Microsoft Monday

Internet Explorer isn’t known for its performance, and from a developers perspective, it’s a headache. Despite the fact that it’s behind the times in comparison to competing web browsers like Firefox or Opera, they still hold the majority of the market.

Looking at our demographics for CyberNet, I’m still amazed at how many people are still using IE6 when IE7 has been available for quite some time now. In terms of performance, it still has issues. But in terms of features, there are many improvements when compared to IE6. If you haven’t made the upgrade yet, now might be a good time to do that. You can find download information here, although the best way to get IE7 is via Automatic Updates.

If you take a visit to Windows Marketplace, you’ll find a ton of add-ons for IE7 that really add a lot of functionality to the browser. Below you’ll find five great options, but remember that this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many, many more available in categories like security, time savers, and entertainment. All of the ones listed below are free, but there are several add-ons that aren’t.

1.ieSpell – Spell-check in my opinion is something that should have been integrated into the browser from the start. However, it wasn’t. Luckily ieSpell is a free add-on that will spell-check any text found in input boxes on a Web page. This is great if you’re in forums, or commenting frequently.

Why Microsoft didn’t include this into the browser, I’ll never know. But because they didn’t, this is the next best way to make sure that what you type on the web is free from spelling errors. It’s pretty accurate, and fast, which is important. Although, unlike the spell-checker in Office, it will not check for grammar and punctuation issues. You’re on your own with that one!



 2.IE7 Open Last Closed Tab – This is one of the most handy add-ons yet! With tabs being a big part of IE7, once again, I’m surprised this feature wasn’t included with the browser from the start.  If you’re like me, you have multiple tabs opened at once. At least once a day I close a tab that I really didn’t mean to close. Instead of trying to remember exactly what the URL is, you just have to press “Alt-X” and the last closed tab will open.

Another nice feature with this add-on is that if you press “Alt-Q,” you’ll see a list of thumbnails of the tabs that you’ve closed previously so that you can select which one you’d like to open. 



3. Inline Search – If you’re needing to search a page for a specific word or term, this will do the trick, and will do so better than the built in search. It’s more of an extra added convenience because it searches while you type. It’s 1000 times better than the normal find box, but it’s not as nice as the “find while you type” feature that Firefox offers. It’s definitely worth installing though!

All you have to do is press control F, start typing, and it will start searching the page. It will also highlight all of the instances where your search term appears.


4. Foxy Tunes – Talk about a crowd-pleaser! Foxy Tunes allows you to control your favorite media player like iTunes, Winamp, Windows Media Player, etc., without ever leaving your browser! For those who like to have their Tunes playing, this is a must-have. I haven’t come across one complaint yet for this add-on.



5. RoboForm – Sometimes it’s hard to remember all of your passwords for all of the accounts you have online.  This is where RoboForm comes in.  It will save your password information from logins and automatically log you in to the password protected sites that you visit. It also makes the process of filling out forms easier by using identity presets.

If you use IE7, some of these add-ons are “must-haves” because they will make your experience that much better.  You can find the entire list of add-ons here, or you can find the add-ons we’ve written about before here.