New Accessibility Features in IE8

Hi, my name is JP Gonzalez-Castellan and I’m the Accessibility Program Manager for IE8. The IE team has been working towards making IE8 the most accessible browser possible, and we wanted to detail some of the work we’ve done toward this end. In this post I will provide you with some background on Accessibility, I’ll cover new UI features (Caret Browsing, Find on Page, Adaptive Zoom, High DPI, etc) and also platform features (support for ARIA, support for IAccessibleEx, and support for additional WinEvents) that improve the Accessibility of the browser.

Q: What percentage of users benefit when you make software accessible?

A: One hundred percent.

When you improve the Accessibility of software, or any product for that matter, you are also improving the Usability of the product. Usability is defined by the International Organization for Standards as the:

extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals effectively, efficiently and with satisfaction

This is ultimately what we all want for the things we create. Accessibility ensures that a webpage is effective, efficient, and satisfying for user with disabilities. This allows for all users to reap the benefits. My favorite example to illustrate this is access ramps for wheelchairs. After the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, public gathering places like airports added wheelchair ramps. Airports soon noticed that mothers with baby strollers and passengers with rolling suitcases were using the ramps too, since it was easier than picking up a stroller or a suitcase over the ledge. In much the same way, when you make software more accessible, everybody wins.

An example closer to the software realm is keyboard usage. Some users can’t use a mouse, and the keyboard is their sole input device. However, being able to perform common mouse tasks entirely with a keyboard not only benefits users who can’t use a mouse, but also users who can use a mouse but choose not to; users may find keyboard shortcuts to be a much faster or more efficient way to interact with software.

New UI features that improve the experience for low mobility and low vision users

IE8 adds a number of new features that are particularly helpful to low mobility users - those users who prefer to use the keyboard, or devices that interact with the keyboard, over the mouse or other pointing devices. Features like the new Caret Browsing feature, Accelerators, Web Slices and revamped Find on Page help these users particularly, who also benefit when we reduce the number of steps to complete specific tasks. Low vision users will find the new Adaptive Zoom and High DPI support especially useful.

Caret Browsing

Caret Browsing is a new feature that allows users to navigate a webpage using a moveable cursor on the screen and the keyboard. Users can select and copy text down to a single character using only the keyboard. Other content types, like tables or images, can also be selected and copied.

Moving the cursor within the text of a webpage is similar to moving the cursor within the text of a Word document. Holding the shift key down and pressing the arrow keys selects text. Pressing F7 turns Caret Browsing on or off. It can be enabled on a per tab basis or for all tabs and windows.

Screenshot of a webpage where Caret Browsing is on and visible on the page.

Many users use the keyboard instead of the mouse because they find it to be faster for certain tasks. Users are now able to select a word, bring up Accelerators through the context menu key on their keyboards Picture of the context menu key on a keyboard.; (which sits between the right Alt and right Ctrl keys), select Translate with Windows Live (or any other Accelerator), and see its meaning in Spanish without ever taking their hands off the keyboard.

Screenshot of a webpage where Caret Browsing is on and visible on the page. Text has been highlighted and the onscreen context menu shows a list of available accelerators.

Accelerators, Web Slices and Find on Page

You are probably already familiar with IE8’s Accelerators, Web Slices and the improved Find on Page feature. I’m not going to cover them again in detail, but it’s important to note how they each make the browser more accessible.

Accelerators simplify the common task of copying, navigating, and pasting into a single action. Keyboard only users can save a lot of time and keystrokes.

Web Slices bring your favorite pieces of the web with you. Web Slices are portions of a webpage that you can subscribe to and view updates directly from the Favorites Bar. This means that instead of having to open a new tab and having to navigate to the same page every so often to see if it has been updated, you can stick to your regular browsing until you get notified via your Favorites Bar that the page has been updated. This also saves a lot of time and keystrokes for blind users who can only use the keyboard.

With the revamped Find on Page feature you no longer get a dialog hovering over your page. Now you get the Find on Page toolbar below your tabs. As soon as you start typing in the Find textbox, IE starts highlighting the matches on the page with a yellow background and scrolls the page to your first match. This saves a lot of keystrokes since you do not have to click search to see if your term is on the page. IE also displays on the toolbar the number of matches found. The new yellow background highlighting makes it easier for low vision users to quickly find the term on the page; while having a docked toolbar below the tabs takes up less screen real estate than a floating dialog. Screen real estate becomes more important when you start increasing the zoom factor of your monitor, which many low vision users do.

Screen shot of a webpage where the Find in Page toolbar is docked below the tabs. The word 'IE' has been typed in the Find in Page textbox, and hence all the matches for IE on the page are highlighted in yellow.

The key takeaway is that features that can be simplified for everyday tasks are beneficial for keyboard users, and as an added bonus, beneficial for the Accessibility community.

Adaptive Zoom and High DPI

The new support for Adaptive Zoom and High DPI has already been covered in depth on the IE blog and on MSDN, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Most low vision users benefit from an enlarged UI (user interface). In Windows Vista the Windows DPI Scaling feature only scales up the operating system’s fonts and UI elements (menus, toolbars, buttons, etc) but now it will also scale up IE8’s fonts and UI elements. When scaling IE8 we use UI elements that are drawn with more pixels, resulting in a higher fidelity experience. Sometimes the size of the menus and toolbars of the browser is big enough, but the displayed content on the webpage is too small. By using the Adaptive Zoom control webpages can look bigger. Compared to IE 7, in IE8 we do not just make all the content in the page bigger, but we actually redraw the page and adjust the content to avoid displaying horizontal scroll bars. This makes it easier to browse zoomed pages since you only need to scroll up and down, and not also left and right.

