What Is Internet Explorer Compatibility View?

Compatibility view has mostly outlived its original purpose

With Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft introduced a compatibility view feature intended to help users deal with issues that occurred with older webpages. Clicking the compatibility view button made websites that were created for older browsers, especially Internet Explorer 6 and 7, look better in IE 8. 

Microsoft created the compatibility view for Internet Explorer 8 to give web designers time to convert their pages from the nonstandard techniques used in IE 6 and IE 7 to a more web-standard compliant version.

In IE 11, which ships with Windows 10, Microsoft removed the compatibility view button from the interface, because the company felt it had outlived its purpose. It has been years since Microsoft introduced X-UA-Compatible tags, which are used by developers to indicate compatibility and not leave it to the viewer to push a button.

However, the feature remains in IE 11. You just have to know where to look for it.

How to Turn on Compatibility View in IE 11

If you run into a noncompliant website, you can turn on compatibility view in IE 11.

  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. Click on the Settings icon in the top right corner of IE 11.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Compatibility View Settings to open a dialog box.
  4. Place a check mark in the box next to Use Microsoft compatibility lists to enable the compatibility view feature. Removing the check mark disables the feature.
  5. If you anticipate returning to the troublesome site frequently, add the URL to the list under Websites you've added to Compatibility View, which forces the website to always open in compatibility view.
  1. Click Close.

As time passes, you should encounter fewer and fewer noncompliant websites. Microsoft strongly encourages web developers to update their server configurations to add X-UA-Compatible meta tags.