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Internet Explorer 11 isn’t terrible! In fact, if you’ve got a Windows tablet and have bought into the whole Metro — sorry, “Modern” — interface, it’s probably the best touch-based browser you can use. We’ve already looked at how Internet Explorer 11 has matured into a modern browser and has left behind IE 10’s more annoying limitations.
We’ll be focusing on the Modern version of Internet Explorer 11 here. The desktop version is almost the same as ever, aside from a few new features like Developer Tools and the ability to sync tabs with other Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices. Internet Explorer 11 is included as part of Windows 8.1, which will be available as a free upgrade for all Windows 8 users on October 18, 2013.
Windows 8’s Modern interface receives two much-needed upgrades in Windows 8.1. First, you can view two or more full apps on screen at the same time. You’re no longer limited to one app being a small sidebar on one side of the screen. Second, you can run multiple instances of an app.
Combined, this means that you can now have two web pages side-by-side in the Modern interface. We’re most of the way through 2013 and we’re celebrating the ability to view two web pages side-by-side, who’d have expected that?
To use this feature, right-click or long-press on an open tab and select Open tab in new window. You’ll see the web pages side-by-side.
The Flip Ahead feature tries to automatically predict the next page you’ll want to visit. For example, if you’re reading a multi-page article on a website, the Flip Ahead feature will detect the next page of the article as the web page you’ll want to visit. On MakeUseOf’s home page, flipping ahead will take you to the next page of articles.
To use flip ahead, just click the arrow that appears on the right side of a page or just swipe to the left.
While viewing a web page, open the charms bar with a swipe in from the right or with the Windows Key + C shortcut and tap Share. You’ll be able to share the page with other apps you have installed. By default, you can email a link with Mail, use the People app to post the link to a social network, or add the page to your reading list. You’ll see more options here if you have more apps installed. For example, the Twitter app would allow you to share the link on Twitter.
Reading List & Reading Mode
Windows 8.1 includes a new Reading List app that integrates with Internet Explorer, allowing you to save articles to read them later. It’s sort of like Pocket or Instapaper, none of which offer official Modern apps.
Some websites offer a reading mode that you can activate by tapping a book icon that appears in Internet Explorer’s address bar on that page. Reading mode is just like Readability and other reading-mode browser extensions. You can add articles directly to your reading list from reading mode or add any article to your Reading List using the Share charm.
For people who actually try to use Modern Internet Explorer 10, one of its most obnoxious features was the way it didn’t allow you to always view your tabs on-screen all the time. Tabs were hidden and you had to swipe or right-click to view them. IE 11 introduces an option that will shrink the tabs to a more standard size and make them always visible on your screen.
To use this feature, open the Settings charm, select Options, and set the Always show address bar and tabs slider to On.
Internet Explorer 11 also supports an unlimited amount of tabs — the Modern version of IE 10 only supported a maximum of 10 tabs at a time.
Pin Websites to Your Start Screen
You can pin websites you use to your Start screen and give them their own tiles. Just click or tap the star button on Internet Explorer’s app bar. Tap the pin icon afterwards and you’ll get a tile for the website.
Internet Explorer 11 allows websites to display live tile information as if they were an app after you pin them. Don’t expect many websites to support this for now as IE 11 is so new.
Activate Hover Menus
Hover menus aren’t designed for touch. They’re designed for mouse movements — move your mouse over a place on the page and a menu will appear. This is often impossible to do on touch devices.
If you’re using a Windows tablet, you can now long-press on something to perform a “hover” event. This will cause hover menus to appear on websites that don’t properly support touch input.
Internet Explorer 11 now allows you to manage your favorites from the Modern app without using the desktop app. While saving a favorite — tap the star icon to access your favorites and then tap the star icon with a plus sign over it — you’ll be able to create new bookmark folders and categorize your bookmarks. You can then navigate through folders of favorites from the Favorites bar.
Call Phone Numbers
By default, IE 11 automatically turns phone numbers on web pages into clickable links. These will open in any app you have installed that can handle them. Skype is included in Windows 8.1, so you’ll be able to call numbers in Skype just by clicking or tapping them on the web.
If you don’t like this feature, you can disable it from the Settings charm.
To access tabs open on other Windows 8 or Windows Phone devices, click or tap the Tabs option and select the name of the device. On the desktop, you can access synced tabs from Internet Explorer’s new tab page.
Could It Be That Internet Explorer Is A Cool Browser?
Microsoft is seriously trying to build a browser you will enjoy. And if you happen to have a touch-enabled device running Windows 8, you should give Internet Explorer 11 a try! Not only is Internet Explorer catching up, it’s leading the way for what a touch-based browser should look like.
Do you know any other tips for Internet Explorer 11 or 10? Leave a comment and add your own!