From the beginning the target audience for this feature was low vision users; however this feature is also a great example of how making something more accessible also makes it more usable. I find myself using this feature all the time at home. I have my PC connected to my TV. I can normally sit 10 feet from the TV and enjoy all my shows without a problem. However when I try to use my TV as a PC monitor, I find that I can’t read much of the content when I’m 10 feet away. It is then that I use the Adaptive Zoom to make all the pages look bigger, so I can read them from my couch. Even though I might not be considered a low vision user, I find this feature extremely useful. In previous releases the horizontal scrollbar would show up all the time and I had to use my mouse to move the horizontal scroll bar left and right, besides the usual vertical scrolling. Now I’m able to do all my browsing just with vertical scrolling.

Using IE 8 Adaptive Zoom on a Wikipedia page.

For more information, especially for developers who want to take advantage of High DPI in their webpages and WebOCs, please see: Making the Web Bigger

New Platform features that improve the experience for low vision and visually impaired users

In this section I’m going to cover the new support for ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications), the IAccessibleEx interface, and the support for additional WinEvents for DHTML (Dynamic HTML) and how each of them affect the end-user experience.

Depending on the level of low vision some users require specialized 3rd party assistive technologies (ATs) to interact with computers, such as screen magnifiers; while others can get along with features and tools shipped with the product and the operating system (Adaptive Zoom, High DPI support). Visually impaired users also use a type of AT called screen readers. A screen reader is a software assistive technology that ‘reads the screen out’ to the user. As we all know a webpage is more than a string of words and pictures. The way those words and pictures are laid out on the page, the way they interact with the controls around them, is not as easily read out loud as the text in a book. The HTML on a webpage is useful data for screen readers, but sometimes the HTML is not enough to programmatically convey to ATs all the information and interactions a webpage has. Here is where the new support for ARIA comes into place to markup the page with additional information, while, as we will see later, the IAccessibleEx implementation exposes this information to ATs. To complement it all ATs can now subscribe to 4 new WinEvents that get triggered by dynamic changing pages.

ARIA Support

The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) defines ARIA as a syntax for making dynamic web content and custom UI (user interface) accessible. IE8 recognizes the ARIA role, state, and property information and exposes it to ATs, which in turn can use the Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) and/or Microsoft UI Automation implementations to retrieve the information. Instead of building separate simplified Web pages for Accessibility, you can use ARIA to mark up your rich Web applications with roles, states and properties. For example, to match the behavior you created through a script, you can define a div element as a button, checkbox, or another ARIA role.

ARIA syntax is a great mechanism to use to unlock your dynamic, rich Web applications for everyone. Today Web pages with dynamic content and custom UI controls (such as TreeView controls) do the best they can to be accessible by reusing existing HTML controls. For example, custom TreeView controls are made accessible by defining each item as an HTML list element. This approach can add complexity to the code, make it more difficult to implement, and prevent all users from getting the same rich behavior. With ARIA you can markup your custom TreeView control with tree and treeitem ARIA roles.

From the early stages of IE8 we’ve worked closely with the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative group and Assistive Technology Vendors (ATVs). During the last year we were happy to hear that more browsers have pledged support for ARIA in their future releases; while at the same time screen readers continue to expand their support for ARIA. Here you can find the list of ARIA roles, states and properties supported in IE8.

Support for IAccessibleEx

When IE8 recognizes ARIA information on elements, it exposes more information for these elements through the MSAA implementations, than HTML alone. However not all ARIA roles, states and properties can be mapped directly to MSAA’s Accessibility roles and properties. This is because ARIA definitions are different from MSAA definitions, and the ARIA scope is bigger than MSAA’s. The UI Automation Community Promise Specification will provide you with more background on the IAccessibleEx interface. This interface extends IE8’s MSAA implementation and allows richer information to be exposed and retrieved using Microsoft UI Automation properties and control patterns. This guarantees that all of the ARIA information can be made available to ATs (Assistive Technologies) through Accessibility APIs. Here you can find IE8’s mappings for ARIA to MSAA and to UI Automation.

ATs have supported the MSAA APIs for many years now, but they are starting to add support for UI Automation, including the IAccessibleEx interface. If an AT doesn’t support UI Automation, then it won’t be able to get some of the ARIA information from the Accessibility tree; since the tree exposes through UI Automation what it can’t expose through MSAA. As a fallback, ATs are able to parse the DOM (Document Object Model) directly and extract the ARIA information themselves. This is a practice we are discouraging, since ATs constantly accessing the DOM causes performance and security issues. This tutorial will get you started with code samples to retrieve information from IE8’ Accessibility tree through UI Automation.

New supported WinEvents for DHTML

Due to the ever increasing dynamic nature of webpages, we’ve added support for new WinEvents to notify ATs when the content of a page changes dynamically. This way ATs can keep their users more in sync with the state of the page they are browsing. For example, a webmail client provides potential contact names when the user starts typing the first letters of an email address. As soon as those contact names are exposed we fire EVENT_OBJECT_REORDER so the AT becomes aware of the new options and can inform the user that those names are available for selection. The work item for ATs is to listen for these events and decide how they want to relay the information to their users.

The following are the 4 new events we want to encourage ATs to start listening for, with links to more information on what triggers each of these events:


We’ve made key Accessibility investments both in the UI and the platform during the IE8 development cycle. If you are an end-user that doesn’t use ATs, you probably discovered a couple of new features that will come handy. You can now try those features you had heard about but didn’t know you could benefit from using them - like browsing the web from your couch using the Adaptive Zoom at 150%, or browsing in High Contrast mode to keep your eyes more relaxed, or using Caret Browsing to access Accelerators entirely through the keyboard. If you use ATs to browse the web, then we also encourage you to try IE8 out and share your experiences with us.

