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Internet Explorer

The default browser in Windows. Effectively a branch of web clients that include support for specific rich functionality.

Basic compatibility mode

The state of the client compatibility behaviour is indicated by the presence (or lack) of a broken page icon in the address bar. Clicking on this changes the mode.


Standards mode

Treat page content as standards compliant -ie. the way Firefox does.


Compatibility mode

Treat the page as if it was made for IE5.

Where there is no broken page icon, the web page itself has determined the appropriate behaviour by providing a header or meta directive.

 

Modes

IE=IE5

Behaves like IE7 using quirksmode.

IE=IE7

Force standards mode.

IE=EmulateIE7

Check DOCTYPE, honour this, revert to IE5 mode where the directive is not supported.

IE=IE8

Force “standards mode” (supports CSS2.1).

IE=EmulateIE8

Check DOCTYPE, honour this, revert to IE5 mode where the directive is not supported.

IE=IE9

Force standards mode (supports CSS3, HTML5, SVG, etc).

IE=EmulateIE9

Check DOCTYPE, honour this, revert to IE5 mode where the directive is not supported.

IE=Edge

Use the highest mode available (ie. whatever the client is capable of, eg. IE10+)

Telling the client what to do

You can include an HTTP header in your HTML

<head>
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=Edge" >
<title>My HTML document</title>
..
</head>

Or set the same using the CGI/scripting environment you use to generate web documents, eg. in PHP

header("X-UA-Compatible:IE=EmulateIE7");

Or, you could configure this same HTTP header on the server instance you are using (in which case all documents will be treated the same way by Internet Explorer.

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