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Internet Explorer 11 Tabs

By . Last modified: 2014-08-14.

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

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

Tabbed browsing is a good way to keep less Internet Explorer windows open and access contents of different pages easily.

In Internet Explorer 11 each Tab has its own browsing history and in case one Tab crashes, all other Tabs and Internet Explorer itself will continue working normally.

Tabs in Internet Explorer 11 also have priorities - the ones not active get less CPU resources than the currently active one. To work around possible audio and video synchronization issues on multimedia sites (such as Hulu), use different windows instead of tabs.

If configured to do so, Internet Explorer 11 is able to save all open Tabs and reopen these after browser or computer restart.
Another new feature is the ability to sync history, favorites, open Tabs and passwords between two devices that use Internet Explorer 11 (e.g. your Windows 8.1 desktop and laptop, and Surface 2).

To open a link on a webpage in a new Tab and switch to the new Tab immediately, hold down Ctrl and Shift keys on your keyboard and click on the link.
To open a link on a webpage in a new background Tab and leave the currently open Tab active, hold down Ctrl key on your keyboard and click on the link. You can also right-click on the link and select Open in New Tab to do that.

To open a new Tab, press CTRL+T on your keyboard or click the New Tab button to the right of the rightmost open Tab.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs. To open a new tab, press CTRL+T or click the New Tab button.

This will open a special about:Tabs page with list of pages that you have used the most recently.
Click any of the sites listed here to open it, or type an address into Address Bar.
You can also choose Tabs from a synced device (Dell-Winblue in this example; synchronization is not available in Windows 7 version of IE11) or make use of commands listed below the sites list: Reopen closed tabs, Reopen last session and Start InPrivate Browsing. The Hide sites link will show blank squares instead of sites, and the command turns in Show sites after clicking it.

If you do not like the most popular sites feature, you can use a blank page or a home page for new Tabs instead - this is described in Tabbed Browsing Options.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs. New Tab page - click any popular site or type an address into Address Bar.

When you have multiple Tabs open, use CTRL+TAB to cycle forward and CTRL+SHIFT+TAB to cycle backwards between open Tabs. You can also click on any open Tab to activate it.

If you want to duplicate the currently open Tab, press Ctrl+K on your keyboard or right-click on the Tab and select Duplicate Tab.

If you have not enabled the Start with tabs from the last session option in Startup section of Internet Options and you have more than one Tab open while trying to close Internet Explorer by pressing Alt+F4 on your keyboard or clicking the big red X button on the right side of the Title Bar, Internet Explorer will ask you whether you want to close all Tabs or just the currently active one. Click Close all tabs if you want to close Internet Explorer and all open Tabs.
To prevent this question in the future, click to check the Always close all tabs box.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs. If multiple Tabs are open and you try to close Internet Explorer, you will be asked whether you want to close all Tabs or just the currently active one.

Working with large number of open Tabs and using Taskbar previews

In case there is not enough room on the Tab bar to display all open Tabs, there will be scroll buttons on each side of the Tab bar - < scrolls one Tab back and > scrolls one Tab forward.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs. If Tabs bar is full, scroll buttons will be displayed.

Quick Tabs feature has been completely removed from Internet Explorer 11, but you can always stop your mouse pointer on IE icon on Taskbar and click the previews to switch between open Tabs. You can also use the previews for quickly closing one or more of the Tabs.
Internet Explorer 11 Tab list on Taskbar of Windows 8.1 Update. Click a Tab to switch to it, or click the red X button to close it.

In case you have a habit of keeping many Tabs open at the same time, it might be a good idea to move Tab bar to a separate row below the Address Bar for better readability (just like it was before IE9). To do that, click an empty space of Internet Explorer 11 Title Bar (or any open Tab) and click Show tabs on a separate row.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs. To move Tab list below Address Bar, right-click an empty space of Internet Explorer title bar and click 'Show tabs on a separate row'.

Now your Tabs will have a dedicated new row just under Address Bar.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs. Tab list below Address Bar.

Rearranging Tabs and moving Tabs between Internet Explorer 11 windows

Sometimes you need to reorder Tabs for better access. For example, you like to have your webmail page as a first Tab at all times, but the first Tab happens to be a search engine page instead. Click and hold left mouse button on the Tab you want to move, then drag the Tab with mouse to the position you like. When the Tab is in correct place, release mouse button.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs. To move a Tab to a different position, click and hold left mouse button on the Tab, then drag the Tab to the correct position and release the button.

To put a Tab in a new Internet Explorer window, drag the tab outside the current window (dragging upwards is the quickest way). To put the Tab back to the first window, simply drag it back to the original window. If you have multiple IE windows open, you can move Tabs between them this way.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs. To move a Tab to a different or a new window, click and hold mouse button on the Tab, then drag the Tab outside the current window.