If you are a web developer we encourage you to mark up your pages with ARIA and let us know how it improves your web applications’ Accessibility. (Also let us know how the learning process went based on the documentation available on the internet.) Try out our new Adaptive Zoom on your web sites; to further improve your site’s user experience with Zoom, try Saloni’s suggestions in the Adaptive Zoom blog post. If you are an assistive technology vendor let us know if the four new WinEvents worked the way you expected them to. Let us know if you were able to expose Accelerator and Web Slices to your users. Last but not least, let us know if you were able to get started with your support for UI Automation through the tutorial and the UI Automation Community Promise Specification previously provided.

JP Gonzalez-Castellan
Program Manager

Comments (95)
  1. Internet Explorer 8 should test Acid3. It would be rejected by other users and would not be abandoned in comparison with other browsers.

  2. 8675309 says:

    will the highlighter feature be coming back?

  3. Arieta says:

    Internet Explorer 8 should NOT pass Acid3. It needs to fix its numerous rendering bugs that prevent full compatibility with at least some level of webstandards. IE8 needs to learn how to walk before it tries running into more advanced standards that Acid3 uses.

    All the people crying about standards should take this into consideration before whining about Acid3.

  4. Tom says:

    Do any of the other browsers pass the full suite of CSS 2.1 tests that IE submitted?

    Standards compliance: be careful what you wish for, you may get it.

  5. Public says:

    "Internet Explorer 8 beta participants today received a surprising e-mail about ‘IE8 Partner Build’ released to the IE8 Technical Beta to test and find issues. This build represents a preview of IE8’s progress and is best used to verify issues fixed since releasing Beta 2. While Microsoft believes it to be of adequate quality for you to use, is not as extensively tested as a milestone build, so it is not meant for the general public but only for testing purposes."

    Make this build public, MS. Beta 2 has such horrible bugs and regressions, you can’t test anything on it.

  6. Vygantas says:

    Adaptive zoom is a must. Good that you are adding it!

  7. 18343 says:

    "The new IE 8 build is numbered 8.0.6001.18343, testers said."

    I saw a screenshot of this new release, it’s already tagged as Release Candidate 1. So without even confirming with the public testers here that the severe bugs are fixed, MS is just gonna go ahead and release it like that?

  8. Blaise Kal says:

    Probably. They need to finish IE8 pretty soon, or they’ll have to delay Windows 7 (which contains IE8). Delaying Windows 7 would cost a lot of money.

  9. Rob Parsons says:

    Great! I did not know that my keyboard had a context menu key until you pointed it out.

    You should also mention the Accessibility validators that are available on the Developer Tool.

    Happy Holidays.

  10. Rob Parsons says:

    Some tab colors will be invisible to users with color blindness.


  11. James says:

    18343: Just because a build is tagged "Release Candidate 1" just means that it is part of the RC1 tree.  It doesn’t mean that it is the final build of the RC1 milestone.

  12. erictee says:

    Dear IE team, please remove the option to "customize title width" of the feeds because it is useless:

    "short title" cannot provide further information about the feeds and "icons only" cannot be used because in the most recent build of IE the feeds show only blank page icon

  13. steve says:

    Just got this post in my RSS agregator.

    So, I’m downloading the not-so-public partner release, as well as reading this post.

    Has the zoom performance been fixed? being able to zoom is great, but the performance tanked when zoomed in up until IE8Beta2.

    Also, will Bugs in IE Feedback on Connect be updated to match the status as of this partner build?


    PS @erictee – from the PDF that came with the partner release, I believe this is for the links bar, such that it will be a usable toolbar now.

  14. steve says:

    OMG! Why are all the open issues in Feedback now set globally to resolved – can’t repro with this blanket statement:

    "In our investigations to date we have not been able to reproduce this problem as described. However, with the release of IE8 Beta 2 this bug is outdated; it may have been fixed by the many changes weโ€™ve made since Beta 1. If your issue still reproduces on the latest IE build, please update the repro steps and re-activate your bug."

    For 1, this release is the private partner build, not Beta 2, thus the old build is not Beta 1. – Please stop this blanket tagging without testing as it serves no purpose other than frustrating your un-paid developers that are testing your application.

    If upon installing this partner build, all bugs are magically fixed, then I digress, but otherwise this is not a professional approach to public bug tracking.

  15. This is the first time I have read about caret browsing. Looking forward to trying it out – and adaptive zoom. IE8 should be a nice improvement over previous releases.

  16. david says:

    Ok what is with the inline advertising in the address bar – prompting me to download Windows Search to improve History and Favorites results?

    Isn’t this anti-competitive against My Google Desktop Search? sure seems like it.

  17. david says:

    navigator.appMinorVersion returns: Release Candidate 1

    Is this the same RC1 that you told us would be released in Q1, 2009? or is this a different one?

  18. steve_web says:

    First impressions of IE8 "partner release"

    1.) window.resize event handling – still broken

    2.) td.valign – new quirky behavior causes jumping text when clicked on

    3.) z-index stacking bug with alpha:opacity layers placed below tables now appears to work again (broke in beta 2)

    4.) de-theming of select controls in Windows XP – still broken

    5.) drop arrow for Back/Forward browser navigation bar has odd oversized, "smudged" arrow on some tabs (can’t figure out what triggers it.

    6.) new regression bug – select list with a background loses the background when user opens the list

    7.) new CSS regression bug… certain div’s with class names applied do not render correctly if nested in containers with other styles (e.g. inner div’s are inheriting too much)

    8.) new regression bug, <button> elements are inheriting focus when other form elements are manipulated (e.g. toggle a radio button, and the first <button> on the form gets the active focus ring

    9.) new regression bug with, some calls are returning a JS error:

    "The remote server machine does not exist or is unavailable" – when the remote server is most definitely 100% there.

