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Internet Explorer 10 Search

How to use Internet Explorer 10 Search capabilities in Windows 7 and 8

By . Last modified: 2013-04-09.

The following tutorial applies to Desktop version of Internet Explorer 10. Modern UI/Metro version is covered in a separate guide.

Internet Explorer 10 has search capabilities built into Address Bar. When you type a keyword or phrase into the Address Bar and press Enter key or click the Search button, Internet Explorer will open search results from selected search provider in currently active Tab. If you want to open search results in a new Tab, use Alt+Enter instead.
You will also see search suggestions from your default Search Provider while typing a word or a phrase into Address Bar.

You can still open Find Bar for quickly searching in currently open page by pressing Ctrl+F or F3. Find Bar now searches right away for any characters that you type in the Find box and it highlights all matches on the page. This makes finding information really easy. Smile

How to enable searching from Address Bar

Many Windows 7 users upgrading from Internet Explorer 8 or 9 do not see any search results from their Search Providers in Internet Explorer 10 Address Bar and entering search keywords or phrases end up with an error page saying "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage".
Internet Explorer 10 Address Bar without Search enabled. Trying to search from Address Bar results in an error page.

To use Search Providers in Address Bar, open Manage add-ons from Tools menu. Or use the following key sequence on keyboard (works only in English version of Internet Explorer): Alt, T, A.
Internet Explorer 10, Options menu. Click Manage add-ons to change Search Provider options and enable searching from Address Bar.

Click Search Providers on the left, then click a Search Provider name and make sure that Search suggestions is set to Enabled. Then click to select the Search in the address bar check box.
Click Close after making changes.
Internet Explorer 10, Manage Add-ons, Search Providers. Check the Search in the address bar box.

Searching in Address Bar is now enabled.

Basic search tips for better results

Relevance of search results depends heavily on how you use keywords or phrases and how you limit search criteria.

The most basic search would include one word only. Let's use windows as an example. This will return a huge number of search results from many fields of operation - window replacement companies, Microsoft Windows pages, etc. In short - this is not very efficient.

Many people try to limit their searches by adding keywords, for example: windows xp. This will actually widen search results, because now search engines are looking for pages that include windows or xp or both.

The better way is to search for exact matches by enclosing the words in double quotes: "windows xp". You can go further by adding other keywords before or after enclosed words - "windows xp" ballmer or sales "windows xp".

If you want to exclude a word or words from search results, use minus sign. For example, "windows xp" ballmer -error would search for pages that include exactly windows xp and ballmer, but not error. You can specify several exclusions by separating them with spaces: -error -presentation. Note that there is no space after the minus sign!

When you need to limit search results to a certain web site, use site: criteria. For example, to search for "windows xp" ballmer -error in Microsoft pages only, use: "windows xp" ballmer -error site:microsoft.com. This will return results from all web sites under microsoft.com domain - www.microsoft.com, downloads.microsoft.com, office.microsoft.com, etc.
You can use exact web site in site criteria to further narrow down the search results, for example: site:www.microsoft.com.

Sometimes you need to search by top-level domains, such as ".ee" for sites in Estonia or ".uk" for sites in United Kingdom, ".biz" for business sites, ".tv" for television-related sites, etc. In that case use site:.ee, site:.uk, site:.biz or site:.tv for criteria, for example: "windows xp" sales -drop site:.uk
Again, you can specify multiple criterias by separating them with spaces (site:.uk site:.ee) and you can exclude specific domains or websites (-site:.ee -site:.microsoft.com).
Please note again that there is no space after the colon!

Another good criteria is "filetype:". If you want to search for Acrobat Reader files, specify filetype:pdf, if you want to search for Microsoft Word documents, use filetype:doc. Some other useful file types are "xls" for Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, "ppt" for Microsoft PowerPoint presentations and "txt" for text files.
Why not create a search: "sales report" site:microsoft.com filetype:doc

Searching in Address Bar

To search from Address Bar, click it or activate it by pressing F4 on your keyboard. Type a few letters to start automatic searching. In case automatic search suggestions are not enabled for your default Search Provider, you will see a link for turning the feature on. Suggestions feature needs to send keystrokes to search provider for results to appear, but this is not some major privacy threat - the keystrokes will be used the same way as on the search engine's home page.
Internet Explorer 10, Searching from Address Bar. If search suggestions are not enabled for your default Search Provider, click the Turn on suggestions link.

