Internet Explorer 8: The Page Function

Overview

The Page function of Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) is probably where most action takes place for web page related functions the user will take.  It has the following basic menu items

  • Cut, copy, and paste
  • Accelerators (links to sites)
  • Edit, Save As, Send page or link by E-mail
  • Compatibility viewing options (enable it or configure it)
  • Page displaying options like Zoom, Text size, Style, Encoding, Caret browsing
  • Properties
  • View Source

Most of the items here are common knowledge to the general user population; so we will only cover those functions that are more obscure to the most casual user.  We’ll cover those that are in bold above:  compatibility viewing options, style, encoding, caret browsing, and view source.

Compatibility Viewing Options

Previous versions of Internet Explorer have the reputation of not following web standards, as it relates to how web page mark up codes are interpreted. In addition, they were known to use their own unique mark up code–forcing web masters to create various hacks just to make sure their pages work in IE6 or IE7.

Well, after many years, Microsoft finally saw the light and have come to adopt web standards–resutling in the release of IE8. Now, what happens to the pages that were designed to be best viewed in IE6 or IE7? In some cases, they might not look right. This is where the compatibility option comes in.

If you enable the Compatibility View option, IE8 will allow you to run in a sort of IE6 or IE7 mode.  So if you ever find a site that may have been designed for the older Internet Explorers, you’ll want to enable this option, and add the site to the list of sites you wish to view in compatible mode.  You can add them by selecting Compatibility View Settings.

Bottom line…if a page doesn’t look right, try enabling the Compatbility View option.

Style

The Style menu item has two submenu items–no style and default style.  As some people know, web pages may have styles associated with it.  Styles can be embedded in a page or it can be included using CSS (cascading style sheets).

Styles control how content is displayed.  So by default, IE8 uses styles.  You can disable Style by selecting No Style.  When you do, IE8 will simply show you content in a linear fashion–pretty much in the order they appear in the page, with no style.

When would you use “No Style”?  Probably if you want to keep the view to the content plain.

Encoding

Encoding is the language and character set to use when displaying a web page. Most people don’t have to mess with this because the default setting is “Auto” and most pages have information to tell the browser what language encoding to use.

However, if for some reason the page does not include that information, and you have the Language Encoding Auto-Select feature on, IE8 can probably determine the correct encoding. For the case it cannot, the Encoding feature allows you to choose.

Caret Browsing

No. This isn’t some new browsing trend where you eat carrots while you browse. It is an accessibility feature on IE8 that allows one to browse using the keyboard.

When it is on, a movable cursor will become visible. Using the keyboard, a user can navigate the browser with that cursor. That same cursor can be used to select and copy snippets of the page being viewed.

This feature can be applied on a per tab basis. Pressing F7 toggles it on or off.

View Source

Most people would probably not care about using this feature, but if for some reason you want to see how a web page is coded in HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), then this is how you would see it.

Closing Remarks

By getting yourself familiar with these features, you will become more knowledgeable about IE8 than probably 99% of the population! As a result, you can be more productive in how you deal with a web page.


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