    10.) The "repaint" issue I logged in connect that was marked resolved, that I re-opened, is now 10x worse than in IE8 Beta 2.  Open the Javascript console, or any other floatable window/control and drag over any form field with a background image: (select, input, textarea…) and the image is lost (painted white) as the other window floats over top.

    Uhm, I’ve only been in this build for about 2 minutes.  Hate to say it folks, but this build looks worse than Beta 2.

    I’ll continue testing in a few hours.


  19. steve_web says:

    Here’s a few more…

    11.) new regression bug – elem.attributes collection issues:

    If I try to see if an inline onchange event handler is tied to an input box, It will fail BOTH of these tests.

    11a.) (used to work in IE)

    if(elem.attributes.getNamedItem(‘onchange’).value != ”){



    11b.) but I also can’t call it like a JavaScript function using apply() if I test with if(elem[‘onchange’] != ‘undefined’){



    12.) VML support is worse than IE8 Beta 2

    13.) Horrible UI tearing when zoomed in and scrolling pages

    14.) new regression bug – Fieldset Legends now render "un-centered" vertically within the fieldset border

    15.) new regression bug – If an HTML comment resides between tags in a table, extra row padding occurs

    16.) new regression bug – changing a selection in a select list with size > 1 causes odd flicker from last option when changing selected option

    17.) Woot! – disabled options in a select list now work!!!!! (yahoo!)

    18.) navigating directly to "about:inprivate" says that Private Browsing is turned on, but it isn’t.

    19.) Odd rendering glitch – Go to a few Google sites (in tabs) then go to about:tabs… Now press CTRL+Tab to cycle through your tabs.  Why does the Google favicon sometimes display a vertical gradient from white down to gray, then other times show gray to white to gray?

    20.) new regression bug – Frames set with a physical dimension (width/height) that didn’t show borders in IE6/IE7 now show frameborder (even with frameborder set to "no" or "0"

    21.) elem.attributes.length still returns null (can’t recall if this was fixed in Beta2 or not)

  20. steve_web says:

    22.) Zooming pages allows table cell text content to "escape" from the table cell (as if it was floating rather than contained). (this may be similar to what I was seeing in #2)

  21. steve_web says:

    23.) new regression bug – mousewheel scrolling in a textarea (zoomed or un-zoomed) causes intermitted hover/de-hover CSS events (e.g. set a different border color for :hover on a textarea, fill the text area with text that overflows, then focus the text box and scroll… border will flash wildly.

    24.) new regression bug – Scrollbars of textareas pixelate rather than gracefully stretch when page zoomed in

    25.) Same as #24 for Div’s with overflow:auto set, when there is overflow, and page is zoomed

    26.) new regression bug – JavaScript activity stops animated GIF images from animating… (even if in separate JS threads) which therefore makes all AJAX activity indicators appear to hang.

  22. I say that, I say nothing says:

    Why not focus on Canvas tag from HTML 5 instead of some zoom stuff? Every web developer is asking it.

  23. Dan says:

    @I say silly things: Any time anyone tries to speak for all web developers, it’s clear that they have little perspective on the breadth of important issues in the browser.

    People with accessibility needs find those far more important than supporting a tag in a non-complete draft of a standard expected to be finalized 2-3 years from now.

  24. Dan says:

    @David: No, it’s not anti-competitive.  If folks want a different search engine, they can install one.  Keep in mind that Windows Vista includes WS by default, and THAT passed regulatory approval.

    As for the "RC1" marker, I’m sure all of the builds currently say that, since that’s the next public milestone drop.

    @Steve: I trust you filed all the bugs in the bug database you have access to?

  25. Markus says:

    "18.) navigating directly to "about:inprivate" says that Private Browsing is turned on, but it isn’t."

    So what?  Navigating directly to about:NoAdd-ons will show you the page that says extensions are off.  Navigating to the "SecurityAtRisk" page will show you the security at risk page.  Navigating to the navcancel page will tell you that navigation was cancelled.  Etc, etc, etc.

    Who cares?

  26. Sharon [MSFT] says:

    @david – here’s some info about Windows Desktop Search in the address bar

  27. steve_web says:

    @Dan – No I haven’t filed any of these bugs in Connect yet.

    I want confirmation of where this build sits in the roadmap first.  I wasn’t expecting a build until next year, which was to be the more complete, stable, almost ready to ship RC1.  Currently IE8 "Partner Release" is turning out to be 1 step forward, 3 steps back in terms of progress.

    I was hoping that with this build I would be able to start testing/pushing code to be production ready in waiting for IE8 RTM but I’ve put all those thoughts on hold.

    If any filed bugs in connect are going to get shut down again by an RC release in 30 days or so then I won’t waste any of my time filing them (beyond the public "filing" above).

    What would be really nice is the "change log" for fixes/implementations between IE8B2 and the IE8PR1 version so we can test specific changes, and find regressions.

    As for #18 above, IMHO, entering this URL should "take you" into private mode, just as typing "c:" as the url will take you into windows exploring.

  28. steve_web says:

    27.) The Gmail "more options" list doesn’t render any text in IE8 PR1. – guess I’ll have to go open up chrome or Firefox to mark my email as read! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  29. Kellie [MSFT] says:

    Regarding comments about the IE8 Partner Build:  It is standard practice for Microsoft to provide custom builds to select audiences to test our products before they are released broadly, and we are currently doing that with the IE8 Partner Build that was released on December 10th, 2008 to our Tech Beta participants.  Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 was released in September 2008 in 25 languages and is available for public testing.  We plan to make another public version available for broad trial purposes in the first quarter of 2009 prior to delivering the final version of Internet Explorer 8.

