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November 8, 2011

10 hot web browsing tips for Windows Phone

I love shortcuts, and am a big fan of the “search faster” one from our pre-Mango tip sheet for Internet Explorer Mobile (still applicable and worth a read to brush up).

But with all the new enhancements in IE9 Mobile for Windows Phone 7.5, I figured it was time for a new collection of tips to help you zip through the new turbocharged browser. So I asked my team—the very people who built the browser—for their favorite tips, tricks, or shortcuts. Here are the top 10:

Starter tips

The responses fell into two categories—simple tips that you might stumble on by just using IE9 Mobile and ones that aren’t so obvious. Here are the top starter tips:

1. Easier reading: Double tap on a block of text to zoom in for easier reading. Double tap again to zoom out.

2. Quicker calling and mapping: If you see a phone number or address on a site that looks like a link, tap it to quickly place a call or view the address on a map! (Note: this feature isn’t available everywhere.)

Tap on linked phone numbers or addresses to quickly dial or map them.

3. Check phone status: In the new browser, we did our best to maximize the amount of space dedicated to websites by hiding things like the status bar. To quickly check the time, signal strength, or battery indicator, just tap More (…) or the address bar.

4. Share sites to Facebook and Twitter: Easily share the website you’re viewing to your favorite social networks by tapping More (…) and then Share page.  From there, select Social networks and you’re on your way!

Advanced tips

It’s unlikely you’d come across these shortcuts immediately. But they can take your web browsing to a whole new level.

5. Press and hold: Press and hold on links to copy, share, or open them in a new tab. Press and hold on a picture to save or share it with someone.

Press and hold on a link to see a list of options

6. See the entire URL: Ever want to see more of what’s in the address bar? Simply swipe left or right on the text and watch it scroll into view.

7. Faster tab switching I: If you open a new tab (via press and hold or the tabs view), the hardware Back button can take you to the previous tab once you’ve cycled through all the sites visited on the current tab.

8. Faster tab switching II: To quickly switch between two or more tabs, press and hold the Back button to open the App switcher. Then just flick to the webpage you want to see again and tap it. The App switcher will show any tabs that you’ve recently viewed.

The App switcher can also be used to switch between tabs

9. Using Bookmarklets: If you use Bookmarklets, you’ll be happy to know they also work in IE9 Mobile. Just tap the Add to favorites menu option, type or paste in the Bookmarklet code into the URL field, and change the title to something descriptive. To access your Bookmarklet, tap More (…) > Favorites. Or use the next tip.

10. Faster favorites: Love your favorites? Here’s a quick way to access them: Start typing the name or URL of a favorite in the address bar and watch it pop up in the auto-suggestion box. Then just tap on it to navigate.

We’d love to hear how you’re using IE9 Mobile! Add stories, feedback, or your favorite tips & tricks in the comments below.

Amin Lakhani, Program Manager, Windows Phone Engineering

Update: My team loved this tip from @Entegy so much that we’re promoting it to spot #11. Excellent comment, thanks!

11. Check phone status (advanced): Tap and hold More (…) and drag up very slightly to reveal the status bar. Drag down and release to make it disappear.