Applies to

Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3.

Applies to

Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3.

Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2.

Operating system:

Browse the web on Surface

Surface comes with a touch-friendly web browser that makes it easy to customize your settings and get the most out of your favorite websites.


Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge icon Microsoft Edge is the new web browser in Windows 10 that gives you new ways to search online, read clutter-free web content, and even draw and take notes directly on webpages.
  • Search: Enter search terms right in the address bar and get instant web results, search suggestions, and your browsing history.
  • Web notes: Write, draw, and highlight directly on webpages, save them, and share them with others.
  • Reading list: Save articles and other content to read later.
  • Hub: See all the things you’ve collected while browsing the web—including your reading list, browsing history, and recent downloads.

To learn more, see Get to know Microsoft Edge.

Using Internet Explorer 11

You can still use the Internet Explorer desktop app to browse the web on your Surface.

To open Internet Explorer:

  • On the desktop, enter Internet Explorer in the Search box, and in the search results, select Internet Explorer.

For info about using Internet Explorer, see Getting started with Internet Explorer 11.

Browse the web

To browse the web on your Surface:

Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo > Microsoft Edge.
The first time you start Microsoft Edge, you’ll see the default start page with the address bar in the center.
Microsoft Edge home page
Step 2: Enter a web address or search term in the address bar, and press Enter.
Tips

View your browsing history

Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo > Microsoft Edge.
Step 2: At the top of the screen, select Hub Hub icon > History History icon.

Change browser settings

Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo > Microsoft Edge.
Step 2: In the upper-right corner, select More actions More actions icon > Settings.
Step 3: Change the settings you want, including your browser theme, start page, and reading view style.

Write on webpages

With Microsoft Edge, you can take notes and highlight directly on a webpage.

Open a webpage and select Make a web note Make a web note icon . Then use your touchscreen to write or type notes, draw, highlight, or clip sections out of pages. You can save your handiwork and select Share Share icon to send it to others.

For more info, see Write on the web .

Read clutter-free web content

As you browse your favorite online content, look for Reading view Reading view icon in the address bar. Reading view clears away the clutter—like ads—so stories are front and center. Select Reading view to open the page in reading view. When you want to get back to browsing, just select Reading view again.

You can customize the reading view, including changing font style and text size. For more info, see Take your reading with you.

Navigate with tabs

To open a new tab or switch between tabs:

  • Select New tab New tab icon to open a new browser tab. Then, enter a URL or search term, or select one of your frequent or favorite sites.
  • Select a browser tab to switch to that window.
  • Select More actions More actions icon to open an InPrivate window.
Note
InPrivate Browsing enables you to browse the web without leaving a trail in Internet Explorer. Info like passwords, search history, and page history is deleted once you close the tab.

Add sites to your reading list or web favorites

To add a site to your reading list:

Step 1: Go to the site you want to add.
Step 2: Select Add to favorites or reading list Favorites icon > Reading list > Add.

To add sites to your web favorites:

Step 1: Go to the site you want to add.
Step 2: Select Add to favorites or reading list Favorites icon > Favorites > Add.

Looking for your reading list or favorite sites? Open the Hub Hub icon in Microsoft Edge, and select Reading list Reading list icon in Microsoft Edge or Favorites Favorites icon in Microsoft Edge.


Using Internet Explorer on Surface

Surface Pro models and Surface 3 come with two versions of Internet Explorer—a touch-friendly version and a desktop version. Both share the same browser history and settings. Whether you choose to use touch or browse from the desktop, browsing the web has never been easier.

Internet Explorer tile on Start screen
Internet Explorer on the Start screen
Internet Explorer icon in taskbar
Internet Explorer on the desktop

Need help connecting your Surface to the Internet? See the following pages for more info:

Touch-friendly Internet Explorer (on the Start screen)

Internet Explorer 11 is optimized for touch. Tiles and tabs are oversized for easy tapping and appear only when you need them.

Modern Internet Explorer 11 on Microsoft Surface

Set your default browser

To get the touch-friendly browsing experience, set Internet Explorer as your default browser. If you don’t set Internet Explorer as the default, only the Internet Explorer desktop app will be available on your Surface. Here's how to set your default browser:

Step 1: From the Start screen, enter default programs, and in the search results, tap or click Default Programs.
Step 2: Tap or click Set your default programs > Internet Explorer > Set this program as default > OK.

Browse the web

Step 1: On the Start screen, tap or click Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen (if you’re using a mouse, right-click) to open the address bar.
Tiles for your favorite sites and open tabs appear above the address bar. (Scroll to see all the tiles.)
Step 3: Enter a web address or search term in the address bar, or tap or click a tab or a pinned or favorite website.
Tips

Change browser settings

Step 1: On the Start screen, tap or click Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings > Options, and change the settings you want.

To learn how to change your home page, see Change your home page for Internet Explorer.

Note
Some settings are available only in the desktop version of Internet Explorer. For more info, see Internet Explorer on the desktop below.

