Tips for Visiting Websites on Your Surface - dummies

Tips for Visiting Websites on Your Surface

By Andy Rathbone

Being designed specifically for your fingers, the Surface’s Start screen’s version of Internet Explorer works quite well with touch controls. When you’re browsing a website, a well-placed finger lets you perform any of these tasks:

  • Scroll through a web page. When viewing a web page, remember the “sliding a piece of paper” rule: Slide your finger up or down the page, and the web page travels along the screen with your finger. By sliding your finger up or down the page, you can read the entire page, skipping up or down a few paragraphs at your own pace.

  • Enlarge tiny text. When the text is too small to read, place two fingertips on the screen and spread them. As your fingers move, the information expands, enlarging the text. Pinching the screen between two fingertips shrinks the page. By stretching and pinching, you find the sweet spot for easy visibility of both text and photos.

  • Fetch menus. Slide your finger up slightly from the screen’s bottom or down slightly from the screen’s top. A menu pops up along the screen’s bottom edge.

  • Open a link in a new tab. Hold your finger down on the link until a menu appears along the screen’s bottom. From that menu, tap the Open in New Tab icon. (Choosing the Open in New Window icon splits the screen, snapping a second version of Internet Explorer to the right of your current version.)

Using the Start screen’s Internet Explorer with a trackpad or mouse

Most of the time, the Start screen’s Internet Explorer works just fine with your fingertips. But armed with your Surface keyboard’s trackpad or a mouse, the app tosses these new moves your way:

  • Back/Forward: As you browse between a string of websites, hover your mouse pointer over the currently viewed page’s left or right edges. An arrow appears along the edge, letting you click to move backward or forward, revisiting previously viewed pages.

  • Opening menus: To fetch the menus from Internet Explorer and any Start screen app, right-click a blank portion of the web page, away from words and pictures, and the menus appear.

  • Dragging: Some, but not all, websites recognize dragging. If you find yourself stuck at a stubborn website, try using your fingers to drag instead.

Visiting websites

You don’t always have to open Internet Explorer to begin browsing. If you spot a web link inside a piece of e-mail in the Mail app, for example, tap the link. Internet Explorer appears automatically, snapping itself alongside the Mail app to display that website.

If you’ve pinned a favorite site to the Start screen with a tap of the App bar’s Pin to Start icon, a quick tap of that site’s Start screen tile brings it to the forefront.

When Internet Explorer is onscreen, the app lets you visit sites in other ways, as well:

  • Return to your last-visited site. Slide a finger inward from the screen’s left edge, as if you’re flipping back a page in a book, and the previous page returns into view. You can also slide a finger up from screen’s bottom until the App bar appears; then tap the left-pointing arrow. (Conversely, a tap on the right-pointing arrow returns to the site you left.)

  • Type a site’s address. Slide your finger up the page to fetch the App bar and begin typing the site’s name in the address bar. Press Enter, and the website opens.

  • Search for a site. Type a keyword or phrase directly into the address bar and press Enter. Microsoft’s Bing search takes over, listing websites that match your searched item.

  • Visit a favorite site. When you fetch the App bar and tap the Favorites icon (shown in the margin), look directly above the address bar. There, Windows lists three categories of sites: Pinned (sites you’ve pinned to the Start screen), Frequently Visited, and Favorites (sites you’ve marked as favorites). To scroll through them all, slide your finger from right to left. Tap a site’s name to revisit it.

  • Revisit a previously visited site. As you begin typing a site’s name in the address bar, the browser checks your list of favorite sites, listing sites that match what you’re typing. If you spot your desired site’s name before you finish typing, tap the site’s name for a quick revisit.

Windows remembers quite a bit about what you do in Internet Explorer. It remembers every term you’ve searched for, as well as every site you’ve visited. Although that sometimes comes in handy when trying to relocate information, some view it as an invasion of privacy.

You can also avoid the problem by using InPrivate browsing to keep Internet Explorer from remembering secret visits in the first place.