October 20, 2002

Useful IE 6 Meta Tags

One of my clients recently complained about Win IE 6's distracting image toolbar and reminded me of a tip from Microsoft's Highlights of Internet Explorer 6. In among the new feature coverage, this developer note explains how to suppress the image toolbar and also how to enforce old-style Win form elements and scroll bars if the newer XP interface look upsets your page design.

Quoted from Highlights of Internet Explorer 6: What's New For Developers:

  • Image toolbar (the image toolbar automatically pops up when mousing over graphics)
  • As a content developer, you can disable the image toolbar, so that it does not appear when end users move the pointer over images in your pages. This provides you with more control over the end-user experience on your site. As with previous versions of Internet Explorer, end users can still right-click images to save or print them, as well as send them through e-mail. The image toolbar can be disabled either through a meta tag,

    <META HTTP-EQUIV="imagetoolbar" CONTENT="no">

    or by setting the attribute GALLERYIMG="no" to an IMG tag element.
  • Windows XP user interface support
  • When running on Windows XP, Internet Explorer 6 and the content displayed in it sports a look and feel that matches the Windows XP platform. You can opt to have your HTML content not take on the same look as the operating system for elements such as buttons and scroll bars, by adding the following META tag:

    <META HTTP-EQUIV="MSThemeCompatible" Content="No">

    I've noticed that not all images trigger the image toolbar. I haven't taken time to figure out the algorithm IE uses to determine for which image it would be appropriate to issue the toolbar, but a casual examination suggests that animated gifs and images with alt-tags are ignored, however not all jpegs trigger the toolbar—perhaps size and aspect ratio are also considered?

    Posted by Lewis Francis at October 20, 2002 11:45 AM
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