Microsoft has started rolling out a new sidebar on its Edge browser that provides quick access to Bing, Outlook.com emails, or games (via Windows Central). The feature wasn’t available when Microsoft Edge version 104 started rolling out earlier this month, but the company has since detailed it in the release notes for an Edge update released on August 19.
“The Microsoft Edge sidebar lets users access Microsoft Edge features side-by-side with their browsing window. Available features include Discover, Bing search, Outlook, Office, Games, and Tools such as a unit converter and Internet speed test,” Microsoft explained in the release notes.
According to Microsoft, this new Edge sidebar is a “controlled feature rollout,” so you may not see it yet on your PC. If you’re like me, though, you may notice it right after creating a new Edge profile.
You can customize the Edge sidebar by hiding the categories you don’t want to see such as ‘Games’ or ‘Discover’. The latter is supposed to display content that’s relevant to the page you’re browsing, though it didn’t work for me when I tried it.
Among all these tabs, the Tools tab (seen above) is probably the most useful one. It includes a calculator, a dictionary, a word translator, a world clock, as well as a tool to measure your Internet speed.
The Office tab displays shortcuts to the Office web apps as well as a list of your most recent documents. The Outlook tab also lets you check your Outlook.com emails in the sidebar, though it’s probably a bit too narrow to be really comfortable.
Rest assured that you can hide this sidebar in Microsoft Edge anytime you want. Administrators can also disable the feature using a specific policy, but they can also hide select categories such as Gaming, Outlook, or Office. Anyway, if you don’t like bloat in your web browser, you’re probably going to find little use for this new sidebar.