This mini-tutorial explains how to use RSS Feeds in Internet Explorer. You have probably already noticed those little orange rss buttons on several websites when surfing the internet, like on the top right of this page.
Those RSS icons indicate that the web page which you are currently visiting offers the possibility to subscribe to an rss feed. In order to subscribe to an rss feed, you will need an rss reader.
If you are using Windows Vista, you already have rss reader functionality aboard, because Windows Vista comes with RSS capabilities out of the box. But even if you are a Windows XP user with Internet Explorer 7, you are fully equipped with RSS reader functionality.
When you subscribe to an rss feed, your rss reader will automatically notify you whenever an update is published, without you having to check that particular website every day.
There are several free rss reader software packages available, but I don't really recommend that you download and install them. Every new piece of software that you install on your machine will possibly slow down your computer and even if you decide to un-install it afterwards, there will most always be small traces of it left in the Windows Registry. In order to keep your computer running as smoothly as possible, we don't recommend installing every piece of software that crosses your path.
Especially since you have other options, without the need to install additional software. You can for instance make use of a number of web-based RSS readers, like the ones I discuss in this RSS Feed article.
Or you can use the built-in RSS capabilities of Internet Explorer 7. Please read on to learn more about RSS Feeds in Internet Explorer.
Whenever you point Internet Explorer 7 to a web page that publishes an RSS feed, it will tell you that there's an RSS feed present by highlighting the little RSS icon in the toolbar. The RSS icon that is indicated in the image below will remain inactive (greyed-out) if there's no RSS feed available on a particular page.
Just click the down arrow next to the RSS icon in *your* Internet Explorer toolbar (not in the image above) to see what RSS Feeds are available on a particular page. If you then click on the RSS Feed, Internet Explorer will *not* take you to a website, but rather to the RSS feed of the page that you were reading. You will then be able to subscribe to that feed. Let's look at the example of our own RSS feed on this page:
Once you click the "subscribe to this feed" link, your Internet Explorer will automatically keep track of all the updates that are published through this news feed. This is an excellent way to keep up with the new Windows Tips and Tricks that are published here, but there are also many other sites that publish their newest updates by means of an rss feed. Some examples include BBC News, CNN, stock exchange sites, weather channels or flight information websites.
You might also notice an information box like below on the RSS feed page:
It shows the number of items that are posted on the RSS Feed, along with the number of items displayed. The little blue triangle next to "Date" allows you to sort the posts chronologically, with the newest ones on top. When you click the "Date" link again, the posts will show up in reverse order and the "Title" Link allows you to sort the items alphabetically per title. The text entry field allows you to type in a search phrase so that you can quickly search for a specific keyword in the published posts.
Once you have a number of RSS feeds in Internet Explorer, it's easy to quickly go there and have an overview of all the latest updates that are published.
Simply click on the Favorites icon in your Internet Explorer toolbar, make sure to select the "feeds" section and there you have it: your overview of your subscribed RSS Feeds.
The screenshot above shows our own Windows Help Central RSS feed, along with two RSS feeds from Sitesell, our friendly web host.
If you are a Mozilla Firefox user, you have similar possibilities for subscribing to RSS Feeds, but the steps are slightly different. Whenever you are reading a webpage with an RSS Feed, you will notice it in Firefox by the orange RSS icon next to the web address in the address bar:
Clicking that icon will take you to the RSS feed of the page where you will be able to subscribe to the feed.