The IE8 Favorites Bar


Internet Explorer Team Blog

The IE8 Favorites Bar

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Hi, my name is Helen, I am a Program Manager on the User Experience team of Internet Explorer, and I’m happy to introduce the IE8 Favorites bar!

New Functionality on the Favorites bar:

The Favorites bar, previously known as the Links toolbar, has been updated with great new functionality that helps you get information from your favorite websites quickly and easily. The new IE8 Favorites bar still has your favorite links just one click away, but also allows you to add WebSlices (new feature debuting in IE8) and feeds to the Favorites bar, facilitating your navigation experience. The WebSlices and feeds on the Favorites bar will check for updates to content on your favorite websites without requiring navigation to those websites.

Here’s my Favorites bar which includes a feed, a folder containing a feed, and a WebSlice:

Helen's Favorites Bar

What is a WebSlice?

As Jane described earlier in her blog post , the new IE8 WebSlice feature enables you to see when updated content (such as auction prices or latest headlines) is available from your favorite websites.  A WebSlice is a piece of a webpage (a “slice”) that you can subscribe to. When you subscribe to a WebSlice, it appears as a shortcut on the Favorites bar.

Note that WebSlices will only appear on webpages that provide support for WebSlices. As of today, websites such as Ebay, Facebook and Stumble Upon have added support for WebSlices. Check out this page to learn how you can add support for WebSlices on your webpages.

Using WebSlices

There are two ways to see when a WebSlice is available on a webpage. One is that the WebSlice button changes color on the Command bar:

WebSlice Icon

When you hover over a WebSlice on a webpage, you will also see a WebSlice icon appear next to the content that you can add to your Favorites bar. For example:

WebSlice Preview on Hover

To add a WebSlice to the Favorites bar, you can either click the WebSlice button on the Command bar or click the WebSlice icon on the page.

In IE8, a simple glance at the text on a Favorites bar shortcut will give an indication of the item’s status. You will be able to tell whether or not the WebSlice has been updated since you last used it (the text will be bolded) and also if the WebSlice is expiring (the text will be bold and italicized) or has expired (the text will be gray). This information is especially worthwhile, for example, with auction items.

The IE8 Favorites bar allows you to preview the updated WebSlice content without leaving the website you’re currently viewing. Simply click the WebSlice shortcut on the Favorites bar to bring up a rich preview of the webpage, which you can then click to go to the website itself.

WebSlice Preview:

WebSlice Preview

Adding Feeds to the Favorites bar

In IE8, you can now add Feeds to the Favorites bar. When you subscribe to a feed, you can watch for updates to it on the Favorites bar.
As you know, to subscribe to a feed and monitor it on the Favorites bar, you first click the Feed Discovery button Feeds Discovery Button to view the feed, and then click Subscribe to this Feed on the feed page. To then monitor this feed on the Favorites bar, click the Add to Favorites buttonFavorites Button, and then click Monitor on Favorites Bar. You can also drag and drop a feed or an entire folder of feeds from the Favorites Center to the Favorites bar.

By clicking on a Feed shortcut on your Favorites bar, you can quickly identify which feed items you have already read (they will be in plain text) and which you have yet to read (they will be bolded).

Sample of Unread Feeds Preview

Extra Tips and Shortcuts:

  • In addition to adding a link through the "Add to Favorites" button, you can drag and drop links onto the Favorites bar, drag the webpage icon from the Address bar to the Favorites bar or drag a link from a webpage directly to the Favorites bar.

  • You can rearrange items on your Favorites bar by dragging items from one spot to another or by creating folders and organizing your favorite links, WebSlices, and feeds by dragging and dropping items into the folders.

  • When an item within a folder updates, you will see the updated status on the folder itself. If a folder is unbolded, you will know that nothing has updated within that folder without even opening it.

  • Navigating with the Favorites bar is convenient as well. To put focus on the first item on the Favorites bar, press ALT+B.

  • Like regular links, the Favorites bar supports tab and window shortcuts. For example, you can Ctrl+Click or Middle-click on an item (or a folder) on the Favorites bar and this item (or the contents of this folder) will open in a new tab (or tabs) in the background.

  • Similarly, Ctrl+Shift+Click on an item on the Favorites bar will open up this item in a tab in the foreground.

That’s a summary of the new ways that the IE8 Favorites bar will help you get information from your favorite webpages quickly and easily.

Thank you for trying IE8 Beta 1 and I look forward to your feedback on this feature!

Helen Drislane
Program Manager

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