  30. Atul says:

    When trying to "Open in New Tab/New Window", none succeeds in opening any new URL.  Just the new Tab/Window shows up with the Icon animation and it is endless, no website shows up.

    Please can one of you experts share/advise on how to resolve this.  I read in the Community pages, and tried disabling Quick Tabs and then Logging Off/Restarting/Administrator login, etc, but it still does not work.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.



  31. @steve

    > will Bugs in IE Feedback on Connect be updated to match the status as of this partner build?

    You can do that yourself, I suppose, by adding a comment like

    "IE 8 Partner pre-RC1 build 6001.18343 passes this test" or something like that, assuming you can download+install+use that IE 8 Partner build. This is what I’ve done with my IE 8 bugs list.

    One major regression I noticed is bug #14:

    Beta 2 build 6001.18241 passed it while pre-RC1 build 6001.18343 FAILS (line 67 identified in Webpage Error report).


    I get contradictory result when trying testcase of IE beta feedback bug 361181:

    IE team says "This issue has been resolved fixed. It can be seen in the IE8 Partner Build (…)" but I do not get expected results with IE8 Partner Build 6001.18343


    Some testcases will trigger IE8 Partner Build 6001.18343 to switch *_automatically_* into compatibility view. E.g.:


    Bug 153 still fails despite Microsoft White Papers and repeated claims of native support of PNG image:


    A few testcases are better rendered despite failing the tested cases. E.g. at my IE 8 bugs webpage: bugs #151, #193, #197 and a few others..

    Regards, Gérard

  32. hAl says:

    Amazing that the new build introduces so many regressions.

  33. wai says:

    it is good that that bottom button – "InPrivate Blocking: off" is being labelled. For the other buttons (popup blocker, add-on, SmartScreenFilter etc), please try to label them too, with text or icon, to help the user to know there are some buttons and what functions are they

  34. Andrew says:

    whats happens with my sidebar gadgets after installing new 8.0.6001.18343 build???

  35. Interoperability says:

    So after 3 months since the release of Beta 2, Pre-RC1 has even more bugs and regressions that cripples it and makes it useless for testing? Can’t say I’m surprised much though. I think this article says it best.

    "Both WebKit (the rendering engine of Safari) and Firefox offer nightly builds"

    "These regular releases make it much quicker for bug fixes to get into developers’ hands, making it easier for them to update their sites now rather than having to wait months between betas."

    "But with Microsoft’s lack of clear objectives, infrequent releases, and poor communication, IE8 will be struggling to even achieve parity with its competitors."

  36. wai says:


    nightly build may good for developer, but for general users, monthly patches are good enough already.

  37. erictee says:

    the favorite bar is useless in IE Partner Build as I cannot update the feeds and the feeds do not show the favicon

  38. Top News Stories Microsoft and HP Extend Private-Label Hosting Opportunities to Value-Added Resellers

  39. steve says:

    @Gérard Talbot: – yeah as soon as I checked I saw lots of auto updates (mostly typos saying that beta1 doesn’t repro, closing, try beta2 and reopen if necs.) – argh…

    So I went through most of them last night, 1 or 2 were fixed, the rest were just as broken if not more so, thus re-opened them accordingly.

    Also noticed that this post shows a nice new bug.  scroll the page until the big images are under the cursor, then try to scroll… notice how it is significantly slower than when over text.  It is really obvious if you use the scroll portion of a laptop touchpad.

    If you compare it to Chrome or Firefox there is a huge difference.

  40. steve says:

    another odd quirk.

    In IE8PR1 do a [CTRL]+F on this page.  Search for "Translate with Windows Live"… What is up with that huge vertical text span? – Try in any other browser.

    Even just try highlighting some text in that line in Firefox, then in IE8PR1.  This just looks real quirky and odd.

  41. justin says:

    In Windows I always set the "Show extensions for known file types" to [checked] because not seeing the extension is a pain and only adds more confusion when trying to find files.

    However in IE when I right click on an image and choose "Save picture as", the dialog (first off is very old looking) doesn’t show me the filename extension!?

    Why does this dialog ignore my specific request to ALWAYS see the file extensions?

    Please note this only happens in IE, all other browsers obey my settings.

  42. OK says:


    This blog (and IE Partner Builds) is not intended for general users. We are developers here.

  43. geldlening says:

    These are only a couple of UI improvements. Why aren’t we getting Canvas support?

  44. From the article: &#160; A post on the IEBlog by Accessibility Program Manager JP Gonzalez-Castellan

  45. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Andrew: Great question.  What DOES happen on your computer?

    @Gerard Talbot:  Thanks!

    Test case #153 still passes in the partner build, just as it passed in Beta-2.  When you install QuickTime, you need to remove its registration for the PNG file format.  I have no idea why Quicktime thinks *it* should handle PNGs, but it leads to problems like the one you mention.

    I’m not able to reproduce the problem where Compatibility Mode is used for your link hover tests in current builds.  It’s likely that this is a rendering issue which was recently fixed.

    I agree that 361181 does not appear to be fixed, even in the latest builds.

    Did you file a CONNECT bug for issue #14?

    @Atul: The most common problem for these symptoms is a buggy addon.  Please see for step-by-step instructions on how to check.

    @steve_web: Navigating to the "about:" pages is not expected to activate any features; it’s only expected to tell you about the features.  Otherwise (among many other problems) any website could navigate you to the about page to activate the feature specified.  That would be seriously annoying.

    I’m not able to reproduce most of the "regressions" you’ve reported.  It would be very helpful if you linked to relevant test cases.  Thanks!

