Internet Explorer 8 is the default browser in Windows 7. In Windows XP and Vista, use Windows Update for downloading and installing Internet Explorer 8. Windows Vista users can and should upgrade to Internet Explorer 9 for faster browsing and more security, Windows 7 users should upgrade to Internet Explorer 10.
Internet Explorer 8 layout looks like this:
Back and Forward buttons are for quickly going back or forward in current browsing history. These buttons are active only when you have visited at least two web pages. Then a blue arrowhead pointing down activates to the right of the Forward button. When you click on it, you will see your browsing history and you can go back or forward by clicking any item in the list.
Browsing history is different for each open Tab in each open Internet Explorer window.
You can also move back one page at a time by pressing Backspace or Alt+left arrow key on your keyboard. You can move forward one page at a time by pressing Alt+right arrow key on your keyboard.
Address bar is the place to write the address of the website you want to visit. For example, www.google.com. Address bar remembers visited addresses, so if you have visited www.google.com before, you do not have to type in the whole address, just type "google" and choose the address from the list.
After you enter a website's address (also called "URL") press Enter key on your keyboard to go to that address.
Refresh and Stop buttons are quite essential. When you want to refresh a page, click on Refresh button or press F5 key on your keyboard. To ignore cached items and force reload of the page, use keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F5.
When you want to stop loading a page (for example, it takes too long), click Stop button or press Esc key on your keyboard.
There is often also a third button called Compatibility View. This allows viewing really old standards-ignoring pages correctly. So when a page looks odd (menus or pictures are out of place), try clicking on it to see if Compatibility View makes things better.
Search box is for quickly searching for something on the Internet or on the current page. You can have several different search providers (for example, Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc) to choose from. When you type something in the Search box, most search providers offer you words or phrases for auto completing. For example, when you want to search for "Estonia", type in just "est" and choose "estonia" from the list that appears in a short while.
When your search word or phrase is complete, press Enter key on your keyboard to start searching.
Search button is also a way to start searching. The arrowhead pointing down allows you to select between, add and manage search providers. It also enables searching on the current page only.
It is easier to quickly search for something on current page by pressing Ctrl+F on your keyboard and enter the search term in the Find box.
Favorites bar includes your favorite web sites and web parts. This bar is meant for pages and web parts you visit most often. This bar is short, so you can also have an extended and well-organized list of favorites under Favorites button on the very left of the bar.
After the vertical separator is Add to Favorites Bar button. When you click it, your currently open page or selected web part will be added to Favorites bar as a button.
Suggested sites is a feature that gives a list of other sites that you might find interesting. This list is based on your currently open web page.
Tabs are something like windows in windows. Since Internet Explorer 7 you can have many pages open in one Internet Explorer window. This makes navigating between open web pages easier and different Internet Explorer windows will not clutter Taskbar.
You can open a new Tab by clicking the small empty tab right to the last open Tab or by pressing Ctrl+T on your keyboard.
You can close active Tab by clicking the X button in the right top of the Tab or by pressing Ctrl+W on your keyboard.
To navigate between open Tabs, click on the needed Tab or use keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+Tab to move forward one Tab at a time or Ctrl+Shift+Tab to move back one Tab at a time.
Menus include most often used commands.
Since Internet Explorer 7 the full Menu bar is hidden by default. Instead of wasting space on your screen by making full Menu bar visible at all times, you can just press Alt key on your keyboard and full Menu bar appears below Address bar until you use it. After selecting a command from the full Menu bar, the full Menu bar disappears.
Horizontal and Vertical scroll bars are for moving left and right and up and down in currently open web page. The scroll bars appear only if the page content does not fit fully in open Internet Explorer window or Tab.
Click and hold on a scroll bar and move your mouse to scroll a web page.
Status bar shows the status of web page (done, loading, errors, etc).
Status bar also includes Current Security zone name. Security Zones are Internet, Local intranet, Trusted sites and Restricted sites. Interactive content, multimedia and add-ons can be restricted or allowed depending on the current Security Zone.
The most common zone is Internet.
Zoom Level controls how small or big everything looks on a web page. You can switch between zoom levels by clicking on the number (this switches between 100%, 125% and 150%) or you can click the arrow down button and select a common percentage yourself. You can also use keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+plus sign and Ctrl+minus sign to zoom in and out, respectively.
You can also use Full-Screen Mode by pressing F11 key. This hides Internet Explorer's Title Bar, Address Bar, Favorites Bar, all menus and Status Bar. You can still open Address Bar, Favorites Bar and Menu Bar when you move your mouse pointer to the top of the screen.
To exit Full-Screen Mode, press F11 key again.
To show or hide different toolbars, right-click an empty space on a toolbar and select items you want. A check mark on the left of an item means it is already visible.
Internet Explorer 8 supports multiple home pages - if you have specified more than one home page, they will automatically open in different Tabs when you open Internet Explorer. Do not use many home pages, though, as this will slow down opening Internet Explorer.
Opening home page(s)
To open all specified home pages, click the house-shaped Home button on the top right, or use keyboard shortcut Alt+Home. Note that different home pages open in different Tabs.
Adding or changing home page(s)
To add or change home pages, open the pages you want to specify as home pages. Then click the Tools button. Click Internet Options:
The first section on General tab is Home page. To use the currently open web page as your home page, click Use current. This will add all currently open Tabs as your home pages.
If you want to specify your own pages, type them in, each page on a different line. Separate different pages by pressing Enter key.
Click OK after you are done.