Closing and reopening Tabs in Internet Explorer 11

To close an active Tab, press Ctrl+W on your keyboard or click the X mark on the right side of a Tab. If you have only one Tab open and you press CTRL+W, Internet Explorer 11 will close.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs. To close an active Tab, click the X mark on its right side.

When you have several Tabs open and you want to close all Tabs except one, right-click on the Tab you need to keep open and select Close other tabs.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs. If you want to close all Tabs except one, right-click on the Tab you want to keep and select 'Close Other Tabs'.

In case you closed a Tab by a mistake, press Ctrl+Shift+T on your keyboard to reopen last closed Tab. You can also right-click on any open Tab and select Reopen closed tab.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs. To reopen a mistakenly closed Tab, press Ctrl+Shift+T on your keyboard or right-click on a Tab and select 'Reopen Closed Tab'.

To select from a list of recently closed Tabs, right-click on a Tab and select Recently closed tabs. You can also reopen all recently closed Tabs by clicking Open all closed tabs there.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs. To select a mistakenly closed Tab for reopening, right-click on a Tab and select an item from the Recently Closed Tabs list.

Tab grouping in Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer has Tab grouping since version 8. Tabs are grouped by colors to easily distinguish between Tabs with different contents. Ungrouped Tabs are always light blue.

Tab grouping happens when you open a link in a new Tab. For example, you are looking at Google search results and you open an interesting link in a new Tab. Let's say that the first Tab group is marked with green color, so you will have two green Tabs. If you open another link in a new Tab from any of these two Tabs, the new Tab will also be green. Wherever you move on in these Tabs, the Tab color will stay green for them. If you need to, you can always ungroup a Tab.
If you right-click on a grouped Tab and select New Tab command, this new Tab will also be a part of that group.
If you open a new Tab with Ctrl+T keyboard shortcut, this Tab will not be grouped.

When Tab grouping is active, you will have new commands on a grouped Tab right-click menu:

  • Close This Tab Group closes all member Tabs of a Tab group.
  • Ungroup This Tab removes the selected Tab from a Tab group and its color becomes light blue

Internet Explorer 11 Tabs. If Tab grouping is active, there will be two new commands on right-click menu - 'Close This Tab Group' and 'Ungroup This Tab'.

Opening Internet Explorer 11 Tabs in  Immersive Browser

Immersive Browser is the Modern UI/Metro version of Internet Explorer 11. Naturally, this one is available in Windows 8.1 only (Windows 7 does not have the Modern UI interface).

Right-click (or tap and hold on touch-screen devices) any open Tab and click Open in Immersive Browser to launch it in the full-screen Modern UI version of IE11. The selected page will open in a new Tab of Immersive Browser, no matter whether the full-screen version of IE was already running or not.
You can send only one Tab at a time to the Metro browser.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs in Windows 8.1. To open a Tab in Modern UI version of IE, right-click it and select 'Open in Immersive Browser'.

For this option to actually work, Internet Explorer 11 must be the default browser. Otherwise, you'll encounter the lovely Tab entitled "Don't miss out on the browser built for Windows". You can click or tap the Set default browser button to turn Modern UI IE back on. Clicking No thanks will just close the Tab.
Internet Explorer 11 Tabs in Windows 8.1, Don't miss out on the browser built for Windows. Click 'Set as default' if you want to set IE as the default browser and start using its Modern UI version.

Changing Tabbed Browsing options in Internet Explorer 11

Open Internet options from Tools menu. Or use the following key sequence on keyboard (works only in English version of Internet Explorer): Alt, T, O.
Internet Explorer 11, Tools menu. Click 'Internet options' to change Tabs options.

In General tab, find the Startup section and choose whether you want Internet Explorer 11 to remember all open tabs (Start with tabs from the last session) upon exit or not (Start with home page). The first option will also disable the warning while closing Internet Explorer window with multiple Tabs open.
Then click Tabs button in the Tabs section.
Internet Explorer 11, Internet Options, General. To change how Tabs behave, click Tabs button in Tabs section.

To use Windows taskbar icon for quick switching between open Tabs, tick the Show previews for individual tabs in the taskbar check box. If this one is disabled, only the currently active Tab preview is displayed if you stop mouse pointer on IE icon in Taskbar.
As showed in the beginning of the article, a new Tab opens a list of your most popular sites by default. This is called The new tab page. You can also select A blank page or Your first home page from the When a new tab is opened, open: combo box.
Other settings should be self-explanatory. Click OK twice to close Tabbed Browsing Settings window and Internet Options window.
Internet Explorer 11, Tabbed Browsing Settings.

 

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