Tip: keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F searches in the page contents.

Internet Explorer 8 Address Bar

How to use Internet Explorer 8 Address Bar in Windows XP, Vista and 7

By . Last modified: 2013-04-09.

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 8 has much improved Address Bar with AutoComplete and History features.

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 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.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 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 "" in history, type in "m" and you will see the list of visited web sites starting with letter "m".
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.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 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.
If you want to delete a web page from the list, click the red X button on the right side of the address. This deletes the page from Internet Explorer history.
There is another small down arrow mark titled "Show more keyboard shortcuts and usage tips" at the end of the list. This opens expanded list of Internet Explorer 8 Address Bar possibilities.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 Address Bar, down arrow mark on the bottom of the list opens other actions list.

As you can see, you can do even more with keyboard shortcuts. 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, 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.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 Address Bar, more actions list.

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 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 red X button on the right side.

Enabling Windows Search and selecting which entries AutoComplete uses

Many users see the "Download Windows Search to improve history and favorite results" message as displayed  on pictures above. This means that either Windows Search is not installed at all or it is not enabled in Internet Explorer settings. Windows Search is always installed in Windows Vista and 7, and Windows XP users can install it as described in the Install Windows Search in Windows XP article.
To speed up searching in Address Bar, 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 8, Tools menu. Click Internet Options to manage AutoComplete.

In the Internet Options window, open Content tab. Find the AutoComplete section and click Settings.
Internet Explorer 8, Internet Options, Content tab. To change AutoComplete behavior for Address Bar, click Settings in AutoComplete section.

Under 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 RSS or Atom news feeds in Internet Explorer or Windows (Live) Mail.
For security reasons, make sure that the Ask me before saving passwords box is cleared. 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! You can read more about securing Internet Explorer in this article.
Internet Explorer 8, 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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