What’s new in IE7

Posted by: Suprotim Agarwal , on 6/20/2007, in Category Windows Vista
Views: 43835
Abstract: Internet Explorer is a web browser which needs no introduction. IE7 is the first major upgrade ever since 2001 and has now been revamped to provide a host of features. In this article, we will take a view of the various features offered in this new version of Internet Explorer.
Introducing IE7
IE7 comes integrated with Windows Vista as the default browser. However those who want to run IE7 or Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 can download it over here. You need to select the Operating System and click on Go. Assuming that you have set up IE7 on your machine, the moment you open it, by either choosing it from the Start Menu or clicking its shortcut on the Quick Launch Bar, you are encountered with a simple interface with a tabbed browsing system as shown in the figure below :
IE7 preview
As shown above, there are a few common features found in previous versions of IE like the Back Forward buttons, the address bar. Some new features include tabs instead of separate pages, Web search Box on the top right corner, a quick tab preview, quick tab list and a revamped toolbar. By default the Menu Bar is hidden and becomes visible when you press the Alt key. Let us explore these as well as some more new features in IE7.
Quick Tabs
The quick tabs button displays a thumbnail preview of all open webpages in the current IE window.  To access the button, either click on the Quick tab preview Quick tab preview button or use the shortcut Ctrl + Q. The figure below shows you a quick tab preview.
To switch off this feature, go to Tools->Internet Options->General->Tabs->Settings and turn off Enable Tabbed Browsing.  Click OK. Remember that you need to close the IE and reopen it to view the change.
Tab Groups
Tab groups allow you to create logical categories of tabs and save in your Favourites folder. The next time when you wish to see the category, you can open multiple tabs with a single click. Cool isn’t it!!. To create a tab group, follow these steps :
·         Open 3-4 tabbed pages in a single browser.
·         Click on Add to Favourites AddToFavourites  and then Add Tab Group To Favourites.
·         Type an appropriate name that describes the Group and click on Add. I chose the name ‘Search’.
 Next time you open IE, click on the Favourites button Favourites and choose the blue arrow button to the right of the tab group you wish to open, in our case Search.
History represents the list of websites visited by you. You can view the History Pane by either clicking on Favourites and choosing the History Tab or by using the shortcut key Ctrl + H.
You see a list of subfolders organized by date. You can change the view by clicking on the arrow to the right of the History tab as shown below :
Clicking on the subfolders representing Date shows the list of websites visited during that period. Click on the website to view the web pages visited in that website.
One important change that should be noted is that clearing browser history is a one step process now. All you need to do is to go to Tools - >Delete Browsing History->Delete All. This clears up all the cache, history, cookies, form data etc.
RSS Feeds
We now have an integrated feed reader in IE7 that can read RSS or Atom feeds. RSS is a great way to subscribe for updated content from a website. This helps you to avoid checking for updates manually and you can also get to see a summary of the content.
Let us follow the steps to subscribe to a feed :
·         Browse to a website which has the RSS feeds that you want. In our case, we will browse to https://www.dotnetcurry.com/ShowCategories.aspx and click on the RSS button next to Expression Web. This takes you to the page https://www.dotnetcurry.com/GetArticlesRss.aspx?CatID=48 where you can Subscribe to this feed.
     Rss feed
·         On clicking on Subscribe to this feed, an Internet Explorer dialog box appears that lets you make changes to the name and location of the Feed.
·         Accept the default and click on Subscribe. A message will appear on your screen telling you the subscription has been successful.
The steps to read a Read a Feed are as follows :
·         Click on Favourites->Feeds tab or use the shortcut Ctrl + J.
·         Click the Feed you want to view.
·         Read the feed.
The steps to configure the Feed are as follows :
·         Follow the steps to Read a Feed as mentioned above.
·         Now on the right hand side, click on ‘View Feed Properties’. This displays a dialog box as shown below.
·         Click on Settings under Update Schedule to set how frequently feeds will be updated.
·         You can also set the maximum number of updates to save for this feed.
Live Search Box
Like Mozilla Firefox and Opera, IE 7 now has a built-in Internet search box that makes it more intuitive to work with. The default search provider on a new windows vista installation is www.live.com . However if you have installed Vista as an upgrade to a previous OS, and you had a preference to google.com, then IE asks you if you want to continue google.com as your default search engine.
T o search an item, go to the search box, type your search item and click enter. To view the search results on a new tab, press Alt + Enter.
To change your default search engine, go to the Live Search box and click on the arrow next to it as shown below.
Click on ‘Find More Providers’. This takes you to a webpage where you can add a provider to the IE7 Instant Search box by clicking on the provider's link.
Pop-up Blocker
All of us have at some point or the other encountered these unsolicited advertisements in the form of pop-up windows. IE7 allows you to enable or disable pop-up blocking. By default, they are turned on. T o configure Pop-up blocker, go to Tools->Pop-up Blocker->Turn off Pop-Up Blocker. You can also click on Pop-up Blocker Settings to manage the list of permitted sites that can show pop-ups. Here you can also adjust the notification and filter levels related to pop-ups. There are 3 level of filters that can be applied
·         High – Suppresses all pop-ups. Active-X controls are affected with this setting.
·         Medium(default) – Blocks most pop-ups. Allows new windows to open from the links you click.
·         Low – Allows most pop-ups.
Advanced Printing
In earlier versions of IE, the right side portion of the page would often be chopped-off while printing. This problem has been resolved in IE7. IE7 shrinks the page’s content to ensure that printing does not eliminate portions of the page.
The print button can be found on the toolbar or by using the shortcut Alt + R. Choose Print Preview that lets you customize the margin, header, footer, and layout etc.  The most important control in the Print Preview dialog is the Change Print Size combo (Alt + S) that lets you increase or decrease the print space as needed.
Other Features
Apart from these new features, there are a few more features worth mentioning :
Phishing status – Phishing tricks you to reveal financial status through a bogus email or website. IE7 helps you detect phishing sites and displays alerts in the address bar when it finds one. You can also configure phishing by going to Tools > Phishing Filter where you can check sites manually or reports sites to Microsoft.
Zooming – You can use zoom to shrink or expand the contents of your webpage. Zoom can be selected by using the pop-up menu at the bottom right corner of your IE window. If you have a mouse wheel, you can achieve the same results by holding the CTRL key and spin the wheel.
Internationalized domain name (IDN) – IE 7 adds support for IDN which includes protection against anti-spoofing.
In this article, we took a quick tour of the prominent new features in IE7. We saw the various layout enhancements made as well as the security enhancements like the Pop-up blocker and phishing filter been made in IE7. I hope the article will prove useful in understanding and using the features of IE7. I thank you for viewing the article.

This article has been editorially reviewed by Suprotim Agarwal.

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Suprotim Agarwal, MCSD, MCAD, MCDBA, MCSE, is the founder of DotNetCurry, DNC Magazine for Developers, SQLServerCurry and DevCurry. He has also authored a couple of books 51 Recipes using jQuery with ASP.NET Controls and The Absolutely Awesome jQuery CookBook.

Suprotim has received the prestigious Microsoft MVP award for ten consecutive times. In a professional capacity, he is the CEO of A2Z Knowledge Visuals Pvt Ltd, a digital group that offers Digital Marketing and Branding services to businesses, both in a start-up and enterprise environment.

Get in touch with him on Twitter @suprotimagarwal or at LinkedIn

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