Cross browser testing with Adobe Browser Lab

Posted by & filed under Quick tips.

Cross browser testing is one the realities of creating web sites & web applications and it’s one of those things that can be a bit of a headache from time to time.

My setup here is pretty standard. I have a newish iMac for my day to day work as well as a Windows laptop. On the mac I run Firefox and Safari while on the laptop I have IE6, IE7 & IE8. That covers me pretty well for the majority of browsers but sometimes I’m working off site, my laptop is playing up or I need to show a client how something looks in IE6 vs Firefox 3 … enter Adobe Browser Lab.

List of browsers from Adobe Browser Lab (Nov 28th 2009)

List of browsers available in Adobe Browser Lab (Nov 28th 2009)

Adobe Browser Lab is a web based service that essentially allows you to enter a URL which it then takes a screen capture of in many different browsers. It’s quite fast, it’s extremely handy and, for the time being at least, it’s free.

You can do side by side comparisons of the screen shots as well as overlaying one screen shot on top of another and adjusting transparency between the two to see any differences.

Of course it does have some limitations. You can’t interact with the content which means that you cant check things like hover states or expand containers or tabs etc. But for the most part it’s still a useful service and it has certainly helped me out a few times.

Like right now in fact as I have just remembered I never bothered to test this site in IE and Browser Lab has shown me that it has some rather bad layout issues. I best get onto that 🙂


  1. Michael

    Markos, just curios, how do you set up multiple versions of IE on a PC? Does microsoft make available different versions for download???

    I run a mac and browserlab, but the lack of hover state support is really getting on my nerves.

  2. Markos

    Hi Michael,

    There are some applications that will try to do this. One that I’ve tried with limited success is called ‘MultipleIEs’. But that said, it doesn’t appear to be overly reliable and for some reason I couldn’t fill in any forms with it in IE6 mode.

    Probably the best way to go is to run a few virtual machines using something like VMware. That will allow you to set up a dedicated machine with IE6, another with 7 and another with 8.


  3. hari

    hi i would like to know how to get screen shot in adobe browser lab.can any body explain me please…..

  4. Markos

    Hi Hari,

    It’s been a little while since I’ve looked at browser lab but, if it doesn’t have the option to download screenshots, then you can just use a program like ‘Snap-n-Drag’ (Mac) or ‘The Snipping Tool’ (Windows 7) to take a snapshot of the portion of the screen you need.


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