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IE Tab

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CNET Editors' review

For years, Microsoft's Internet Explorer has trailed Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox in the browser battles, yet Web surfers still hit on pages that only load in IE. Blackfish Software's IE Tab is a free Chrome extension that opens such pages inside a Chrome tab. With it, you can load sites built on IE's rendering engine or that use ActiveX controls. Web site designers will like the way they can test how pages load in IE without leaving Chrome.

This free Chrome extension downloads from Google's Chrome Store, but it's a painless process that finished with IE Tab's start page and links to the program's documentation, FAQs, and forums. The extension places an icon on Chrome's toolbar that we could click to open a particular page in an IE tab. IE Tab automatically determines whether a Web site should be loaded using IE's engine based on Auto URL filters that you can set, including wildcards that let you open all of a given site's pages in IE tabs (for example, Microsoft.com). We could configure Auto URLs (and exceptions) from the extension's Options sheet, which also offered check boxes for disabling auto-search, enabling link enhancement, and other fine-tuning. IE Tab also lets you choose from several IE compatibility modes for users who have IE 7 or higher, which lets you emulate different versions of IE, though your system must have IE 8 or 9 installed to use either version's Standards Mode or Forced Standards Mode. We could also hide IE Tab's button or remove it from Chrome from the extension's icon. You might also need to change IE's security settings to enable features like ActiveX content.

IE Tab is totally easy to use. When you come across a Web site that won't render properly in Chrome (such as showing a small red X where an ActiveX animation should be) simply click IE Tab's button to open the page in a new tab, only rendered with IE. It didn't take us long to find pages to test the extension. IE Tab showed us how different browser technologies render the same site in different ways.

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