Tip: Opening Tabs and Tab Groups in Internet Explorer 7

So you have installed the latest version of Internet Explorer, IE7, and you are excited about the space-saving and navigational benefits of tabbed browsing. These tips are for you…

Quickly Opening Links in New Tabs

There are several ways to open links in tabs while browsing the Web, including:

  1. Click the “New Tab” placeholder on the tab toolbar (see the image below), copy & paste the new link into the address bar, hit Enter;
  2. Hold down the Ctrl key and left-click the link;
  3. Right-click on the link and choose “Open in New Tab;”
  4. Middle-click the link.

New Tab in IE7

My personal favorite is #4 since it is fast and requires a single action. It is about time the middle mouse button actually does something useful in IE7. (Middle-click works the same in Firefox as well.)

When I am reading a blog or article containing several external links, I middle-click on each link that interests me to launch it in a separate tab. After reading each topic I then close its tab and avoid the painfully slow click-read-back, click-read-back mambo. Middle-clicking anywhere on a tab closes it as well — no need to click the ‘X’.

Saving Tabs as Tab Groups

If you want to save the tabs you have opened in your current session for later viewing, you can choose “Add Tab Group to Favorites” from the “Favorites” menu. If you don’t want to clutter your Favorites or only want a one-time save, just close the browser and, when prompted, choose the option to open the same tabs/sites the next time you start IE under “Show Options” (see the animation below).

New Tab in IE7

Opening a tab group saved under Favorites requires a bit of work:

  1. Press Alt+C to open the “Favorites Center”
  2. Right-click on the folder containing the favorites you want to open as a group
  3. Choose “Open in Tab Group”

Hopefully the IE team will address this issue in a future release by allowing tab groups to be opened directly from the Favorites menu as well.

Tip: Inline Search Add-In for Internet Explorer

Now that Windows Vista is nearing release, I will start posting short tricks and tips to help newbies navigate the new interface and associated applications. This will only happen occasionally as I stumble across little-known features I find useful.

I have been running pre-release builds on my laptop (IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad T43p) since Beta 2. There are many substantial changes so there will be many frustrating moments as we unlearn familiar techniques and become more efficient with this “operating system of the future.”

These hints will help me down the road as well when I forget how to do something or while upgrading another machine. I have also created a new Tips & Tricks category for future reference.

Today’s entry: Improving the default Find (not Search) behavior of Internet Explorer (IE).

Find is what do when you select the Edit / Find on this Page… menu (or press Ctrl+F). Whereas search is what you do when using Live Search, Google, Ask, etc.  Find, for the purposes of this post, is for finding text on the page you are currently viewing while search is for locating all sorts of content and information on the Web.  Now that that is all cleared up.

This tip works for IE 5.5 and later including the new IE 7.0 for Windows XP and IE 7.0 for Windows Vista.

Follow the steps below to get going:

  1. Download & Install the Inline Search for Internet Explorer Add-In (requires you to close your browser)
  2. Re-open IE
  3. Visit your favorite page (http://www.msn.com is my default homepage)
  4. Press Ctrl+F (or use the menu as described above)
  5. Start typing in the pane that appears at the bottom of your browser window

As you type, matches will be highlighted.

  • To find the next match, press F3
  • To find a previous match, press Shift+F3
  • Highlight all matching strings on the page by clicking the ‘Highlight’ button
  • To stop searching and close the pane, press Esc

That’s it. Now you can search a page quickly using the keyboard. Also, you no longer have an ugly window appear and partially block the page you are searching in your browser. Even cooler is how the add-in highlights matching terms as you type and includes the option to highlight all matches.