Microsoft introduced Edge, a cross-platform internet browser with the launch of Windows 10, back in 2015. At that time, the browser incorporated Microsoft’s proprietary browser engine, EdgeHTML, and could not manage to draw the attention of the masses. A few years later, in 2019, Edge was rebuilt on Chromium: Google’s free and open-source project. Being based on Chromium, it shares a lot of similarities with the likes of Brave, Vivaldi, and Google Chrome. With Internet Explorer slated to bid adieu sometime in 2021, Edge is now set to take over the responsibilities and emerge as the new default browser on Windows 10.

microsoft edge

So, if you are an Edge user or planning to make a switch, here are some Microsoft Edge tips and tricks to help you use the browser efficiently and take advantage of all its features.

Microsoft Edge Tips and Tricks

1. Control tracking

Similar to Firefox and Brave, which allow you to block trackers and keep your online activity private (to a certain degree), Microsoft Edge also allows you to change the privacy settings to your preference. That way, you can prevent trackers from monitoring your online activity and collecting your data. To enable this, click on the three-dot menu in the top-right corner and select Settings. Here, select Privacy, Search, and Services from the left-hand menu. Now, based on your preference, you can select any of the three options among Basic, Balanced, Strict, listed on the right pane.

control tracking

2. Use Immersive Reading mode

Reading mode, for those unaware, is a feature that hides away most of the visual elements from a post, along with ads (in some cases), to allow you to focus only on text. To enter reader mode in Edge, open the article/post you want to read and tap on the book icon (with speaker icon on top) in the address bar. You should now be in the immersive reading mode. To exit, click on the book icon again.

immersive reading mode

Besides, you can also change certain settings per your preference by hovering the mouse cursor over the book icon. For instance, you can change things like text size, page theme, etc. In addition, reader mode also offers a bunch of different functionalities, such as the ability to highlight different parts of the speech, use a picture dictionary, translate text, and last, but not least, the read-aloud functionality that reads out contents of a post.

3. Make browser read out content

Similar to how you can use the immersive reader mode to focus better on reading and avoid distractions, you can also have the browser read out the content of websites for you. Microsoft calls this Read aloud, and essentially what it does is read out the contents on a website. To use the functionality, go to the post you want to be read out and click on the reading mode icon — similar to the previous tip. From here, select Read aloud from the bar right below the address bar. You can also change the readout speed and the readout voice based on your preference. For this, while the browser is reading out the content, click on Voice options, and perform the changes here.

read out content

4. Pin tabs

If there are certain websites that you frequently visit and need them open at all times in your browser, you can pin such tabs to find them easily, and in turn, prevent them from accidentally closing. Moreover, doing so also saves some tab space, which allows you to have more tabs open at once. And it also keeps the tab open even after you restart the browser. To pin a tab, right-click on it and select Pin tab.

5. Use Google Chrome extensions

The Chrome Web Store is home to various tools and extensions that help make the browsing experience better and simplify a lot of operations. Similar to Chrome, where you can install extensions and use them to get things done, Microsoft Edge also provides an option to allow you to run Chrome extensions on it. For this, you need to tap the three horizontal buttons and go to Extensions. Here, on the left-hand pane, toggle the button next to Allow extensions from other stores. In the confirmation window, select Allow. Once done, you can visit the Chrome Web Store and find the extensions you need.

google chrome extensions

6. Change default search engine

By default, the Edge browser uses the Bing search engine for all the searches. For those unaware, Bing is owned by Microsoft, and going by its market share, the browser has managed to capture only 2.44% as opposed to Google, which sits at 92.54%, for the year 2020. If you are used to Google as your default search engine, or you use something that offers slightly improved privacy, like DuckDuckGo, you can change the search engine on Edge to your preferred search engine of choice. To do this, go to Settings and select Privacy, search, and services from the left pane. Scroll down to the Services section, and from here, click on the Address bar and search. Now, tap on the dropdown button next to Search engine used in the address bar, and choose the one from the list. If not present, click on the Manage search engines button and add an engine.

