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Maintain Browser Consistency: Internet Explorer 9

In a recent article, Maintain Browser Consistency: Opera [1], we examined the advantage of establishing a uniform look between multiple browsers, with a focus on Opera [2]. This time, we’ll take a look at Internet Explorer [3] (IE). Again, individual preferences will vary, but the tools described here should help anyone create a consistent look of their own. There are certainly other means to these ends, and many are likely to be better or easier (or both). Please feel free to offer your own suggestions.

The first thing I did was to display the classic menus in IE9 (IE8 users can snicker at this inconvenience, since that’s their default setting).

Tapping the Alt key will temporarily bring up File, Edit, View, etc. To display them permanently, in View, select Toolbars, and check Menu bar from the submenu.

pierce_maintain_browser_consistency_ie9_0 [4]

Home Page

To learn how to set a home page in Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome, click here [5].

Default Search Engine

Setting the default search engine begins in the Tools menu.

Click Manage add-ons.

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In the Manage Add-ons dialog box, click the Search Providers button on the left. Then select a search engine and click the Set as default button (it must show as Enabled in the Search suggestions column).

pierce_maintain_browser_consistency_ie9_3b [7]

For more information about adding or editing search engines in IE9, click here [8].


If you’re on a page you’d like as a favorite (bookmark) use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+D. In the Add a Favorite dialog box, choose a name, select a location, and click the Add button.

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To display the Favorites bar, in the View menu, select Toolbars and check Favorites bar in the submenu.

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To edit or remove an item in the favorites bar, right click it and choose from the context menu. The Customize title Widths option determines how favorites will appear on the toolbar.

pierce_maintain_browser_consistency_ie9_4c [11]

Click Properties in the context menu to find more information, or to edit a selected favorite.

pierce_maintain_browser_consistency_ie9_4d [12]

For more editing options, or to reorganize, find Organize favorites in the Favorites menu, or by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+B.

pierce_maintain_browser_consistency_ie9_4e [13]

In the example below, I moved favorites by dragging them from an imported bookmarks folder (off-screen) to the Favorites Bar folder. This will display them on the toolbar. You can also select a favorite, click the Move button and choose a destination folder (this is the method I had to use in IE8).

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Import/Export Favorites

Under the File menu, click Import and export…

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In the Import/Export Settings dialog box, click Import from a file.

pierce_maintain_browser_consistency_ie9_5 [16]

Then check Favorites.

pierce_maintain_browser_consistency_ie9_6 [17]

Select a location by clicking the Browse button

pierce_maintain_browser_consistency_ie9_8 [18]

I imported Firefox bookmarks that had been saved to the Desktop.

pierce_maintain_browser_consistency_ie9_7 [19]

Select a folder in IE and click Import.

pierce_maintain_browser_consistency_ie9_9 [20]

Click here [21] to learn how to export IE favorites.

Click here [22] to learn how to alphabetize favorites in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome.

While the usage statistics vary widely depending on the source, Internet Explorer still apparently enjoys a strategic advantage in the browser wars. Of course, winning a popularity contest doesn’t indicate quality, but I’ve rarely had significant problems with IE. However, if a problem does arise, maintaining consistent settings between browsers helps create a seamless transition from one to another.