  46. steve_web says:

    @EricLaw – can you clarify which of the "most" that you can’t reproduce? I was able to reproduce all of them thus before creating unique test cases for each I’d like to know which ones I need to do it for if "some" were reproducible.



  47. Dan [MSFT] says:

    @steve_web, regarding: 9.) new regression bug with, some calls are returning a JS error:

    "The remote server machine does not exist or is unavailable" – when the remote server is most definitely 100% there.

    Can you provide us with specifics of what the script is doing when you encounter this error? The remote server it is referring to is not a web server but a local RPC COM server, that is, the other window that the script opened.


  48. Richard Fink says:

    Back on topic:

    MS has always had a strong commitment to accessibility and it’s good to see ARIA in IE8. However, ARIA is a tool that is meant to benefit, directly at least, those with relatively severe vision problems.

    That’s great, truly, but how about everyone else?

    How about the hundreds of million of users with mild disabilities like presbyopia? [The medical term for "aging eyes" – a condition that begins to affect nearly everyone over the age of forty. Sometimes before. In other words, you, me, and EVERYONE, sooner or later.]

    All we need or want is a small boost in the size of text by a pixel or two to make things more easily readable. And most of the time, it doesn’t even break the layout.

    But, of course, the problems with IE’s Text Size menu – what some call the "Text Size Bug" make that a very, very difficult issue to address. (Don’t, please don’t tell me it can be done satisfactorily using ems and/or percents, accross a broad variety of layouts. It can’t. )

    Please realize that Adaptive Zoom, even though it’s been implemented in FF3, Opera, and now IE8, is no magic bullet.

    Just a few issues that jump out:

    a) Rarely does every page on a site use the same font-sizing and layout. A Zoom setting for a page containing an full-page article might work fine but be completely unsuitable two minutes later when the user goes back to the home page, where text will undoubtedly be much smaller. Zoom is a blunt, and dumb, instrument that requires a lot of distractive fiddling around.

    b) If the user has the status bar turned off, the user has absolutely no clue whether the page is being rendered at 100%, 120%, 90%, or what? Keying errors – hitting Ctrl+ or Ctrl- by mistake – happen all the time. Leaving users perplexed and, perhaps, clicking away from the unlucky site where the user-error occurred because the page is looking and, seemingly behaving, weird.

    c)Adaptive Zoom works pretty much like a window resize and therefore favors layouts that use em and percent based sizing, and penalizes pixel-based sizing with the unwanted side effect of, among other things, horizontal scrollbars. Zoomed, these pages become a usability nightmare.

    How about a system that allows designers and developers to influence the kind of zoom, degree of zoom, and do the same for Text Size, as well? Both features could be made to function a lot smarter with just a little bit of input from the designer and/or developer.

    I could go on and on about this (and I will, at another time and place) but it sure isn’t time to do an accessibility dance, just yet.

    Great effort but there’s still some miles to go.

    Lastly, thanks for the surprise "sneak peek" Partners Build. It’s been helpful to me in completing MY development work, at least.

    Some bugs I recently found and were about to report, are gone. (Weird rendering with text-align:justify; in IE8 Strict Mode.)

    I hope we’ll see more of this kind of communication going forward.


  49. Mahdi Yousefi says:

    Nice, But i think one major problem that IE has is in saving web pages,

    IE can not save pages from downloaded content like firefox and other browser, User must download a webpage content to view why user must wait another time for saving files.

    Also when saving a page you can not do anything until saving complete!!!! why IE can not save web page without lock windows?

    Why any one do not thing about saving webpages in IE6,IE7,IE8.

    Why when i stop a page but flash content in IE continue to loading content?

    Can you answer?

  50. tim says:

    How soon can developers wrap the IE browser for commercial applications at kiosks?

    Using IE6 which is the default at most kiosks is a royal pain.

    It looks horrible and won’t render half of the content of the web properly.

    Is it as easy as wrapping IE6 was? or has it been made harder now with IE7 and IE8?


  51. Andrew says:

    @EricLaw: About 50% gadgets not visible or not working with RC1, but with beta 2 working good ๐Ÿ™

    Try gadget or GMail Counter from Live Gallery or

  52. Michael says:

    1. While zooming in the new build is far better than in beta 2, it is still slow on my quad core machine.

    2. The page information dialog should be changed to somenthing like the one in firefox — it makes the browser look really old when anyone views it

    3. The icons in the browers now look ok when DPI upscaling is turned on. Thanks!

  53. Richard Fink says:

    Dec. Partners build:

    Noticed that Ctrl+ and Ctrl- now change the Zoom increment by 25%.

    In IE7 and previous IE8 builds it was 110%.

    What was the thinking and/or feedback that brought about the change?

    Will that change persist onto RC1 and RTM?

  54. hAl says:


    How is zoom slow for you ?

    Its speed looks fine on my poor celeron.

    Is is slow on a specific page ?

    Is is slow still in no-addons mode as well ?

  55. Hello –

    I just downloaded IE 8 Beta version.  Since this download, my computer freezes up when I click on Yahoo TV listings.  Can you please help me?

    Thank you in advance,


  56. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Ginni: Try pushing the "Compatibility View" button at the right hand side of the address bar.

    @tim: IE7 and IE8 can be wrapped exactly like IE6 was for building kiosk applications or other programs that need to render HTML.

  57. wai says:

    the page layout of spreadsheet in is wrong no matter Compatibility View is turned on or off, anyone have the same problem?

    And sometime IE turns into Compatibility View when it detects some incompatibility, it may be better to have an option to toggle this detection.

    Using XP SP3 ENU, IE8 RC.

