IE 4.5 upgrades version for Mac

Microsoft to roll out 4.5 version for Mac IE users at Macworld Expo next month.

Microsoft will take advantage of next month's Macworld Expo in San Francisco to roll out a new version of Internet Explorer for the Mac, according to sources. The company said Internet Explorer 4.5 will add numerous Mac-only ease-of-use features but will not incorporate any additional support of Web standards such as XML and DOM.

"Standards support is important to a smaller subset of customers," said Jodi Ropert, group product manager for Microsoft's Macintosh business unit. "There are more universal needs from a performance and ease-of-use perspective." The company said a future version of the browser, planned for next summer, will feature enhanced support for Web standards.

Internet Explorer 4.5 will bring a new Print Preview feature that lets users view what a printed page will look like and offers controls for changing headers and footer, fitting a Web page to one printed page and shrinking extra-wide Web pages for printing. In addition, Explorer 4.5 will not place page breaks in the middle of images or text, and it will automatically print pages with dark backgrounds as white with black text. Microsoft said uses can override this feature to allow background printing.

Sherlock, the new search tool included in Mac OS 8.5, will be integrated into the new version of Explorer. A button in the top-right corner of the browser interface will bring Sherlock to the foreground; the search engine will be able to summarize Web pages and find similar sites on the Web.

Also new in Version 4.5 is the drag-and-drop installation technology the company introduced in Office 98 for the Mac. The feature lets users drag the application installer into the appropriate folder on their hard drive; the software will install itself the first time it is launched. In addition, a compressed file buried on a user's hard drive during installation will automatically repair the browser.

Internet Explorer 4.5 will pack a new Page Holder tab on the software's Explorer Bar. Modeled after the Search tab, the Page Holder works as a clipboard where users can drag sites with a multitude of links, such as news sites. The feature will save users from having to use the browser's Back button to return to that site in order to access another link, the company said.

Finally, an AutoFill feature will populate Web-based forms with information contained in Explorer's preferences. Microsoft said this is different from the AutoComplete technology included in the Mac OS and Windows versions of the browser; that feature automatically completes any field, including the navigation field, with words stored in the preferences file.