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A First Look at IE 7

by Wei-Meng Lee

Microsoft has recently released Beta 1 of Internet Explorer 7 together with Windows Vista Beta 1. Note that Beta 1 of IE 7 comes in two flavors:

  • A stand-alone version for Windows XP SP2
  • A built-in version for Windows Vista Beta 1

In this article, I will take you through the numerous new features and enhancements in IE 7. I will be basing my findings on the built-in version of IE 7 in Windows Vista Beta 1.

Improved Navigation

The first noticeable feature of IE 7 is its cleaner toolbar. Instead of having a separate list of "previous" and "next" pages for the Back and Forward buttons, it now combines the various recently viewed pages into a single list (see Figure 1). This makes navigating between pages much more logical and at the same time reduces clutter on the toolbar.

Figure 1
Figure 1. Improved page navigations in IE 7

Also, the Stop and Refresh buttons are now combined into one and displayed next to the Address bar (see Figures 2 and 3).

Figure 2
Figure 2. The Refresh button

Figure 3
Figure 3. The Stop button

Tabbed Browsing

IE 7 includes one of the most sought-after features in web browsers: tabbed browsing. Tabbed browsing allows you to view several web pages in a single window. To view a link in a new tab, right-click on the hyperlink and select Open Link in New Tab (see Figure 4).

Figure 4
Figure 4. Opening a link in a new tab

You can also create a new tab by clicking on the New Tab tab (see Figure 5). The icon for New Tab is not indicative of what it does, but I think it will have a more intuitive look in the next beta.

Figure 5
Figure 5. Using tabs in IE 7

You can also close a tab by right-clicking on it (see Figure 6) and selecting either Close (to close the current active tab) or Close Other Tabs (to close all tabs other than the currently active one).

Figure 6
Figure 6. Closing tabs

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