7. Use caret browsing

Originally meant for use with text editors, the caret browsing mode on web browsers is a nifty feature for those who like to navigate using their keyboard. It employs caret (|) to highlight selections and help users navigate around a webpage. To use the feature, press the F7 key, and in the pop-up, choose Turn on. Once activated, you can then use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move through the page.

8. Use Collections to group items

Collections was recently introduced on Edge, and just as it sounds, the feature allows you to group together things like webpages, notes, images, snippets, and more, to view later. Basically, it is like a bookmark manager, except that it offers more functionality. The feature can come in handy at times when you are carrying out research or studying some topic. You can create new Collections or add items to existing ones. To create a Collection, click on the Collections icon. Once done, give it a name and add content. And next time, when you find something interesting and relevant, you can add the same to the Collection.


9. Switch themes

Microsoft Edge changes the theme based on system default. So depending on whether you have a light or a dark theme running, the browser changes accordingly. However, if you want to set a particular theme on the browser that is not affected by the system default, you do get an option to explicitly set a theme. For this, go to Settings and select Appearance from the left pane. On the right, click on the dropdown menu next to Default theme and select the theme you want. Aside from system default, you get light and dark theme options.

switch themes

10. Import favorites and bookmarks from other browsers

If you have been using some other web browser all this time and are thinking of switching to Edge, you would certainly want access to all your favorites and bookmarks from your old browser on Edge. Luckily, Edge allows you to import these items from your old browser. To do this, click on the three-dot menu and select Settings. On the Settings page, select Profiles from the left menu and click on Import browser data on the right pane. Here, you need to select the browser you want to import data from and tick the checkboxes next to the data you want to import. Once done, click on the Import button to start importing data.

import favorites and bookmarks

11. Web capture

Web capture is one of the latest additions to the Edge browser. It allows you to capture a screenshot of a webpage and add notes to the same. And you can then either share it with people or save it on your computer. To use web capture, click on the three-dot menu and select Web capture. Once done, you get a snipping tool, using which you can capture a screenshot and subsequently add notes to it, share it, and save it on your computer.

12. Use Sidebar search

If you have used a Mac, you would know that, with Safari, you get a Search with Google option that allows you to select text in a post and perform a quick Google search. The idea behind the feature is to make it easier to quickly search for things, rather than having to type them in or copy-paste them in a new tab. And in turn, save some time. On Edge, Microsoft has similar functionality, except that it does not open a new tab, and instead shows results in a sidebar. And that it only works with Bing set as the default search engine. To use sidebar search, select text, right-click on it, and choose Search in sidebar for… Alternatively, you can also select the text and use the Ctrl + Shift + E shortcut to perform a sidebar search.

sidebar search

13. Nifty keyboard shortcuts

Similar to any other web browser or software, Microsoft Edge also incorporates shortcuts to help you perform actions quickly and save a few clicks. If you are someone who prefers using shortcuts, here are some of the essential Edge shortcuts that can come in handy.

  • Save the current tab as favorite: Ctrl + D | command + D
  • Open Downloads in a new tab: Ctrl + J | command + J
  • Open a search query in the address bar: Ctrl + K | command + K
  • Duplicate the current tab: Ctrl + Shift + K | command + shift + K
  • Select the URL in the address bar to edit: Ctrl + L | command + L
  • Mute the current tab (toggle): Ctrl + M | command + M
  • Open a new window: Ctrl + N | command + N
  • Open a new InPrivate window: Ctrl + O | command + O
  • Reload the current page: Ctrl + R | command + R
  • Save the current page: Ctrl + S | command + S

You can learn more Edge shortcuts here.

The above-mentioned are some of the best Microsoft Edge tips and tricks to help you get accustomed to all the different features and functionalities that the browser offers. If you are already an Edge user or are just getting started, you can use these tips to use the browser more effectively (and efficiently) and get more out of it.

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