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Microsoft touts touch in Internet Explorer 11

Available in the Windows 8.1 Preview, the latest version of IE offers more benefits for touch-enabled devices.

In IE 11, you can drag and drop items with your finger at certain Web sites.
In IE 11, you can drag and drop items with your finger at certain Web sites. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Windows 8.1 users will find it easier to touch their way around the Web courtesy of some enhancements in Internet Explorer 11.

In a blog post published late Wednesday, Microsoft promoted several of the new touch-friendly features found in IE11, the default browser installed in the Windows 8.1 Preview.

As always, tapping on a link opens it. But in IE11, holding your finger down on a link triggers the hover command, which conjures up the command bar at the bottom of the screen. From the bar, you can quickly open the link in a new tab, open it in a new window, or copy the link. Further, when you tap or hold down a link, IE11 highlights the entire link so you can see the full linked word, phrase, or other item.

Internet Explorer11 also reduces your travel time between different Web pages. As you swipe your way from one page to the next, the new browser suspends and caches the previous page to memory. As a result, that previous page loads faster when you swipe your way back to it.

With IE11, you can also move items on a Web page via touch, at least on sites that support it. As one example, a Magnetic Poetry Test Drive page set up by Microsoft lets you move virtual magnets on a screen just by dragging and dropping them with your finger.

Other touch-friendly features have been built into Internet Explorer 11. The final version of the browser is likely to add a few more surprises when Windows 8.1 officially launches sometime after the summer.