Navigate the Web on Your Surface

Like most Start screen apps, the browser app on the Surface hides its menus. That lets you concentrate on the picture rather than the frame. When you need the menus, you can reveal them using the same trick that summons the menus from any Start screen app:

Slide your finger inward from the screen’s top or bottom edges.

As you slide your finger, the App bar comes into view, snapping along the screen’s top or bottom edges.

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Each icon on the App bar performs a different task with a tap of your finger:

  • Back arrow: Tap this to revisit your previously viewed web page.

  • Address bar: To type a new web address, tap inside the address bar. If no keyboard is attached, the touch keyboard appears, ready for you to type the address of the website you’d like to visit. (As you type, the area above the address bar lists matching names of previously visited sites. Spot the name of the site you want to visit? Tap its name to load it.)

    The address bar also doubles as a Search box. Type a few keywords and press Enter, and Microsoft’s Bing search engine lists websites matching your search.

  • Cancel/Refresh: As you view a site, this is a Refresh icon; tap it to reload the page, retrieving the latest details. While a web page loads, this icon becomes a Cancel button; if the site loads slowly, tap the Cancel icon to stop trying to load the sluggish site.

  • Favorite: Tap this icon, and a list of sites you’ve marked as Favorites appears above the address bar. This makes them much easier to launch from within the browser.

  • Add to Favorites: Displayed when viewing your Favorites list, this icon lets you add your currently viewed site to your Favorites list.

  • Pin to Start: Seen when viewing your Favorites list, this icon places a shortcut tile on the Start screen that launches your currently viewed site.

  • Share: Displayed when viewing your Favorites list, this icon opens the Charms bar’s Share icon, where you can share the site with others, place it on your Reading List app, post to social networks, or e-mail the site to friends.

  • Tabs: Tap this icon to replace the Favorites list with a view of your currently open tabs.

  • Page Tools: When a page doesn’t load properly, tap this little wrench icon. When the pop-up menu appears, choose View on the Desktop. That opens the site in the desktop version of Internet Explorer. (If the wrench icon sprouts a plus sign, that means that site offers an app for easier access.)

  • Forward arrow: After clicking the Back arrow to revisit a site, click the Forward arrow to return to the site you just left.

  • Tab Menu: Displayed when viewing a list of your currently open tabs, this icon brings a pop-up menu with two options: Close tabs, which closes all the open tabs, and New InPrivate tab, which opens a new tab for browsing in private (covered in the “Browsing in private” sidebar).

  • Open New Tab: A tap of the plus sign icon in the top right lets you open a blank new tab. That tab lets you open a new web page, which is handy when you want to compare two websites. (You can jump between the sites by tapping their thumbnails on the Tab menu.)

  • Reading View: Tap this little book icon, shown at the end of the address bar, to strip the web page of cluttering ads and formatting and display the page’s content full screen. You can then read it by paging from left to right rather than scrolling down. (To return to normal view, tap the icon again.)

The Start screen browser may look lightweight, but it provides everything you need for casual browsing. The browser lets you open several sites simultaneously, each in its own tab.

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