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Internet Explorer 8 Tabs

By . Last modified: 2014-08-14.

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

Tabbed browsing is a good way to keep less Internet Explorer windows open and access contents of different pages easily. Until Internet Explorer 7 users had to open a new window each time they wanted to see more than one website at the same time.

In Internet Explorer 8 each Tab has its own browsing history and in case a Tab crashes, all other Tabs and Internet Explorer itself will continue working normally.

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 last open Tab.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 Tabs. To open a new tab, press CTRL+T or click the New Tab button.

This opens the New Tab page with several options.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 Tabs. New Tab page with options.

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.

When you have more than one Tab open and you try to close Internet Explorer by pressing Alt+F4 on your keyboard or clicking the 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.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 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

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.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 Tabs. If Tabs bar is full, scroll buttons will be displayed.

When you have a large number of Tabs open, you can use Quick Tabs to see a preview of all open Tabs. Press CTRL+Q on your keyboard or click the Quick Tabs button to the left of first open Tab.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 Tabs. Use Quick Tabs button to get an overview of all open Tabs.

This opens a nice overview of all open Tabs. Click on any Tab here to switch to it.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 Tabs, Quick Tabs page. Click on any Tab to activate it.

To display a simple list of all open Tabs instead, press Ctrl+Shift+Q on your keyboard or click the down arrow button on the right side of Quick Tabs button.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 Tabs. To display a list of all open Tabs, press CTRL+SHIFT+Q on your keyboard or click the down arrow button to the right of Quick Tabs button.

Rearranging Tabs

Sometimes you need to rearrange 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 the left button of your mouse 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.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 Tabs. To move a Tab to a different position, click and hold mouse button, drag the Tab to the correct position and release mouse button.

Closing and reopening Tabs

To close an active Tab, press Ctrl+W on your keyboard or right-click on the Tab and select Close Tab. If you have only one Tab open and you press CTRL+W, Internet Explorer 8 will close.

When you have several Tabs open and you want to close all Tabs except the currently active one, right-click on the active Tab and select Close Other Tabs.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 Tabs. If you want to close all Tabs except the currently active one, right-click on the active Tab 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 a Tab and select Reopen Closed Tab.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 Tabs. If you want 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.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 Tabs. To select a mistakenly closed Tab for reopening, right-click on a Tab and select Recently Closed Tabs.

Tab grouping

Internet Explorer 8 includes Tab grouping. 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. 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.Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 Tabs. If Tab grouping is active, there will be two new commands on right-click menu - Close This Tab Group and Ungroup This Tab.

Changing Tabbed Browsing options

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 change Tabs options.

In General tab, click Settings button in the Tabs section.
Internet Explorer 8, Internet Options, General tab. To change how Tabs behave, click Settings button in Tabs section.

Tabbed Browsing Settings window opens. For the Tabs to work, you must have Enable Tabbed Browsing (requires restarting Internet Explorer) box checked.
To use Quick Tabs, check the Enable Quick Tabs (requires restarting Internet Explorer) box.
As said in the beginning of the article, a new Tab opens a nearly blank page 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 8, Tabbed Browsing Settings.

 

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