  58. iddaa says:

    the favorite bar is useless in IE Partner Build as I cannot update the feeds and the feeds do not show the favicon

  59. The IE team has been working towards making IE8 the most accessible browser possible. Latest entry from

  60. Lening says:

    The adaptive zoom is great for usability. Visually impaired users, as wel as everyone else profits by this enlarged user interface. Great work!

  61. someone says:

    1.please allow to use both the old javascript method of IE6 zoom and the newer IE7 zoom method . sometimes they are better than the zoom method of IE8 . it true that the autocomplete feature is gone? why? can i get IE8rc1 ? i can’t find it anywhere.

    4.will all the features be available and work well on IE-based browsers as well?

    5.about the webslices feature, can you please make it to work on all websites? you can just mark with the mouse the area to check , and IE8 will make a webslice of it to monitor.

  62. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @someone: #2: No.  Inline autocomplete in the addressbar was replaced with the "Unified List View" dropdown, but it still autocompletes.  Autocomplete within web pages still works.

    #3: IE8 RC1 will be released in the first quarter of next year.

    #4: Many features are available in IE-based browsers; some require opt-in, but most IE-based browser authors tend to opt-in.

    #5: The problem with allowing user-selection is that this would not likely work because if the layout of the page were to change, the slice wouldn’t work.  By having the web developer mark the slice, we have confidence that the markup will remain available in the future.

    @wai: Please keep in mind that you are using the December Partner Build, not the "RC" build, which has not yet been finished.

    "And sometime IE turns into Compatibility View when it detects some incompatibility, it may be better to have an option to toggle this detection."

    To be clear, when IE automatically enters compatibility view, this means that it has encountered a fatal rendering error, and the page would render blank if not for the compatibility fallback.  You can disable the fallback if you’d like using Tools > Internet Options > Advanced, "Automatically recover from page layout errors using compatibility view."

    Our goal for the release is to resolve these fatal layout errors so that automatic fallbacks are not needed.

  63. steve_web says:

    @EricLaw [MSFT]

    Didn’t hear back in terms of which of the new regression issues didn’t repro, but I built and uploaded a test case for #10 in the list, which also shows #4, and #6.

    Feedback ID:386338

    Please advise which other ones you could repro, I don’t want to make too many test cases unless I have to. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  64. Ivan says:

    Change he IE8 toolbar, it is disgusting! Make the tabs like Google Chrome with WPF!

  65. SylvainG [MSFT] says:



    >> 7.) new CSS regression bug… certain div’s

    >> with class names applied do not render

    >> correctly if nested in containers with other

    >> styles (e.g. inner div’s are inheriting too

    >> much)

    I’d love to see a test case reproducing this !

  66. mike says:

    Will there be a Partner Release 2 before the Public RC1? – I’m not overly excited about the PR1 because it seems less polished than the Beta2 (and I’m finding more bugs in PR1 than Beta2).  If there is a better version in the pipes I don’t want to waste time trying out bugs/issues on PR1 if there is a PR2 comming soon.

  67. mike says:

    @SylvainG [MSFT] / @steve

    I noticed (as did you) that the VML support in IE8 PR1 is worse than IE8B2 (requires stricter namespacing at least, but I haven’t tested beyond that) but a side effect is that *if* you were using it to reproduce rounded corners in IE 6/7 (since they don’t support it at all) it doesn’t work in IE8 PR1, and moreso, it wipes all of the "class" based CSS features from rendering which then makes it appear that IE isn’t rendering stuff correctly.

    e.g. if I have this class

    .foo {


     border:1px solid #0000ff;




    It works fine in IE (well except for the rounded corners)

    but if you had:

    .foo {


     border:1px solid #0000ff;



     behavior:url(;/*IE Hack*/


    This will FAIL miserably in IE8 PR1 – rendering no background/border styles.  I believe it is due to the way these hacks work, sucking the style properties from the original element, de-styling them, then layering in the VML element with the stolen styles + the rounded corners.

    Until I can resolve the namespace issue, I am removing the rounded borders for IE8 rendering and only keeping them in for IE6/IE7.


  68. VistaUserXDD says:

    Uhh, keep up the good work.

    But Compatibility Mode = Epic Fail

  69. JAB Creations says:

    The privacy policy summary does *NOT* send the referrer and thus triggers my site’s Apache based anti-hotlinking script. Please simply have IE send the referrers and problem solved.

  70. Frosty says:

    Scolling speed when the page has zoom is absolutely horrible.

    Infact, scrolling performance in IE vs Firefox and Chrome is horrible. This needs fixed.

  71. wheres the patch? says:

    If you seriously want to keep us using IE, timely patches to security holes with known active exploits should be the #1 priority!

    Many sites are actively suggesting users use a different browser until this fix is pushed out.

    BBC News:

    Trend Micro:

    Shadow Server:

  72. wheres the patch? says:


    Geeks are Sexy:

    http : / / w w w


    http : / /

    Generation IT:

    http : / /

    Washington Post:

    http : / /

    And this is the kicker, even Microsoft is encouraging users to switch!

    (sorry about the spacing but the spam filter on this blog is sooo agressive)

    Concerned [strike]IE[/strike]Firefox user.

    This is the kind of patch that should come before Patch Choose Day, right?

  73. ivitza says:

    @JAB Creations

    Since Microsoft has already indicated that they won’t fix REFERER bug 421

    I don’t think they’ll be in any hurry to fix it for a privacy policy link.

  74. @Eric Law

    > Test case #153 still passes in the partner

    > build, just as it passed in Beta-2.  When

    > you install QuickTime,

    I do NOT have QuickTime, I do not use QuickTime.

    > Did you file a CONNECT bug for issue #14?

    No, I did not. Lack of time. This bug should be re-fixed in my opinion.

