Ian Moulster's blog

A Microsoft employee translating Microsoft technology into plain English

Activating the “flip ahead” feature in Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 and Windows RT

Activating the “flip ahead” feature in Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 and Windows RT

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As I have mentioned previously, Internet Explorer 10 has been built from the ground up to offer great support for touch while still retaining all of its advantages for keyboard and mouse.

One simple but very effective feature is how you can simply "swipe" from left to right to go to the previous web page - essentially the equivalent of pressing the BACK button. This is a perfectly natural gesture when you're using touch and once you start using it you're likely never to press the BACK button again. Actually you can use a similar gesture to move forward - swipe from right to left as an equivalent of pressing the FORWARD button on the browser.

However it gets even cleverer than that. If you visit a site that returns many pages of information - a search engine like Bing is an obvious example but there are plenty more - you will normally have to carefully try to hit the "next page" link on the web page to move to page 2, page 3, and so on. And given that so few web pages are optimised for touch this can be a tricky business at times.

Well Internet Explorer 10 has a great feature called "flip ahead" that can really help. Instead of aiming for the "next page" button with your finger you can just swipe from right to left and the browser is clever enough to realise that you want to move to the next page of results. It's another totally natural gesture and can really make navigating much easier.

To use it, make sure you have the option enabled. Open Internet Explorer and bring up the charms (swipe from right screen edge) then choose "settings". Then "Internet Options" and move down to the "Flip Ahead" option and select it.

 

Flipahead

Give it a try on Bing and see what you think. While it works on many sites that return multiple pages of information it doesn't work on all of them. Some of the sites I use regularly where it works are ebay, trip advisor, and even the BBC website where it moves you to the next news item. I tried the Superdry website for clothes shopping and it worked there too. I’m sure you’ll find others.

It's likely that the feature will get "smarter" and work with an increasing number of sites, however in the interim it remains a really cool feature - give it a spin and see what you think.

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  • Why do developers do not get the option to enable this on their webpage with 'prev' and 'next'-meta tags? Or 'prev'/'next'-attributes on links. This is very nice that it will work for most pages with lazy developers automatically. But why can't the more eager developers not turn it on instantly and provide some control of what the next page should be? That is just plain stupid.

    And just imagine the percentage of people who won't turn on the opt-in? "Sending my history to MS? Are you joking?"

    Nice feature, not so well thought through...

  • You know what would be really cool? If I could find a list of all the websites that support flip ahead, because it is a neat feature, but I don't see them all together in a list somewhere.

  • Nice that it doesn't exist in Windows 7. So now I have to upgrade to Windows 8 to get new features!?!

  • The feature is only supported on the Windows 8 start screen version of Internet Explorer 10, not the desktop version. And as Windows 7 only has the desktop version of Internet Explorer (because, obviously, Windows 7 only has a desktop, it doesn't have the start screen in all its loveliness) it is not possible to use Flip Ahead on Windows 7.

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