The following tutorial applies to the Desktop version of Internet Explorer 11. The 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 or field where we type 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 the 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 the Address Bar, you will see the list of recently visited web sites and items on your computer. You can click any of these links to open the address (also known as URL - Uniform Resource Locator) in the current Tab. In case you prefer to open the web page in a new tab, hold down the Alt key on your keyboard and click on the address.
This is how Internet Explorer 11 also offers some results from previously visited websites (History) and your Favorites.
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 the letters "pc".
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. The keyboard shortcut Ctrl+E also starts the search function.
You can click the item you want from the list, or you can press Shift+Enter on your keyboard to open the first site on the list. Arrow keys on your keyboard also help moving up and down the list.
If you want to add "www" and ".com" to the site name you just typed, 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 the 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/address from Internet Explorer history. Or you can use the Del (Delete) key to remove an address/URL from History.
If you do not see a list of visited sites after typing just one letter, continue typing. This enhances the Address Bar list a lot - it now searches in History, Feeds, and Favorites. As usual, you can hit 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 the X button on the right side.
IE's also looks for suggestions from its default search provider. You can switch between multiple search providers by clicking their icons on the bottom of the list.
To control which items are displayed while typing a part of an internet address, open Internet Options from the Tools menu (the cogwheel icon on the right side). The keyboard shortcut Alt+X also opens the menu.
Open the Content tab from the top. Find the AutoComplete section and click Settings.
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:
- Feeds 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 stolen by a virus or other malware - you really would not want that to happen.
Click OK twice to close AutoComplete Settings and Internet Options windows.