Living on the (New) Edge: Experiment with Flags

Posted on April 15, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Edge, Windows 10 with 4 Comments

Like Google Chrome, the new Edge provides a Flags interface that lets you use experimental new features before they’re ready.

And while this kind of thing is generally useful, it is particularly useful now, given the incomplete nature of the new Edge at this early stage. I first noted the Edge Flags interface, which can be found by navigating to edge://flags, in Living on the (New) Edge: Getting Started. Here, I’d like to expand on that information with a short list of useful flags that I’ve found.

To be clear, it is likely, if not certain, that most of the flags I list below will be formally added as features to the new Edge and will provide a native user interface for using or enabling them. But for now, this list may be of use to those transitioning early who miss key features.

Note, too, that the full list of Edge flags is incredibly long, and many come directly from Chromium and have no bearing, necessarily, on what to expect in the new Edge. Likewise, many Flags currently don’t work or don’t work as expected. (For example, I don’t see a difference when I enable the Desktop PWAs flag.)

Here are a few useful Edge flags to try.

Dark mode. If you’re using Windows 10’s Dark mode (really called Dark app mode), you’ll want to enable the Microsoft Edge theme flag, which will automatically style the browser like the OS.

Fluent controls. Microsoft is working to add its Fluent design language styling to the new Edge, but the Fluent Controls flag will ensure that this style also applies to controls in HTML form elements. Microsoft says that these controls “improve touch and keyboard accessibility.”

Focus Mode. The Focus Mode flag enables a “Focus this tab” option that’s available when you right-click a tab. What you get, essentially, is the current tab in a plain window without any of the normal browser user interfaces. (And not a full-screen “focus mode” display as you might expect. If you want that, try F11.)

Smooth scrolling. Fans of classic Edge will want to enable the Smooth Scrolling flag, which makes the new Edge behave more like their favorite web browser when scrolling.

Overlay scrollbars. This one is a bit touchy at the moment, but the Overlay Scrollbars and Flash Overlay Scrollbars When Mouse Enter flags change the scrollbar thumb in the new Edge to work somewhat like the one in classic Edge, where it minimizes when not in use and then expands as you mouse over it.

Azure Active Directory (AAD) sign-in. Current versions of the new Edge only allow you to sign-in and sync through a Microsoft account (MSA), but if you enable the Sign in with AAD account flag, you can experiment with doing so via your AAD account instead.

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