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Clean, with a focus on your websites

Windows® Internet Explorer® 9 gives users a clean experience that puts the focus on what they care about most on the web. A streamlined browser interface and seamless integration with Windows 7 desktop navigation allow users to pin business-critical websites and applications directly to the Windows taskbar and create customized Jump Lists that put common tasks one click away.

Clean design

Improvements to the interface and navigation features provide more screen area for the websites and web applications that are important to users.

Clean browser interface

A streamlined browser frame puts the focus on the content of websites and applications. This new look brings the webpages to the front and highlights them, while the browser user interface plays a supporting role. The new browser layout is designed to provide just the controls that are needed to support essential navigation functionality (Back button, Forward button, an updated Address Bar, Home button, and Favorites) with a streamlined Tools menu and tabs into a single row of the user interface in the default experience. By default, the Favorites Bar, Command Bar, Menu Bar, and Status Bar are hidden, which helps to elevate web content so users can be more productive and focus their attention on the page, rather than the browser. Using group policy settings, users and corporations can turn on these additional bars to customize the frame.

One-click navigation

The New Tab page has been revamped in Internet Explorer 9 to intelligently display the websites you visit most often and put them one click away, so that navigation is simple and easy. The New Tab page now displays tiles for your most commonly visited websites, in addition to the default search provider and home page. New users can get started quickly, and returning users can get meaningful suggestions and information that helps them decide what to do next as they browse.

The New Tab page also enhances usability by providing links for the following:

  • Reopen closed tabs

  • Reopen last browsing session

  • Start Microsoft InPrivate® Browsing

Now in Internet Explorer 9, you can also access webpages from the Windows taskbar. You can drag a tab from Internet Explorer and pin it to the taskbar, making it available with just one click. Accessing frequently used websites has never been easier.

Familiar Windows interface

Your workforce is already familiar and comfortable with the interface in Internet Explorer. We have integrated much of what we learned about user-interface improvements with Windows 7, specifically about how to create a clean, simple experience that pulls the tasks and applications that people want to use to the forefront. Applications are close and easy to access, whether via the Windows taskbar or Jump Lists. It is clean and immersive—the application is at the forefront and nothing else. It is intuitively interactive—what you expect to happen should happen. Users will find it easy to drag a tab and snap it to the side of the display as a way to compare two sites. You’ll find there will be less training, less confusion, and less downtime associated with getting users familiar with the updated interface.

Optimized controls and fewer interruptions

Navigation controls have been optimized based on what people use most and user notifications now appear in the Notification bar at the bottom of the browser. These notifications are easy for users to understand and to take action upon.

In Internet Explorer 9, inline auto-complete in the address bar anticipates what users are looking for and helps get them to their website quickly. Users can also type in familiar terms like “news” or “music” and not have to worry about trying to remember the full web address of the sites they visit. These improvements will make browsing easier and more efficient for administrators and the users they support.

Privacy is an important part of the Internet Explorer promise. For example, users control whether or not they receive search suggestions from a selected search provider as they type. By default, keystrokes are not sent to search providers and users can choose to turn on search suggestions.

Rich experiences

Internet Explorer 9 provides rich experiences by supporting emerging graphics technologies and enabling new ways for you to experience websites using the latest Windows features and APIs.

Graphically rich and immersive experiences

Changes made in Internet Explorer 9 provide graphically rich and immersive experiences for websites by using the technologies listed in this section. The Internet Explorer Test Drive site is a great place to see demonstrations of the rich, immersive experiences that are available in Internet Explorer 9. This section points you to demos that showcase the updates made in Internet Explorer 9.

Hardware-accelerated graphics. Hardware-accelerated graphics and the Direct2D® graphics infrastructure create crisp, speedy, accurate graphics. To see an example of these improvements, check out the FishIE Tank demo.

Hardware and canvas demonstration performance_fish_tank

HTML5 video tag. Support for the HTML5 video element enables smooth-streaming videos. To see an example, check out the IMDb Video Panorama demo.

HTML5 canvas tag. Support for the HTML5 canvas element enables easy and dynamic graphics rendering while taking advantage of hardware acceleration via Windows and the graphics card. To see an example, check out the Canvas Zoom demo..

Canvas Zoom demo

SVG. Support for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) in Internet Explorer 9 enables powerful, attention-grabbing visuals with incredible detail. All of this is available without having a separate download or plug-in. To see an example, check out SVG Dice.

Windows 7 integration

Internet Explorer 9 provides an integrated Windows navigation experience with websites that support Jump Lists and thumbnail preview controls.

Jump Lists take users directly to the websites that they use every day. Jump Lists are a quick and easy to way to get to frequently visited websites without needing to open Internet Explorer first. To open the Internet Explorer 9 Jump List, right-click the Internet Explorer icon on the task bar. Users see their pinned websites in addition to the sites that they visit often. There’s also access to start InPrivate Browsing, open new tabs, or close a browser window.

