Configure How the Internet Explorer App Works in Windows 8.1

Even though the Internet Explorer 11 app in Windows 8.1 is a simple, touch oriented version of the desktop browser, it still has a lot of configuration options, that could be hard to understand for users who are just starting to use it. This is the reason why, in this article we will share all the configuration options that are available in the Internet Explorer 11 app and explain them as best we can.

Where to Find the Settings of the Internet Explorer App

In order to find all the configuration options the Internet Explorer app has to offer, you need to access the Options menu.

First, open the Internet Explorer app. If you don't know how, please read the "How to Start Both Versions of Internet Explorer in Windows 8.1" section from this article.

Then, click or tap the Page tools button.

In the menu that is shown, click or tap Options.

An alternative is to bring up the charms while the Internet Explorer app is opened and go to Settings and then to Options.

Here you will find all the configuration options that are available for the Internet Explorer app.

How to Change Internet Explorer's Appearance

All the settings are grouped into different sections. In the Appearance section you will find two options:

  • "Always show address bar and tabs" - By default, this switch is enabled. If you disable it, the address bar automatically hides, leaving more space on the screen for the websites you are browsing.

    This is what the browser looks like when the address bar is turned on.

    This is how Internet Explorer looks like when the address bar and the tabs are hidden.

  • Zoom - The default zoom for web pages is 100%. You can drag the zoom bar to the left to get to a minimum of 50% or drag it to the right to zoom the page up to 400%.

How to Change the Homepage in the Internet Explorer App

In the Home pages section you can choose which pages are loaded when you open the Internet Explorer app.

Click or tap the Customize button.

Here you can see a list of the websites currently set as Home pages or you can choose to add the currently opened website to the list.

To edit or remove a website in the list, click or tap its link.

You can edit its URL in the Page address text box.

You can also remove it from the list by clicking or tapping the Remove button. However, you should keep in mind that you need at least one home page in the list and you won't be allowed to remove the last item in this list.

To add the current website to the list, click or tap the Add current site button.

Then click or tap the Add button.

The website you have added will be loaded each time you start the Internet Explorer app or Internet Explorer for desktop.

What can you edit in the Reading view section?

Reading view is an useful feature of the Internet Explorer app that allows users to load a web page without ads and other distractions. To learn more about it, read this guide: Forget Ads & Distractions with Reading View in Internet Explorer 11.

In the Reading view section of settings, you can customize the style used for the text and the font size when you are using this mode.

To change the style used for the text, click or tap one of the four available styles.

To change the size of the font used in the Reading view, click or tap the Font size drop down list.

Then, choose one of the available sizes.

From Where to Delete Your Browsing History

In the History section you can delete some or all of your browsing data from the Internet Explorer app.

We will cover how to remove all your history and browsing data in a separate tutorial.

Change How Internet Explorer Deals with Passwords

In the Passwords section you can choose whether Internet Explorer offers to save your passwords when you log into sites.

By default, this feature is enabled. To disable it, all you have to do is to turn off the "Offer to save passwords when I log into sites" switch.

You can also manage the passwords that are saved by the Internet Explorer app, by pressing the Manage button.

How to Initiate Phone Calls Straight from the Browser

In the Phone numbers section you can set whether the browser will recognize phone numbers by their format and allow you to call them as if you were accessing links. Obviously, you can call phone numbers if you have an app like Skype installed, which can make phone calls.

To enable this feature, you have to set the "Detect phone numbers on sites so I can call them" switch to On.

This feature is useful also on Windows 8.1 tablets with LTE connectivity.

What can you change in the Fonts and encoding section?

In the Fonts and encoding section, click or tap the Select button.

You will find several drop-down lists with options that allow you to change the way you see the text on the websites you are browsing. They are, as follows:

  • Language script - select the script the browser should use for rendering fonts, when the website doesn't specify it. By default, the Latin based script is selected.
  • Webpage font - select the font the browser should use for websites that use the default font provided by the browser. By default, Times New Roman is selected.
  • Fixed width fonts - select which font should be used by the browser when a website uses a fixed width font.
  • Encoding - select the proper encoding for the websites that you visit. If you see that characters are displayed incorrectly you should first try to change the encoding of the text.
  • Reading direction - choose the orientation of the text to suit your preferences.


As you can see, the Internet Explorer 11 app from Windows 8.1 offers a surprisingly large number of configuration options. We recommend that you test them and choose the settings that better suit your needs.
If you are looking for other useful guides about the Internet Explorer app, don't hesitate to read the articles recommended below.