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The best free Internet Explorer 8 add-ons

Eight ways to improve browsing with IE8

When Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 8 it made much of the web browser's new features that were intended to provide greater security and ease of use. We've put together eight tips will help you take advantage of these new and enhanced features.

Use Accelerators to speed up your work

Accelerators are add-ons for IE8 that let you quickly do a variety of tasks based on text you select on a web page: get a stock quote, look up the definition of a word or phrase, map a location, convert currencies, share selected text on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, create a shortened URL, search for a product at an online shopping site and much more.

Select any piece of text on a web page, and the Accelerator button, that has an arrow pointing to the right-corner on it, will pop up; click that button to see the Accelerator menu. (You can also access Accelerators on the right-click contextual menu.)

Some Accelerators show their results in a pop-up window, while others appear in a new tab.

IE8 comes with several built-in Accelerators, but third-party developers are already starting to produce a wide range of new ones that you can install yourself. Go to Microsoft's Accelerator Gallery to see the available options.

Bookmark info with Web Slices

Another add-on that's new in IE8 is the Web Slice. Web Slices allow you to subscribe to a frequently updated part of a web page, such as sports scores, headlines or current weather - if the site's developers have designated that part of the page as a Web Slice. (Most websites are not Web Slice-enabled at this time.)

When a page you're viewing contains a Web Slice, a green icon appears on the toolbar next to the Home icon, as shown to the right. The same icon appears next to the Slice-ready content on a web page when you mouse over it. Click the icon in either location to see a dialog box asking if you want to add the content to your Favourites bar.

Adding a Web Slice places a button on your Favourites bar that opens a small drop-down box with the updated information from the original page, so you can check the weather, traffic or anything else without interfering with whatever else you're doing in your browser.

Once you've added a Web Slice, updated content is always available from your Favorites bar.

A selection of Web Slices can be found in Microsoft's Add-On Gallery, but Web Slices are easy to create - watch for the green Web Slice icon to start popping up all over the web.

Broadband speed test

NEXT PAGE: Cover your tracks with InPrivate browsing

  1. Free add-ons to get the most out of your web experience
  2. Cover your tracks with InPrivate browsing
  3. Protect your privacy and even block ads with InPrivate filtering
  4. View incompatible pages with the Compatibility Viewer
  5. Customise the interface
  6. Don't forget these keyboard shortcuts


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