You just got your new Windows 10 powered laptop, and now you are looking for some Web Browser to install, courtesy to all those evergreen Internet explorer memes. Right?
Just stop right there because now you no longer have to painfully open the Internet Explorer to download Google Chrome or the web browser of your choice. The new default chromium-based Microsoft Edge shipped with Windows 10 is surprisingly good for everything you do on the web. Since its debut, the new Microsoft Edge is continuously growing and evolving with features making it a perfect replacement to your current favorite browser.
As someone primarily using Google Chrome for as long as I remember, making a permanent shift to the new Microsoft Edge was so seamless that I don’t think that I would ever go back to Chrome again. Started as a barebone chromium-based browser, Microsoft Edge has come a long way with its performance and features. And that is the reason why Microsoft Edge is continuously gaining users and outpacing other browsers.
So without further ado, let us see all the new Microsoft Edge feature that makes it an incredible web browser.
Top 10 New Microsoft Edge Features:
1. Manage your tabs sideways using Vertical Tabs
The way traditional horizontal tabs layout works can sometimes make it challenging to manage tabs. While researching for a piece of content, I usually forget the count of tabs opened inside the browser and then finding the correct tab from all those colorful favicons. Ugh, let’s forget about that.
Recently, Microsoft released a new way to handle tabs on the Edge Browser, where you can move all the tabs from the top to the left side of your browser. Enabling vertical tabs will show you a new bar on the side pane of your browser with all the tabs and a quick switch to toggle between vertical and horizontal tabs. Hover over the vertical tab-pane to expand and see what each tab is, or pin the expanded view permanently so that your tabs will never get out of your sight. Users with wide displays can take full advantage of this feature.
If you are running the latest version of the Microsoft Edge, you will find a new vertical tab switch icon to switch between tab styles. In case it is not visible, you can enable it from the Settings >> Appearance, and there toggle the switch which says ‘Vertical tabs buttons‘ under the ‘Customize Toolbar‘ section.
2. Organize your ideas with Collections
Think of Collections as your web basket, where you can save and organize everything you found on the web. Let’s say you loved a quote from an online article, highlight it and add it to your ‘Quotes collection.’ On a shopping spree? Add all those products from different online stores in your ‘Shopping list‘ collection. Collections support various formats; you can save links, web pages, images, text, or even a quick note. Plus, everything you save as a Collection you can access across synced devices. Collections is one Microsoft Edge feature that makes it stand out of the rest of the browsers.
Adding something to collections is as simple as right-clicking on the item, text, or web page and then choose ‘Add to collection‘ from the context menu to save it in the Collection of your choice. Or open the Collections pane by pressing the ‘Ctrl + Shift + Y‘ key combination and then drag-n-drop the item directly on the Collection of your choice. You can create as many Collection and add as many things in those collections.
3. Capture, annotate and share web using Web Capture.
Found something great on the web or want to share a screengrab of a website with your team with annotations for feedback or save the whole web page for offline use. Typically, in this case, you’ll probably be looking for a browser plugin/extension that will do the job for you.
But if you are using the Edge browser, you can use its Web Capture feature to capture, annotate and share web directly from the browser window. Microsoft Edge has its web screenshot tool that you can access through the ‘Camera‘ icon on the toolbar. You can either capture a section of the webpage using the ‘Free Select‘ option or capture the whole web page as it is and save it as a JPEG file on your computer. Web capture lets you annotate over the captured screengrab and copy it to your clipboard for easy sharing.
4. Immersive Reading Mode for a minimal reading experience
The web is intrusive, and reading requires focus. Microsoft Edge offers a capable immersive reading mode so that your whole focus while reading an article is on the words. It removes all the visual clutter like ads and other elements on the webpage, giving you a clean UI with just the text and article images.
Accessing reading mode is as simple as pressing the ‘F9‘ key on your keyboard. The whole web page will reload itself in the reading mode with your default reading mode settings. Edge Browser’s Reading mode offers a variety of settings to enhance your reading experience. You can change themes, text size, enable grammatical enhancements, etc., to suit your reading preference. And there is a ‘Read aloud‘ mode for those who trust their ear more than their eyes.
5. Access your browser history without leaving the current tab
Accessing history on most of the browsers is a mess. Every time you want to see your browsing history to look for the website you have visited. Your browser will open your browsing history in a new tab, which isn’t getting any points in terms of productivity.
Microsoft Edge solves this problem by letting you access your browser’s history, right from the toolbar, without leaving your current tab. You have to press the ‘Ctrl + H‘ to open the browsing history view from the taskbar; look for the website you want to reopen inside the current tab. (Or left click with Ctrl key pressed to open it in a new tab) And if you wish the browser history to always stay under your watch, you can permanently pin it to the side for easy access. History view shows all your browsing data from your current device and other devices such as your smartphone. You’ll need to have Edge for Android installed with the sync option enabled.
