How to use Microsoft Edge browser features

Microsoft Edge is going to be a modern browser, with standard support, seamless experience, faster speeds, and unique features like a personal assistant and annotation of web pages. Here is an overview of the many things possible with the browser.

With the official Windows 10 launch less than a month away, users will be curious about the features and functions the new browser with the platform will offer. Microsoft Edge has been officially renamed from the code name Project Spartan, and while it is by no means complete yet - as Windows 10 Insider Preview members will be aware - many of its capabilities have become clear. Internet Explorer 11 will still ship with the platform for backwards compatibility, but there will be almost no updates to it. Instead, you should prepare yourself to embrace the brand new, seamless experience that Edge is promising its users.

Here is an overview of how to do things with Edge.


It is clear that the developers of Windows 10 are trying to offer users the convenience of having everything in one place. Just as you can search the web and your PC right from the search bar on your Windows taskbar, you can use the address bar on your browser to search for anything under the sun. The browser will then offer search suggestions, results from your browsing history, favorites as well as the web right then and there.

You can also carry out searches from the New Tab search box, change search engines from the Settings area and never have to go to a website to search for pictures of cats or your favorite celebrity again!
Microsoft Edge Logo

Accessing all your activity from the Hub

The Hub is another addition to Edge that puts all your activity on the web in one place. This is where you will find your Favorites, your Reading List, History and Downloads for quick access. You can pin this toolbar to the screen so that it shows up every time you open your browser. Your Hub also lets you quickly access the 'Clear all history' option and open the folder where your downloads are saved, by default.
The Hub on Microsoft Edge

Annotating Web Pages

The "Make a Web Note" icon next to the Hub icon will let you take notes, doodle from, write little post-it style notes on, highlight and clip from the pages you browse. Whether you want to collaborate on a new project with colleagues, share notes on the screen with fellow students or recipes with fellow chefs, this tool is a useful addition that you won't find on any other popular and stable browser today.
Annotating Web Pages on Edge

Using Browser Extensions with Edge

Chrome and Firefox have so far won over IE in terms of the range of extensions that they allow you to add to your browser. Even Internet Explorer did have some ability to support extensions with the help of WebSlices, toolbars and Accelerators. But Edge is going to take a huge leap in the direction of adding support for extensions. Edge developers will use HTML standard code and JavaScript, the same codes that are used on Firefox and Chrome. This means that the extensions that work on those two browsers can also be developed for use with Edge, with very little additional coding required. Unlike Internet Explorer in the past, you will now be able to vote on your favorite stories, share pages on Pinterest and much more from Edge.

There will also be a major change in supported add-ons from IE to Edge. ActiveX and BHO technologies will no longer be supported. These are ancient technologies that have been around in browsers since the 1990s. They also have security issues, which mean the nixing of these technologies in Edge is a good thing for users. JavaScript and HTML5 technologies are the newest standards, and that is what Edge will use to keep up with the fast-changing industry. This will also mean better cross-platform performance for apps - you will now be able to Skype straight from your browser, for instance.

Note that the new extensions will only be available after the Windows 10 has been released, and there has been no official date announced for their launch yet.

Using Cortana the Personal Assistant

Cortana, the powerful desktop voice assistant that Windows 10 will include to help you find things and navigate around the platform, is also present on the Edge browser. She has her own icon - an animated blue circle - and a personality. Whenever you are on a web page where you need directions, for instance, Cortana will pop up in your browser toolbar and offer you relevant information that you may find useful. If you are looking for more information on a particular topic on your screen, you can also highlight that, right click and "Ask Cortana" for more information.

Note that as of now for those using the Windows 10 Insider Preview and the Egge browser on it, Cortana is only limited to users in the United Kingdom, United States, France, China, Germany, Italy and Spain. Eventually, of course, it is promised to every market for Windows 10.

Using the Reading View

The Reading View is not new among browsers. This mode lets you read the page on your browser free of any distracting menus, advertisements, social media widgets and other elements that you don't need to read the main article. Firefox has offered its users this convenience for a while, and Chrome lets you add an extension for a reader mode. Some browsers need you to enable the mode to be able to actually use it.
The reading view on Microsoft Edge
With Microsoft Edge, the Reading View is just a click away. As of the browser update 15.10130.0.0 for the Windows 10 Insider preview, you will find the Reading View icon (an open book) right next to the address bar at the top of your page.

You can also use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+R to toggle between this mode and the original full view of the web page you are browsing. There is no need for add-ons or enabling of the feature.

Overall, Edge promises faster speeds, more standard extensions and support, and some unique features like the integration of Cortana and page annotation. In addition, it promises to offer support for Dolby Audio experience, cutting edge 3D graphics on the web with WebGL technology so that you can play Flight Simulator, zoom over the Everest (pictured above) and enjoy a more seamless experience on your browser. If you have not already signed up for Windows 10 - and Microsoft Edge – to be a part of this modern browser, then now is a good time to do so!

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer publishing with Constant Content and sister sites of Techulator. She writes on a variety of subjects that interest her. She is a voracious reader and that helps her keep abreast with the latest in technology. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Eng. Lit, is a mom, a wife, a homemaker and a qualified teacher.

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