The new Internet Explorer app, even though simple in structure, can be confusing at first, especially to those who have not used mobile browsers such as the one found on smartphones powered by Windows Phone.
WHen you open it, you see the homepage that is set (if not changed, the homepage is the Microsoft Bing search engine) and a small toolbar at the bottom of the window with a few buttons and options. The toolbar is minimized as soon as you click or tap where websites are loaded.
If you want to bring the toolbar back, swipe from the bottom edge of the window toward the middle. You can also right-click with a mouse.
Let's look at the buttons one by one, from left to right, and see what they do:
■ The Back button takes you to the previous page you visited. The button is active after you visit more than one web page. Click or tap it, and it will take you back. The same effect can be achieved by flicking right if you are using a touch-enabled screen. A transparent version of this button is shown if you move the mouse to the left side of the browsing window.
^ Next to the Back button is an icon that always changes. It just loads the icon of the website you are currently viewing. If no icon is detected for that website, the default Internet Explorer icon appears.
^ The Address bar is where you type the address of the website you want to visit. This bar can also be used as a search box. You can type a search term and press the Enter key or click (tap) the Go button that appears near it. Internet Explorer displays the search results relevant to your search term by using the default search engine you have set. If you have not changed its default configuration, search results will be disВplayed by using Bing, the search engine owned by Microsoft.
The button near the Address bar is called Refresh and can reload the web page you are viewing so that you can see the updates that have been made to it, if any, since the last time you viewed it.
The Pin To Start button can pin the web page you are viewing as a shortcut on your Start screen.
The Page Tools button gives access to a small contextual menu that can be used to search on the current web page, view the same page on the Internet Explorer desktop application, or access the app for the loaded website when one is available.
The Forward button takes you to the next page if you used the Back button. Click or tap it, and it will take you forward. The same effect can be achieved by flicking left if you are using a touch-enabled screen. A transparent version of this button appears if you move the mouse to the right side of the browsing window.
When using the Address bar, the Internet Explorer window changes to help you find what you want as quickly as possible. First, it displays the websites you visit frequently and those that you have pinned.
As you start typing (it doesn't matter whether it is the address of a website, the name of a website, or a search term), Internet Explorer starts searching your most frequently visited websites, the websites you pinned to the Start screen, and your browsing history. If it finds entries that match what you have typed so far, it will display the appropriate results. Then you can just click or tap the result that matches where you want to go.
If you want to search the web for something that you have not visited so far, finish typing the search term and click or tap the Go button that appears near the Address bar. This trigВgers a web search, using the search engine set as default.
If you right-click somewhere in the middle of the Internet Explorer window or swipe down from the top of the window toward the middle, you will see an additional menu at the top. Again, a right-click brings up the menu.
This menu first shows the tabs you opened and the websites loaded in each tab. The active tab has blue margins, whereas the tabs open in the background have no visible margins. Each tab has an X button that closes that tab.
To switch between tabs, click or tap the one you want to view. If you want to create a new tab, click or tap the + button found at the top right of the window.
Beneath the new tab button is a button with three dots. This button offers two options: start a new InPrivate tab and clean up (close) the tabs that are not active.
When browsing the web, notice that the Page Tools button on the bottom toolbar can have a slightly different icon, depending on the websites you are visiting. On most websites, it will show a wrench-like icon.
On some websites, however (Wikipedia, for example), it will also show a small plus sign.
When this sign is displayed, it means the website you are visiting has an Internet Explorer app available in the Store. If you click or tap it, the Page Tools menu appears. This time, the menu will have an option named Get App For This Site. A click or tap takes you to the Store, from which you can install the app specific to that website.
If you have copied a link to a web page, you can paste it into the Address bar to view that page. Many users will appreciate the Paste And Go option, which automatically pastes the link and loads it into the browser. To bring it up, right-click or press and hold in the Address bar.
When used on web pages, the right-click menu enables you to copy content and links and open links in a new tab or the same tab and to save pictures directly to your picture library.
To make navigation easier for desktop users, the Internet Explorer app enables you to naviВgate backward and forward without having to bring up the toolbar on the bottom of the app window. Hovering the mouse on the left or right side of the window displays a transВparent Back or Forward button, depending on where you placed the button. Clicking it takes you to the previous or next web page you visited in the active tab.
The Internet Explorer app includes a new Flip Ahead feature so you can navigate your favorВite sites like you read a magazine. It replaces the need to click or tap links with a more natuВral forward swipe gesture on touch-centric devices (and forward button with the mouse).
As you can see from this section, the new Internet Explorer app is not very difficult to use. If you take some time to experiment, visit a few websites, and do searches on the web, you'll become comfortable using it and start to enjoy this new way of browsing the web. That's true both for readers who use a classic desktop computer and for those who use a comВputer with touch or a tablet.