Use multiple browsing windows

You can open multiple windows in Internet Explorer and view two windows side by side. To open a new window, press and hold (or right-click) Internet Explorer on the Start screen, and tap or click Open new window.

To view two windows side by side, open one window and drag down from the top edge to the right or left side of the screen. Then, swipe from the left edge to drag the other window in from the left side of the screen.

Navigate with tabs

To open a new tab or switch between tabs, swipe up from the bottom of the screen (if you’re using a mouse, right-click). The Tabs bar appears above the address bar, showing you the open webpages.

  • Tap or click a browser window to switch to that window.
  • Tap or click New tab New tab button to open a new browser tab. Then, enter a web address or search term, or select one of your favorite sites.
  • Tap or click Tab tools Tab tools button to open an InPrivate tab or reopen a tab you’ve recently closed. For info on InPrivate browsing, see Change security and privacy settings for Internet Explorer.

Add sites to your web favorites

You can pin sites to your Start screen or add sites to your browser favorites.

To pin a site to Start:

Step 1: Go to the website you want to pin to Start.
Step 2: Swipe up from the bottom edge (or right-click) to bring up the app commands.
Step 3: Tap or click Favorites Favorite button > Pin site Pin site button > Pin to Start.

To add sites to your browser favorites:

Step 1: Go to a website you want to add.
Step 2: Swipe up from the bottom edge (or right-click) to bring up the app commands, and tap or click Favorites Favorite button to show the favorites bar.
Step 3: Tap or click Add to favorites Add to favorites button > Add.

For more info, see Use favorites to save websites you like.

Your browser favorites and history can be synced across Windows 8.1 PCs if you use a Microsoft account. For more info, see Sync settings between PCs with OneDrive.

You can switch quickly between favorites and tabs by tapping or clicking Favorites Favorite button or Tabs Tabs button in the app commands. Tap or click the down arrow next to Favorites to change how to display your favorite sites. Choose All, Favorites Bar, or Pinned to Start.

Read clutter-free web content

When you’re browsing your favorite online content, look for Reading view Reading view button in the address bar. Reading view clears away the clutter—like ads—so stories are front and center. Tap or click Reading view to open the page in reading view. When you want to get back to browsing, just tap or click Reading view again.

You can customize the reading view, including font style and text size. For more information, see Getting started with Internet Explorer 11.

Internet Explorer on the desktop

You can also browse the web from the desktop on your Surface using the Internet Explorer desktop app.

To start the Internet Explorer desktop app:

Step 1: On the Start screen, tap or click Desktop (or press Windows logo key Windows logo+ D). If you don’t see the Desktop tile on the Start screen, swipe up and tap or click Desktop in the Apps list.
Step 2: Tap or click Internet Explorer on the taskbar.
Internet Explorer icon on the taskbar

Change browser settings

Step 1: Open Internet Explorer for the desktop.
Step 2: Tap or click Settings Settings icon in the upper-right corner, tap or click Internet options, and change the settings you want.

For example, to turn off the Pop-up Blocker, tap or click the Privacy tab, and clear the Turn on Pop-up Blocker check box.
If you need help with a setting, tap or click Help ? in the upper-right corner.
Note
If a website you're visiting doesn't look the way you expect it to, you can try using compatibility view. For more info, see Fix site display problems with Compatibility View.

View your browsing history

Step 1: Open Internet Explorer for the desktop.
Step 2: Tap or click Favorites Favorite button, and tap or click the History tab.

Add-ons, Flash, and other multimedia content

Internet Explorer 11 provides an add-on-free experience and will play HTML5 and many Adobe Flash Player videos without needing to install a separate add-on.

  • Add-ons. If you want to use a browser add-on or toolbar, use the desktop version of Internet Explorer. For more info, see Manage add-ons in Internet Explorer.
  • Adobe Flash compatibility. Surface Pro models and Surface 3 support Adobe Flash for many websites. If you can’t view Flash content with the touch-friendly Internet Explorer app, switch to the desktop version of Internet Explorer.
  • Java and Silverlight compatibility. You can install Java or the Silverlight add-on with Internet Explorer for the desktop. For more info, see Install Java in Internet Explorer.
  • Streaming audio in the background. If you want to stream audio from a website while using other apps, you can use the desktop version of Internet Explorer or snap the touch-optimized version of Internet Explorer next to the app that you’re using. For more info, see Use more than one app at a time.

Using Internet Explorer on Surface

Surface RT and Surface 2 come with two versions of Internet Explorer—a touch-friendly version and a desktop version. Both share the same browsing history and settings. Whether you choose to use touch or browse from the desktop, browsing the web has never been easier.

Note
Internet Explorer 11 is included in Windows RT 8.1 update.
Internet Explorer tile on Start screen
Internet Explorer on the Start screen
Internet Explorer icon in taskbar
Internet Explorer on the desktop

Need help connecting Surface to the Internet? See the following pages for more info:

Touch-friendly Internet Explorer (on the Start screen)

Internet Explorer 11 is optimized for touch. Tiles and tabs are oversized for easy tapping and appear only when you need them.