To open a suggested search result, click it. To open the search in Search Provider's home page and see more matches, press Enter key on keyboard or click the Search button (magnifying glass). To see results in a new tab, use keyboard shortcut Alt+Enter.

Because Internet Explorer 10 tries to autocomplete web addresses you have used previously, it is better to type a question mark (?) before starting a search. This will put Search Provider suggestions on top and address autocomplete will be disabled. Keyboard shortcut for this is Ctrl+E.
Internet Explorer 10, Searching from Address Bar. To prevent address autocompletion. type a question mark before performing a search in Address Bar.

Adding new Search Providers

If you have not customized the list of Search Providers, you probably have only one of them - Bing.

To add Google to the list of Search Providers, click Add on the bottom right of Address Bar results.
Internet Explorer 10 Address Bar search results. To add a Search Provider, click Add.

This will open a web page at ieaddons.com with available and Microsoft-approved Search Providers. Find "Google Search" and click Add to Internet Explorer button.
List of Search Providers at ieaddons.com. To add a Search Provider, click Add to Internet Explorer button below the engine name.

Add Search Provider dialog opens. If you want to use Google as your default search engine, select Make this my default search provider. Always check the Use search suggestions from this provider box.
Click Add to confirm.
Internet Explorer 10, Add Search Provider. If you want to use the provider as a default, select Make this my default search provider box. Click Add button to add the selected Search Provider.

Now you have two Search Provider icons while searching in Address Bar. To switch suggestions between Search Providers, click the provider's icon.
Internet Explorer 10 Address Bar search results. To switch between Search Providers, click the provider's icon.

Sorting and removing Search Providers

If you want to reorder or delete Search Providers, open Manage add-ons from Tools menu. Or use the following key sequence on keyboard (works only in English version of Internet Explorer): Alt, T, A.
Internet Explorer 10, Options menu. Click Manage add-ons to reorder or remove Search Providers.

In the Manage Add-ons window, click Search Providers on the left. Below the list there are links named Move up, Move down and Alphabetic sort. You can also enable or disable search suggestions and searching in the address bar for the selected provider.
Internet Explorer 10, Manage Add-ons, Search Providers. Below Search Providers list are links to move selected provider up or down in the list. You can also sort providers alphabetically or disable and enable search suggestions for the selected provider.

To remove a Search Provider, select it and click Remove. Please remember that Internet Explorer will not confirm this, the Search Provider will be deleted right away.
You cannot delete the default Search Provider. Mark some other search engine as the default by using the Set as Default button.
Click Close button to end managing Search Providers.

Using Find Bar for searching contents of currently open page

If you want to search for something in currently open web page, use Find Bar. You can open it by pressing Ctrl+F or F3 on your keyboard. Blueish Find Bar appears right under Tab bar and Menu bar.
Type something in the Find: box and all matches will be automatically highlighted. You can turn highlighting on and off by clicking the Highlight all matches button.
Internet Explorer 9 Find Bar. Type something in the Find box and all matches on current page will be highlighted automatically.

Use Previous and Next buttons to move to the previous or next match on the page. The total number of matches is displayed on the right of Options button.

By default, Find Bar searches for any matches, not whole words and it is not case-sensitive:

  • office matches "office", "office-ready", "Microsoft Office" and "libreoffice"
  • present matches "present", "Present", "presentation" and "Represent"

To find only whole words, click Options button and select Match Whole Word Only.
To make search case-sensitive, click Options and select Match Case. This will find only "facebook", but not "Facebook" or "fAceBook" in the example below.
Internet Explorer 9 Find Bar. By default, Find Bar searches are not case-sensitive and do not match whole words. Click Options button to change these settings.

Close the Find Bar by clicking the X mark on the left.


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