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About Browser Extensions

Browser extensions allow developers to provide easy access to their browser enhancements by adding elements (like an Explorer Bar) to the default user interface. Introduced in Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, this feature enables developers to create Explorer Bars and add entries into the standard context menus. Beginning with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, this feature allows developers to add entries into the Tools menu and buttons to the toolbar.

  • Benefits
  • Scenarios
  • Related Topics
    • Overviews
    • Tutorials
    • Examples


So what are the benefits of utilizing browser extensions? Internet Explorer 4.0 allowed developers to create Explorer Bars (also known as Browser Bands and Communication Bands) and add entries to the standard context menus. Beginning with Internet Explorer 5, browser extensions allow developers to provide access to Microsoft Win32; applications, scripts, and Explorer Bars directly from the Windows Internet Explorer user interface. Access can be provided from:

  • Menu items in the Tools menu
  • Toolbar buttons

These additions are enhancements to the existing user interface, so there will be no negative effect on the end-user's experience.


Let's say you've implemented an Explorer Bar that displays financial information (like a stock ticker or currency exchange rates) that you want to provide for your customers. Instead of having access to your Explorer Bar buried in a menu, you can add a toolbar button directly to the Internet Explorer user interface. Now all your customers have to do is click the button and your Explorer Bar will display.

The following list contains links to topics related to using browser extensions.