Modern Internet Explorer 11 on Microsoft Surface

Set your default browser

To get the touch-friendly browsing experience, set Internet Explorer as your default browser. If you don’t set Internet Explorer as the default, only the Internet Explorer desktop app will be available on your Surface. Here's how to set your default browser:

Step 1: From the Start screen, enter default programs, and in the search results, tap or click Default Programs.
Step 2: Tap or click Set your default programs > Internet Explorer > Set this program as default > OK.

Browse the web

Step 1: On the Start screen, tap or click Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen (if you’re using a mouse, right-click) to open the address bar.
Tiles for your favorite sites and open tabs appear above the address bar. (Scroll to see all the tiles.)
Step 3: Enter a web address or search term in the address bar, or tap or click a tab or a pinned or favorite website.
Tips

Change browser settings

Step 1: On the Start screen, tap or click Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings > Options, and change the settings you want.

To learn how to change your home page, see Change your home page for Internet Explorer.

Note
Some settings are available only in the desktop version of Internet Explorer. For more info, see Internet Explorer on the desktop below.

Use multiple browsing windows

You can open multiple windows in Internet Explorer and view two windows side by side. To open a new window, press and hold (or right-click) Internet Explorer on the Start screen, and tap or click Open new window.

To view two windows side by side, open one window and drag down from the top edge to the right or left side of the screen. Then, swipe from the left edge to drag the other window in from the left side of the screen.

Navigate with tabs

To open a new tab or switch between tabs, swipe up from the bottom of the screen (if you’re using a mouse, right-click). The Tabs bar appears above the address bar, showing you the open webpages.

  • Tap or click a browser window to switch to that window.
  • Tap or click New tab New tab button to open a new browser tab. Then, enter a web address or search term, or select one of your favorite sites.
  • Tap or click Tab tools Tab tools button to open an InPrivate tab or reopen a tab you’ve recently closed. For info on InPrivate browsing, see Change security and privacy settings for Internet Explorer.

Add sites to your web favorites

You can pin sites to your Start screen or add sites to your browser favorites.

To pin a site to Start:

Step 1: Go to a website you want to pin to Start.
Step 2: Swipe up from the bottom edge (or right-click) to bring up the app commands.
Step 3: Tap or click Favorites Favorite button > Pin site Pin site button > Pin to Start.

To add sites to your browser favorites:

Step 1: Go to a website you want to add.
Step 2: Swipe up from the bottom edge (or right-click) to bring up the app commands, and tap or click Favorites Favorite button to show the favorites bar.
Step 3: Tap or click Add to favorites Add to favorites button > Add.

For more info, see Use favorites to save websites you like.

Your browser favorites and history can be synced across Windows RT and Windows 8.1 PCs if you use a Microsoft account. For more info, see Sync settings between PCs with OneDrive.

You can switch quickly between favorites and tabs by tapping or clicking Favorites Favorite button or Tabs Tabs button in the app commands. Tap or click the down arrow next to Favorites to change how to display your favorite sites. Choose All, Favorites Bar, or Pinned to Start.

Read clutter-free web content

When you’re browsing your favorite online content, look for Reading view Reading view button in the address bar. Reading view clears away the clutter—like ads—so stories are front and center. Tap or click Reading view to open the page in reading view. When you want to get back to browsing, just tap or click Reading view again.

You can customize the reading view, including font style and text size. For more information, see Getting started with Internet Explorer 11.

Internet Explorer on the desktop

You can also browse the web from the desktop on your Surface using the Internet Explorer desktop app.

To start the Internet Explorer desktop app:

Step 1: On the Start screen, tap or click Desktop (or press Windows logo key Windows logo+ D). If you don’t see the Desktop tile on the Start screen, swipe up and tap or click Desktop in the Apps list.
Step 2: Tap or click Internet Explorer on the taskbar.
Internet Explorer icon on the taskbar

Change browser settings

Step 1: Open Internet Explorer for the desktop.
Step 2: Tap or click Settings Settings icon in the upper-right corner, tap or click Internet options, and change the settings you want.

For example, to turn off the Pop-up Blocker, tap or click the Privacy tab, and clear the Turn on Pop-up Blocker check box.
If you need help with a setting, tap or click Help ? in the upper-right corner.
Note
If a website you're visiting doesn't look the way you expect it to, you can try using compatibility view. For more info, see Fix site display problems with Compatibility View.

View your browsing history

Step 1: Open Internet Explorer for the desktop.
Step 2: Tap or click Favorites Favorite button, and tap or click the History tab.

Streaming audio and multimedia content

Internet Explorer 11 provides an add-on-free experience, and will play HTML5 and many Adobe Flash Player videos without needing to install a separate add-on.

If you want to stream audio from a website while using other apps, you can use the desktop version of Internet Explorer or snap the touch-optimized version of Internet Explorer next to the app that you’re using. For more info, see Use more than one app at a time.