browser, the simplified interface may be a little confusing at first. In this lesson, you'll learn how to use the address bar, open and move between tabs, and save your favorite websites for quick access. We'll also talk about how to clear your browsing history.

Windows 8 comes with two versions of IE, with an app for both the Start screen and the Desktop. This lesson will focus on the Start screen app. The Desktop version of IE offers a more traditional web browsing experience, as well as advanced options for bookmarking and privacy. Check out our lesson on Getting Started with the Desktop to learn more about using Desktop apps.

Getting started with IE:

Click the buttons in the interactive below to become more familiar with the IE interface.

labeled graphic

Back Button

Click the Back button to move backward in your browsing history.

Address Bar

Right-click the mouse to see the address bar, which you'll use to navigate to a website or conduct a web search. Frequently visited sites and suggestions will appear as you type.

Refresh Button

Click the Refresh button to reload the current page.

If a webpage doesn't load properly, the Refresh button will change temporarily to the Stop button. Click this button to stop a webpage from loading.

Tabs Buttons

Click the Tabs button to view all open tabs.

Favorites Button

Click here to access the Favorites bar, where you can view and add favorites. You can also pin websites to the Start screen.

Page Tools Button

Click the Page tools button to search for content on the current page, view downloads, or open the Desktop version of IE.

Forward Button

Click the Forward button to move forward in your browsing history.

Tabs

You can open multiple websites at the same time using tabs.

Right-click the mouse to see tabs that are currently open.

To close a tab, click the Close Tab button in the corner of each open tab

New Tab Button

Click here to open a new tab.

Tab Options Button

Click here to to reopen a closed tab or to open an InPrivate window. An InPrivate window will not track your browsing history.

Tabs Bar

Whenever you are interacting with a website, the tabs bar and address bar will disappear.

To re-open them, just right-click anywhere on the screen, or swipe up from the bottom if you're using a touch-screen.

The address bar

The Internet Explorer address bar allows you to navigate to websites and search the web. You'll find the address bar at the bottom of the screen. As you enter a search term or URL, the address bar will offer suggestions for webpages and search terms, which makes navigating the Web faster and easier.

To use the address bar:

If you don't want the browser to suggest search terms as you type, click Turn off suggestions from Microsoft.

screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Turning off suggestions

Tabs and windows

Internet Explorer allows you to open multiple websites using tabs. You can also open websites in a new window to view different sites side by side.

To open a new tab:

  1. Select the New Tab button. Alternatively, press Ctrl+T on your keyboard. A new tab will appear.


    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Selecting the New Tab button
  2. Type a URL in the address bar and press Enter, or select a frequently visited site to navigate to a new page.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Selecting a frequently visited site
  3. The page will appear in the new tab.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11The new tab

To switch between tabs:

  1. Select the desired tab.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Selecting a tab
  2. The tab will be selected.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11The newly selected tab

To close a tab:

To view two windows side by side:

  1. Open the desired websites as tabs.
  2. Right-click a tab and then select Open tab in new window.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Selecting Open tab in new window
  3. The websites will appear side by side.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Viewing websites side-by-side

To open a link in a new window:

  1. Right-click the desired link, then select Open link in new window.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Opening a link in a new window
  2. The websites will appear side by side.

Favorites

If you find a website you'd like to visit later, you can add it to your favorites, which most browsers call bookmarks. You can also pin a site directly to the Start screen.

To add a favorite:

  1. Navigate to the website you wish to favorite, then select the Favorites button.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Accessing the Favorites toolbar
  2. The Favorites toolbar will appear. Select the Add to favorites button.


    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Selecting the Add to favorites button
  3. A dialog box will appear. Click the drop-down menu to select a folder for the website, then click Add to save the site as a favorite.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Clicking Add to save the favorite

You can also press Ctrl+D on your keyboard to add a site to your favorites.

To pin a website:

When you pin a website, Internet Explorer will create a shortcut for it, which will appear on your Start screen. Unlike favorites, pinned websites don't require you to navigate to the browser to view them.

  1. Navigate to the website you wish to pin. Select the Favorites button, then select the Pin site button.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Selecting the Pin Site button
  2. A dialog box will appear. Select Pin to Start.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Clicking Pin to Start
  3. The website will be pinned to the Start screen.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11The pinned website

Privacy and security

Like all browsers, IE keeps a browsing history for the websites you visit. You may want to clear your browsing history periodically for the sake of privacy.

To delete browsing history:

  1. Hover the mouse in the lower-right corner to access the Charms bar, then select Settings.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Selecting Settings
  2. The Settings pane will appear on the right. Select Options.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Selecting Options
  3. The Internet Explorer settings will appear. Locate and click the Select button under History.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Clicking the Select button
  4. A dialog box will appear. Select the browsing data you want to delete, then click Delete.
    screenshot of Internet Explorer 11Deleting browsing history