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Internet Explorer 11 Address Bar

How to use and configure Internet Explorer 11 Address Bar in Windows 7 and 8.1

By . Last modified: 2013-11-11.

The following tutorial applies to Desktop version of Internet Explorer 11. Modern UI/Metro version is covered in a separate guide.

Essentially, opening web sites is what we use Internet Explorer most often for. Address Bar is the box where we type in addresses of web sites or web pages. Internet Explorer 11 has an improved Address bar with integrated Search and Autocomplete from History, Favorites and Feeds contents.

In case you are typing in an address for a web page you have not visited before, you can press Enter to open it in the current Tab or Alt+Enter to open it in a new Tab and switch to it immediately. If you prefer to open the address in background and not switch the currently active Tab, press Alt+Shift+Enter on your keyboard.
You can select the current Address Bar contents by pressing Alt+D or Ctlr+L on your keyboard. When you start typing, you replace the current address in Address Bar.

When you press F4 on your keyboard or click on the down arrow button on the right side of Address Bar, you will see the list of recently visited web sites and items on your computer. You can click on any of these links to open the address (also known as URL - Uniform Resource Locator) in current Tab. In case you prefer to open the web page in a new Tab, hold down Alt key on your keyboard and click on the address.
See how Internet Explorer 11 also offers some results from previously visited websites (History) and your Favorites.
Internet Explorer 11 Address Bar, down arrow button opens list of recently visited addresses

If the site you want is not on the recently visited sites list, you can type in one or more letters of it instead. For example, to find "http://www.pcworld.com" in history, type in "pc" and you will see the list of visited web sites starting with letters "pc".
You can select the Address Bar contents by pressing Alt+D on your keyboard. Then just type a letter to replace the current Address Bar contents.
To start searching for a term using defined search engines (e.g. Bing, Google), type a question mark first, for example ? what is the meaning of life. You can also start searching using a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+E.
Internet Explorer 11 Address Bar, type a letter to see a list of visited web sites that start with this letter

You can click on the web page you want from the list or you can press Shift+Enter on your keyboard to open the first site on the list. Use arrow keys on your keyboard to move up and down the list.
If you want to add "www" and ".com" to a web site name you typed in, press Ctrl+Enter on your keyboard - to go to www.bing.com, all you need to do is type in "bing" and press Ctrl+Enter.
Like said before, use Alt+Enter to open selected address in a new Tab, but if you do not want to see the Tab right away, you can open it in the background by pressing Alt+Shift+Enter on your keyboard - this leaves your currently open Tab active.

If you want to delete a web page from the list, click the X mark on the right side of the address. This deletes the page from Internet Explorer history. Or you can use Del (Delete) key to delete a site from History.

If you do not see a list of visited sites after typing in one letter, continue typing the next letter. This enhances Address Bar list a lot - it now searches entered letters both in History, Feeds and Favorites. As usual, you can click Shift+Enter to open the first address on the list, click on any other address to open it, or delete an address from Internet Explorer History by moving your mouse pointer over it and clicking X button on the right side.
You will also see a list of suggestions from your default search provider. You can switch between multiple search providers by clicking their icons on the bottom of the list.
Internet Explorer 11 Address Bar, enhanced list of visited sites from History, Feeds and Favorites

How to select which entries AutoComplete uses

To control which items are displayed while typing a part of an internet address, open Internet Options from Tools menu (the cogwheel icon on the right side).

Then click to open Content tab. Find the AutoComplete section and click Settings.
Internet Explorer 11, Internet Options, Content tab. To change AutoComplete behavior for Address Bar, click 'Settings' in AutoComplete section.

In the Use AutoComplete for section, make sure that Use Windows Search for better results is turned on. This makes searching much faster.
Next, select any items you want to be searched for while typing letters into Internet Explorer Address Bar.
The Feeds item is useful only if you have subscribed to any RSS or Atom feeds in Internet Explorer or Windows Live Mail.
If you want Internet Explorer 11 to list some most visited sites while you're typing in a web address, leave the Suggesting URLs option enabled. For example, if you type in "goo", Address Bar automatically suggests google.com even if you have never visited the site before.
For security reasons, make sure that the Ask me before saving passwords box is clear. This means that no passwords are automatically saved. Remember, passwords stored by any Internet browser can be easily stealed by a virus or other malware - you really would not want that to happen!
Internet Explorer 10, AutoComplete Settings. Make sure that Use Windows Search for better results is turned on. Also ensure that Ask me before saving passwords is cleared.

Click OK twice to close AutoComplete Settings and Internet Options windows.


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