Similarly, you can access your download history without leaving your browser’s current tab from the toolbar. If you can’t see the download button on the toolbar, go to ‘Settings and more‘ by clicking on the three-dot menu, look for ‘Downloads‘, right-click on it and then click on ‘Show in toolbar‘. You can access your download via the quick shortcut, ‘Ctrl + J‘.
6. Simple yet Advance Privacy Control; Say ‘No’ to targeted ads.
No wonder all websites use trackers to track their users to show targeted ads or personalized suggestions. And as a privacy-freak myself, seeing all ads about the product I recently Googled is sometimes annoying. In contrast, you may want to switch to a privacy-focused web browser just for this reason alone. Microsoft Edge’s built-in advanced privacy control is more than enough to make you stick to this browser.
Edge browser’s privacy control is as easy as turning a switch and then let it do its thing with no bells and whistles. You will get three levels of Tracking protection. You have to choose the one that fits your need. ‘Balanced‘ level will work fine for most of us, but if you want to level up, ‘Strict‘ should be your choice. ‘Strick‘ will block all sorts of trackers from the websites you visit, giving you ultimate control over your privacy. You can also see the list of sites that have been blocked from tracking you.
You can enable these controls inside Settings >> Privacy, Search, and Services, then toggle on the ‘Tracking prevention‘ switch and lastly, choose your level tracking prevention.
7. Improved Copy and Paste of URLs
Generally, when you copy and paste a link, it gets pasted as a hyperlink of the copied web address. Now there is nothing wrong with that, but when you are sharing a long link, it gets messy, or if you are writing a long thesis citing sources with the links, you need to make sure they are clear to the reader. In that case, you will have to manually edit the hyperlinked text to make it short yet significant. So the reader can understand what the link is about.
With the new copy/paste formatting feature of the Microsoft Edge browser, you don’t have to manually redo all the hyperlinked text. Whenever you paste a copied link, it will be pasted as a hyperlinked title instead of the web URL. Microsoft is achieving this by reloading the copied link in the background to get its title. However, some websites/web apps might override this new enhanced URL formatting and use text default URL format.
You can enable the enhanced URL formatting inside Edge browser’s settings, go to Settings >> Share, Copy, and Paste, select the ‘Link’ card and then toggle on the ‘Use the format selected above when copying links within web pages‘ option right below the card. Now all your copied links will use the enhanced URL formatting.
8. Family Safety Features to keep track of your family.
With the new Microsoft Edge Browser, Microsoft is trying its best to make the internet a safe and fun place for kids and everyone around you. With yet another safety oriented Microsoft Edge feature, you can now create a safer environment for everyone in the family when they browse the internet by creating content filters and manage the screen time of content they view on the web.
To use this feature, you will first need to create a family group and add members using their Microsoft accounts. After that, you can manage your family member by setting screen time limits, block inappropriate content and even get their internet activity reports to give them a safer environment to browse the web.
9. Save some RAM using Sleeping Tabs.
While I was on Google Chrome, I was using ‘The Great Suspender Chrome Extension’ for reclaiming the RAM space used by tons of browser tabs even if you aren’t working on them. This particular Browser extension kills those inactive tabs for saving some resources on your computer.
Microsoft implemented a similar feature called ‘Sleeping Tabs‘ inside Edge Browser that does the same thing. When you enable the Sleeping Tabs option, your tabs will automatically go to sleep after a certain period of inactivity. Inactive tabs will take fewer resources compared to their active counterpart, and as soon as you switch to an inactive tab, it will automatically become active.
Enabling ‘Sleeping Tabs‘ is simple; you need to go to Setting >> System and turn on the toggle that says ‘Save resources with sleeping tabs‘ under the ‘Save Resources‘ section.
10. Startup Boost.
Startup Boost is a new feature introduced recently inside the Microsoft Edge Browser. It aims to reduce the browser’s startup time by keeping its process running in the background. So the next time you want to open the Edge browser, it will be significantly faster. If your workflow forces you to access the browser frequently, enabling the Startup Boost feature will be beneficial over keeping the browser instances open all the time. Because keeping the browser opened will take significantly more RAM than its process.
You can enable the ‘Startup Boost‘ feature by going into Settings >> System and click on the toggle next to ‘Startup Boost‘ settings. Enabling this feature will reserve a minimal amount of RAM for the Edge Browser’s process.
Wrapping up: Is Microsoft Edge a good Chrome replacement?
Microsoft Edge has come a long way from the much-hated HTML Edge to one of the fastest-growing browsers, second to the popular Google Chrome. After switching to chromium base, Microsoft Edge browser has seen a significant improvement in performance, with equally good compatibility with Windows 10. And with all these feature that Microsoft Edge offers, I am certainly not looking back at any other browser any soon.
It’s been a year since I have shifted my entire workflow from Google Chrome to Microsoft Edge. And I still can’t find a reason to move back to the Chrome browser. Taking all that in mind and the good things that Microsoft Edge offers over Chrome, it makes it an easy recommendation for anyone who is tired of Chrome’s RAM hunger and wants an equally good browser with lesser RAM consumption.
What Edge Browser feature do you like the most? Do let us know down in the comment section.