    I remember I originally assumed that fixing bug 338795

    would obligatorily imply the fixing of my bug #14.

    Regards, Gérard

  75. Dan says:

    @patch: "And this is the kicker, even Microsoft is encouraging users to switch!"

    Bull.  Read the article and you’ll not that NO ONE from Microsoft makes any such statement.

  76. @Richard Fink

    > the problems with IE’s Text Size menu – what

    > some call the "Text Size Bug"

    This particular bug

    has been FIXED in IE 8 Partner pre-RC1 build 6001.18343.

    Regards, Gérard

  77. Chris says:

    Was this considered a feature by design? ( I’m curious because this will help me greatly in developing a cross-country intranet through IE8’s Add-on. I wouldn’t mind if I have to open up some security issues since I have Spy Sheriff as my anti-virus program to take care of any problems that will occur.

    Wishful thinker,


  78. Instead of adding frivolous features, Microsoft should concentrate on making the browser robust and standards-compliant. That will inherently make it more accessible. See comments from Steve above.

  79. wai says:

    i am not sure is it a bug

    1) Start the browser

    2) click New Tab, before the new tab load completely, use the middle button to close the new tab

    3) if your cursor moves fast enough, use the middle button to click on the first tab. The browser will close completely

    Normally when there is only one tab, you cannot use the middle button to click on it to "close". If the function can present, do something like firefox or chrome would be good enough.

    It is obvious when the computer is not that fast ;P….. using P4D 2.8GHz, 2GB ram

  80. Dave says:

    Fixed that monstrous security hole yet? Nope? Good! Thanks for keeping pushing folks to Mozilla!

  81. modo says:

    The adaptive zoom could be very nice if the bugs are solved.

  82. Pedric says:

    Now, the thing that would make IE really shine would be if you were to tear it out of Windows and made it a standalone program that can be installed and uninstalled just like any other program without messing with the entire OS…

  83. @Eric Law

    Major regression:

    > Did you file a CONNECT bug for issue #14?

    Bug 388710


  84. @Eric Lawrence

    Steps to reproduce:


    1- Load

    in pre-RC1 Partner build 18344 under XP Pro SP3

    2- Hover the mouse cursor over the link "connect’s IE beta feedback as bug 365927"

    Actual result:


    A balloon will pop up saying


    Compatibility View

    A problem displaying caused Internet Explorer to refresh the webpage using Compatibility View


    and the webpage automatically switches into non-standards rendering mode.

    This behavior is also reproducible 100% with some other links in the page and at

    Regards, Gérard

  85. Richard Fink says:

    @Gerard Talbot

    Thanks for the info. When I first glanced at your demo page some months ago, I had assumed that you were demonstrating, once again, what many consider IE’s Text Size "bug", that is, it’s failure to resize pixel values and the compounding of relative values

    within nested elements.

    This is how Text Size works by design.

    But on close inspection, this was a true bug.

    1em of, say, a 16px equivalent font size is 16px and the Text Size menu should, at least,

    be consistent and size up and down on all of the nested text equally. They are all 1em of the same font-size. Fixed, I see!

    I also am noticing on your test page that IE is interpreting a ‘medium’ border as thinner than in IE7. Perhaps that is because it is doing the math based on the font-size, or what. (Just thinking out loud.)

    (I’m curious – I’ll re-set the font sizes to 2em and see what happens.)

  86. New Accessibility Features in IE8, ๊ฝค ์ข‹์•„์ง€๋Š” ๊ตฐ์š”.

  87. Chuck Morris says:

    have tried IE8 (3) times and the same problem has occured. It has a problem when trying to run Ctrix apps. I only opens up a box with no address and doesn’t login to the location. Which doesn’t happen when using IE7.

  88. @Richard Fink

    > IE is interpreting a ‘medium’ border as thinner than in IE7.

    Correct. IE 8 beta 2 and pre-RC1 Partner builds render thick, medium and thin as thinner than in/with IE 7.


    There is nothing in the CSS 2.1 spec which specifies the pixel size of thick, medium and thin. Only that thick > medium > thin .

    Also, the pixel size of thick, medium and thin border-width now matches Firefox’s rendering (pixel size) and Opera’s rendering (pixel size).

    Regards, Gérard

  89. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Gerard: I spoke to the dev team and they confirmed that the border width change for IE8 standards mode was deliberate.  

    Specifically, our developer noted:

    "All other standards browsers use the same thickness for โ€˜mediumโ€™. We chose to go with the majority when in standards mode (although as noted, the standard does not define a specific size for thin/medium/thick)."

  90. "All other standards browsers use the same thickness for โ€˜mediumโ€™. We chose to go with the majority when in standards mode (although as noted, the standard does not define a specific size for thin/medium/thick)."


    Season’s Greetings to the IE team,


  91. IEBlog says:

    Hi, my name is Tony Ross and Iโ€™m one of the Program Managers for Internet Explorer. As JP mentioned in

  92. ์—…๋ฐ์ดํŠธ ์ผ์ž: 2008 ๋…„ 12 ์›” 11 ์ผ ์ด ๊ธ€์€ Internet Explorer ๊ฐœ๋ฐœ ํŒ€ ๋ธ”๋กœ๊ทธ (์˜์–ด)์˜ ๋ฒˆ์—ญ ๋ฌธ์„œ์ž…๋‹ˆ๋‹ค. ์ด ๊ธ€์— ํฌํ•จ๋œ ์ •๋ณด๋Š” Internet Explorer

  93. WOMBAT says:

    Why Internet Explorer 8 disappoints web developers

  94. It seems fitting with Coldplay being in Auckland last week and Yellow producing a custom version of IE8

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