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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 browsers 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.

Customise the Interface

In IE6 and earlier versions of the browser, you could easily tweak the toolbars at the top of the browser window, adding and removing toolbar buttons, increasing/decreasing text size, moving whole toolbars around and so on.

Much to the annoyance of power users, most of that customisability was removed in IE7 - a few small tweaks aside, you were stuck with the default appearance. Happily, Microsoft saw the error of its ways, and in IE8 the toolbars are once again highly customisable.

Right-click any toolbar and in the context menu that pops up, uncheck 'Lock the Toolbars' to unlock them, which enables the full customisation options.

You can make more room for web content by hiding some of the toolbars - in the same right-click context menu, uncheck whichever toolbars you want to. Another option is to rearrange the toolbars - just grab the vertical line to the left of a toolbar, then drag and drop the toolbar wherever you like.

If you select Customise from the right-click menu, a new menu will pop up with options for the way command buttons appear in the toolbars.

Tweaking the appearance of the toolbars
The Use Large Icons option toggles the size of the icons, from standard to large and back. Show All Text Labels means that text appears on all the command buttons in the toolbars (some also have graphical icons); Show Selective Text means you'll see icons without text for the more obvious commands, such as Home; and Show Only Icons removes the text labels altogether.

You can also shift the Stop and Refresh buttons to the left of the Address Bar, where they're likely to feel a bit more at home. Select Add or Remove Commands, and you can add or remove functions from the Command Bar (the run of icons that appears to the right of the tabs).

As the default browser in the forthcoming Windows 7 and a recommended update in other versions of Windows, you can expect to start seeing IE8 more and more. Master the eight features described above, and you'll find yourself ahead of the pack in this new browsing world.

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NEXT PAGE:Don't forget these keyboard shortcuts

  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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