Internet Explorer 8 – Accelerators

Learning about accelerators – An IE8 Feature

Internet Explorer & Accelerators

Windows Internet Explorer 8 (abbreviated IE8) was March 19, 2009 for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Both 32-bit and 64-bit builds are available. It is the successor to Internet Explorer 7, released in 2006, and is the default browser for the upcoming Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems.

This blog entry is about using accelerators effectively.

What it’s all about – Reducing Steps while browsing

How many steps does it take with your current browser to map an address, translate a word, or perform other routine tasks online? Until now it was likely a series of cutting and pasting information from one webpage to another.

Possible with the mouse

Simply highlight text from any webpage, and then click on the blue Accelerator icon that appears above your selection to obtain driving directions, translate and define words, email content to others, search with ease.

What is the point of accelerators?

Accelerators eliminate the need to copy and paste content between web pages.


The demo demonstrates the basic use of accelerators. It is all about reducing your typing.

Installing additional accelerators

Add-ons Gallery: Accelerators

A variety of accelerators are available from the link below. Let’s say you want to add the “eBay” accelerator.


How to install an accelerator from the Gallery

There are many accelerators already created that you can download. To find out how:


The demo demonstrates the basic use of accelerators. It is all about reducing your typing.

How to create an accelerator

Creating an accelerator is easy -  2 Easy Steps

  • Step 1 – Create a web page that is offered to users to install your accelerator
  • Step 2 – Create an XML file which defines your accelerator

The first step is to setup a publicly available location from which to install the accelerator:


Notice that on line 13 we define the location of our XML file, which is the accelerator itself.

Notice that the code below will install my custom accelerator called “BingNews.xml”.

Here is the full link:

Web Content in “InstallBingNews.html”

   1:  <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "">
   2:  <html xmlns="">
   4:  <head>
   5:  <meta content="text/html; charset=utf-8" http-equiv="Content-Type" />
   6:  <title>Dictionary Lookup Accelerator</title>
   7:  </head>
   9:  <body>
  11:  <h1>Bruno - Bing News Accelerator</h1>
  12:  <br />
  13:  <button onclick="window.external.AddService('')">
  14:  Click to install Bing News Accelerator</button>
  16:  </body>
  18:  </html>


   1:  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
   2:  <openServiceDescription xmlns="">
   3:      <homepageUrl></homepageUrl>
   4:         <display>
   5:           <name>Search Bruno's Bing News</name>
   6:       <icon></icon>
   7:         </display>
   8:         <activity category="Search">
   9:           <activityAction context="selection">
  10:             <execute action="">
  11:               <parameter name="q" value="{selection}" type="text" />
  12:             </execute>
  13:           </activityAction>
  14:         </activity>
  15:  </openServiceDescription

There are a few things to notice:

Line 5 The title that will appear for the accelerator button
Line 6 The icon that will appear for the accelerator button
Lines 8-14 The way parameters will be passed to the

Copy both files to a folder on your web server:

  • BingNews.xml
  • InstallBingNews.html

Overview of some accelerators and the Gallery

To install any of the accelerators presented below, go here:

Internet Explorer & Accelerators

Here are some that I find interesting.


Easily find how much something costs on eBay image
Share your finds with your friends on FaceBook image
Translate one foreign language to english or even another foreign language image
Find the weather somewhere image
Make connections on LinkedIn image
Find YouTubeVideos image
Looking up things to learn about in WikiPedia image
Don’t know the definition of a word? image
Missing an acronym? lol image
Curious about a stock ticker? image
Are you a coupon clipper? image
A big movie fan? Find out about actors and movies. image

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