Customize IE8 Beta 2 to fit your needs

Customize IE8 Beta 2 to fit your needs

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In Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 - users get some added customization benefits to the Internet Explorer layout I think folks will enjoy. To many folks, being able to customize the browser controls is very important. So I've got some customization tips for IE8 Beta 2 I'd like to share with you.

If you right-click on the IE8 toolbar area, you can uncheck the "Lock the Toolbars" option. This allows you to use your mouse to move the Command Bar and Favorites Bar. There are a variety of places you can move these around in the IE8 toolbar area.

In the top screenshot, you can see that I moved the Command Bar to be on the same level as the Favorites Bar. I can customize how much space either the Command Bar or the Favorites Bar use on that level. I can give the Favorites Bar more room or give it less for the Command Bar. In the middle screenshot, I was able to move the Favorites Bar onto the level shared by IE8's Tabs. Essentially this is switching the Favorites Bar and Command Bar from the default configuration. And in the third screenshot, I was able to hide the Favorites Bar and "make IE8 look like IE7". You can also hide the Command Bar as well if you wish. And for those who like having the Menu Bar (File, Edit, etc) you can right click on the IE8 toolbar area and choose "Menu Bar" to have that appear.

I was also able to move the Favorites button down to the Tabs level - separating it from the Favorites Bar. This is neat because it gives some added room for additions to the Favorites Bar if needed.

Another new customization option for IE8 is the ability to choose to have the Stop and Refresh buttons appear before the Smart Address Bar instead of after.

Have you ever wanted to quickly close a 3rd party toolbar you have installed in Internet Explorer? IE8 provides an excellent way of quickly closing those toolbars. When you activate a toolbar (you can activate a installed toolbar by right-clicking on the toolbar area and choosing the toolbar you wish to have appear) you'll notice a new "x" icon appear next to it on the left. When you click this "x" it turns off that toolbar (by turning it off - it disappears from the toolbar area in IE8).

I recently installed the Microsoft Live Labs Listas Toolbar. When I no longer wanted the Listas Toolbar to show up in IE8, I just clicked the "x" and it disappeared. I can choose to activate it again later when I need it. My personal preference is to keep my browser clean of toolbars. However I know many people who enjoy the added benefit to their browsing experience that many toolbars offer - a good example is the Windows Live Toolbar. I have toolbars installed just not configured to show up all the time. I activate them when I want to use then and deactivate them when I'm done.

And my last little tip for customizing IE8 may or may not be of any value to you.

When you put your mouse in the area *between* the inline search box and the Smart Address Bar - you'll notice you can increase or decrease the amount of space the search box has. Here is my search box before:

Here it is after:

I decided I wanted a little more room for my search box.

I hope these customization tips help you customize IE8 to be the way you want it to be. I guess I'm boring though - I personally keep things as they are by default in IE ;-)

10 Comments
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  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    very nice picture with super-expression has been truly thank this expression I congratulate you

  • Ok all that  is JUST GREAT! but What the heck ahappened to my favorites center!?!?!? I cannot see it! I do not care for the expanding favorites bar acroos the top and want to continue using my center as before only I cannot read it! It ahs become so narrow( th drop down menu? field of favorites) that I cannot even tell what icon I'm pointing to and it ALWAYA opens a new window.  IRRITATING!!! PLEASE HELP ME!  o GPT STICL LOADING xp SVC PACK 3 THEN ie BETA 2 IWS NOW PERAMANANET FRO WHAT i GATHER.i JUST BUILT THIS PC SO i COULD USE xop AND DO MY COPORATE WORK  @ HOME BUT NOW ...WHAT A FRIGGN MESS!

  • Ceinach
    45 Posts

    I like a number of the changes in this beta. I was also noticing that it took up about 400 MB of my memory when I ran it.

    Is this normal for the IE8 beta to be using so much memory and will this requirement be reduced after the RTM build?

  • MDOC
    9 Posts

    Um, that is, when closing IE session, upon restarting another session, all you can do is open the last browsing session, which is one tab only.  I'd like to re-open all that were open at the last session, not merely the last loaded page.

  • MDOC
    9 Posts

    MS is going in the right direction.  I'd like to see the "Open Closed Tabs" in the New Tab expanded to the hilt.  If I close a tab and forget about it, then I remember something and want to go back to it, I can't use this "Open Closed Tabs" feature if I've already closed the IE session.  So instead of clearing these closed tabs at every IE session closing, clear them every 24 hours or so.  Or better yet, make this event user configurable.

  • Close but still not far enough.  We still had more UI customization  ability in IE 4,5,6 than in 7 and now 8. The address bar is still locked away from it brethren.  Can't move the left and right arrows, can't get rid of the search bar if you don't want it.  Basically Microsoft is still choosing for me and again all I am asking for is a "choice" I don't really understand why Microsoft could not give BACK the choice we always had. I'm not a programmer but I can't see why it can't be done. Brandon can it really not be done? Would it really hurt Microsoft to allow users a choice? This is the  only reason why I use Firefox, this is the only reason why I don't use Vista on a regular basis. Yes I am passionate about this, because I really don't understand why Microsoft has taking that ability away and will not give it back.  I went through the beta's of Vista and a lot of people pleaded with Microsoft not to lock down the UI but to no avail.  Can anyone in Microsoft just say WHY?  

  • Being able to move the refresh/stop icons to the left was much needed and it looks quite good now too.

    Now, could we pleasee be able to move the home icon up there as well and have it the same style as those two buttons? Or, is it possible already?

    yert is right, one thing I sorely miss from Opera (My current primary browser, it used to be FF but I long ago stopped caring about it) is having all the shortcuts for search engines. I think I have Last.FM, Wikipedia, IMDB, etc all which I use rather regularly.

    Als, I'd like to be able to remove the Favourites icon + text (Which is there even when you turn off the Favourites toolbar) and also the possibility of moving the favourites bar below the tab bar.

  • yert
    39 Posts

    I use a lot of differing browsers, and one thing I love about IE is that the menu (File, Edit, ...) is hidden by default now. It's much cleaner, as you should only (if you are me at least) really have to strips or bars: Navigation and Tabs.

    Of course, I dislike the need to registry hack the UI when I want to change it, like with the search bar (I find this the most useless bar ever; Opera does it better, just type a letter or word then the search (i.e. "l search" for Live Search, or "kb search" for the MS KB articles).

    I also like my icons small, and my UI aesthetically pleasing while easy to use. Luckily, most browsers are like this or easy to configure to be like this (for example, in IE I removed all the buttons that duplicate menu functions, except for Favorites and Settings). The point here is that a customizable UI will fit all your users, not just the majority.

  • Chuck
    2 Posts

    Thanks for the unlock tip..totally didnt know that...It was the unused blue space above the tabs that was driving me crazy about IE7 and IE8..I am really liking the direction of IE8.

  • Cool!  Most of that I discovered from playing around with it, but I didn't know about moving the stop and refresh buttons (great for people not used to IE7/IE8) and I'd forgotten about the ability to resize the Search Bar.

    Personally, I've decided to move the Command Bar to the top to save more room for tabs.  Other than that, I like to keep it "normal."