Any website that is pinned to the taskbar also has a Jump List. What users see in each of these Jump Lists depends on each website, but all the Jump Lists include commands for InPrivate Browsing, opening the site, unpinning the site, and closing the browser window. Websites can be pinned to horizontal or vertical taskbars, and users can also group multiple homepages in a single pinned site.

Pinned sites with Jump Lists provide users with faster access and richer controls with internal corporate websites. These web applications feel more native as they are seamlessly integrated into the familiar Windows 7 experience.

Jump List for a site pinned to the taskbar

Some websites that are pinned to the taskbar have additional controls. When users hover over a thumbnail for a website in the taskbar, they may see things like playback controls, similar to the controls in Windows 7 for Windows Media Player.

Thumbnail controls of a pinned site

Smarter address bar

In Internet Explorer 9, search and navigation functionality is integrated into the address bar. One Box gives users a single place to begin their online experience, whether they want to navigate to a specific URL, or start a search. In the new One Box, inline auto-complete anticipates what they are looking for and helps them get to websites quickly. Users don’t have to worry about having to remember the full web address. Instead, they can type in familiar terms like "news" or "music" and can quickly get to the sites they need. Search suggestions also help users find what they’re looking for and get to their sites faster and with less typing.

To search the web, type the search query into One Box and press the Enter key to get search results. If users type a single word into One Box, Internet Explorer 9 determines whether the word is a valid URL. If it’s valid, users go directly to the website. If it’s not, they are sent to the search provider to see the search result page. The ability to switch between search providers or add new providers is integrated into the bottom of the One Box drop-down menu, making it easier to get results from different search providers quickly. One Box can also save you keystrokes when you want to refine a search. If you want to add terms to your search query, you can now enter search mode from One Box. When you do this, you just click the original term to include it in the new query and then start typing to add terms to the query. No need to retype the original term.

User privacy is an important part of the Internet Explorer promise. With Internet Explorer 9, users or IT professionals are in control of what information, if any, gets shared with search providers. From the One Box drop-down menu, users or IT professionals can choose to get search suggestions or to turn them off, through the browser interface or using a group policy setting. If they decide to turn search suggestions on, the text they type will be sent to the select search provider as they type it. The search provider will suggest searches based on what is sent, one keystroke at a time, which can help users get results more rapidly. Users or IT professionals are always in control, and can turn search suggestions on or off at any time.

Visual search results in address bar

Search in the corporate environment

Internet Explorer 9’s new One Box allows users to type search terms in the address bar, where any text in the address bar that does not appear to be a URL is sent to the currently selected search provider. Internet Explorer 9 starts with the default search provider, but if a user switches to a secondary provider, the search is performed with the selected provider.

For domain-joined machines, a single word is treated as a search term instead of as an intranet site. This allows Internet Explorer 9 users in the corporate environment to experience immediate search. In Internet Explorer 8, a single word was treated as an intranet site, and upon failure, the browser would resolve to the default search provider. This could take time and the result wasn’t always predictable.

To explicitly go to an intranet site (such as http://contoso/) in Internet Explorer 9, both the trailing slash character (“contoso/”) and http:// prefix will trigger navigation. Internet Explorer 9 also checks in the background to see if an intranet site is available in the single-word scenario and offers matches through the Notification bar. If you select the intranet site from the Notification bar, Internet Explorer 9 remembers that the word is associated with an intranet site, and the next time you type in the intranet site name, Internet Explorer 9 uses inline auto-complete to resolve to the intranet site address.

For corporations who would like to have one-word searches default to search for an intranet site, administrators can enable the Go to an intranet site for a single word entry in the Address bar group policy. When this group policy is enabled, a search for “contoso” triggers an intranet search for http://contoso.

Tear-off tabs and Aero Snap tabs for side-by-side web browsing

Web navigation and multitasking are made easier in Internet Explorer 9 with natural gestures like dragging and snapping tabs.

Users often need to use more than one website or page to accomplish a task. Tearing off a tab and using Windows Aero® Snap is a great way to show two sites or pages side by side. With Aero Snap, users can compare products from different websites, watch videos while reading email, or look at a map while reading an itinerary for a trip.

To tear off a tab, click a tab and drag it to edge of the screen. Content on the site is rendered continuously and videos continue to play when snapping a window in place, providing a fluid experience.

In a corporate environment, there are many scenarios where users have many tabs open at the same time. To support these scenarios, you can place tabs below the address bar, which gives you more space for your tabs and for One Box. We’ve also improved the visibility of the active tab and enabled you to close background tabs by using a close button that appears when you hover over a background tab. A single tab also can be closed by using the close button on the tab.

Tearing off a tab into its own window

Tabs dragged and snapped for side-by-side viewing

See Also