Microsoft Edge Gets Vertical Tabs, More

Posted on March 4, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Edge with 31 Comments

Among the new features coming to Microsoft Edge on desktop this month is vertical tabs, which seems ideal for the 16:9 displays that most of us are still stuck with.

“To make tab management and organization easier, vertical tabs is now generally available this month,” Microsoft corporate vice president Liat Ben-Zur writes in the announcement post. “Now everyone can view and manage their tabs from a pane on the side with a single click. This allows you to clearly see the tab titles and controls, making it easier to find and switch between the tabs you need, regardless of how many you have open.”

You can toggle between traditional and vertical tabs by clicking the new “Turn on vertical tabs” control at the far left of the tab row in Edge. By default, vertical tabs appear as icons, but you can pin the pane to the left side of the browser window to see each tab’s page title.

In addition to vertical tabs, Edge now features a controversial new History experience that appears in a drop-down instead of a pane as before. But you can pin that drop-down to the right side of the browser window as a pane if you miss the old style.

Finally, Edge is also picking up a new Startup Boost feature that significantly reduces the time it takes to open the browser after your PC reboots or you reopen the browser. Microsoft claims this improves startup times by 29 to 41 percent.

The first two features should be available now, though you’ll want to make sure you have the latest version of Edge installed. Startup boost will be automatically enabled later this month, Microsoft says.

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Comments (31)

31 responses to “Microsoft Edge Gets Vertical Tabs, More”

  1. bart

    After installing the latest Insider Dev build, I got a notification on the desktop with Edge now booting up (in the background) at start-up (it doesn't automatically open Edge). And sure enough, it shows up in the start up list in Task manager.

  2. ekim

    I spent the day with vertical tabs and have to say I really like them. I like how easy and seamlessly it switches back and forth between modes.

  3. Alex Taylor

    Now I've received the update and had a look, the vertical tabs are one hot and one miss for me.

    The hit is that the auto hide behaviour is how I like it, with no extra config - great!

    The miss is that having eliminated the horizontal tab bar, it still uses the same space for the title bar.

    If they can drop the window controls into the main toolbar that would be a great improvement, and might even see me consider using it full time when I'm in Windows.


  4. ianhead

    Great new features but it seems they have been messing with the scrolling curve that I loved so much about Edge. Scrolling with the mouse wheel stops dead when you stop scrolling rather than smoothly gliding to rest.

    • dftf

      In reply to ianhead:

      In Edge: "..." menu > "Help and feedback" > "Send feedback"

      • ianhead

        In reply to dftf:

        Good idea, done. I noticed this same behaviour is present in other Chromium browsers when the 'Impulse scrolling' flag is enabled, so the change must be laying in that codebase somewhere, not unique to Edge. It seems that impulse scrolling has overridden the Edge Scrolling Personaility function in Edge now, figured that would be the case eventually since they were both different implementations of the same thing, the only difference being that one was contributed upstream by Microsoft to the Chromium project and the latter has always been in Edge itself.

  5. ebraiter

    So I am looking at the vertical tabs. It isn't really doing much. The top bar where my tabs are moved to the left but the bar doesn't disappear. So the height of the body of the web page is still the same. Now the tabs are chewing up the width of the page - which in some cases such as Thutrott.com does nothing because this site doesn't go from the left edge to the right edge of the window.

  6. brettscoast

    Useful improvements there, I am liking edge a lot these days works well without any major issues and regularly updated.

  7. dustinsherrill

    Google Chrome took away my bookmarks on the left side (like IE and Firefox did bookmarks) and Microsoft is putting tabs there now. I would rather have "vertical bookmarks" and leave "horizontal tabs" across the top.

  8. ekim

    Vertical tabs may come in handy on a couple of my devices. I'll have to play around with it to be sure. I did notice that they still have not fixed the print dialog box. It still reports the wrong number of sheets of paper needed whether using duplex printing or single sided.

  9. remc86007

    Just turned on vertical tabs and so far I'm enjoying it. Only complaint is that the animation of the tray opening needs to be smooth 100% of the time. On my SL3 it is smooth every time if the laptop is plugged in, but if it's on battery, it lags at first. This is such a simple animation, there is no reason a modern CPU/GPU shouldn't be able to render it smoothly every time even in the lowest power state. The start menu is way more information dense and yet it is smooth 100% of the time. This needs to be sorted out in software.

  10. Alex Taylor

    Just checked and i dont have vertical tabs available yet, despite Edge claiming to be up to date (88.0.705.81).


    Having been using vertical tabs with Firefox for probably 10 years, and about 3 with Vivaldi, this seems promising.


    I desperately hope that rather than only having the options to show icons or pin the tabs to the side, that there is also an Autohide option.

    I use this 99% of the time: your tabs are favicons on the side, which expand to tab width on hover. It's excellent and I hope edge provides a mechanism for it!

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to agt4:

      You can enable this in the flags. Open Microsoft Edge. Copy and paste edge://flags/#edge-vertical-tabs into the address bar, and press Enter. Select Default (same as enabled), Enabled, or Disabled in the Vertical Tabs drop menu for what you want, and click/tap on Restart to apply.

    • ebraiter

      In reply to agt4:

      I just manually updated my public release and it's there now. 89.0.774.45

    • dftf

      In reply to agt4:

      The "Vertical Tabs" feature isn't available in the stable-branch yet.


      If you want to test it, you must install either the "Beta" (version 89) or "Dev" (version 90) installs of Edge. You can do this by going to microsoft.com/en-us/edge/business/download and then choose which one you want in the "Channel/Version" dropdown.


      Once you've installed Beta or Dev, go to "..." menu > Settings > Apperance and make sure the "Show vertical tabs button" is on. Then click the icon to the left of your leftmost tab to make the vertical tab-bar appear.

  11. waethorn

    *sigh*


    Someone just make a square screen!....

  12. dftf

    @Paul (or any site-admin): is there any-reason a link or embedded image can't be added in a comment. I just get "something went wrong". If it's only available to Premium members, maybe at-least revise the error to say "Links and embedded images are restricted to Premium members", or maybe just don't show either button on the toolbar for the Standard Comments tab?


    (The same thing happens in the Forums: if you're the OP, you can add an image when you start a post, at the top, but not in any of the replies to it later...)

  13. dftf

    Nice... but not everyone would want to use vertical-tabs. For those who prefer horizontal tabs, sadly they just get smaller-and-smaller until they become unusable, especially for touchscreen users who can't hover-over a tab to see the title of it.


    Windows XP solved this problem for the taskbar by introducing "Group similar taskbar buttons", so all your Microsoft Word documents would fold-up into one button. So... why has this same-approach never been done in web-browsers.


    For example, here all "BBC News" sites have been collapsed into a single tab -- seems fine to me:


    i.imgur.com/AQjkTbN.png (you might need to add https:// at the start -- Paul's site wouldn't let me add it embedded, sorry)

    • samp

      "They just get smaller-and-smaller until they become unusable"

      Chrome has an experiential feature "Scrollable TabStrip: Allows users to access tabs by scrolling when they no longer fit in the tabstrip" which doesn't minimize them, you scroll to see tabs, but it is a bit bugy.

      Chome also just added a group feature which groups tabs.

      • dftf

        In reply to samp:

        Being able to keep the tabs at a decent width, and then scroll the mouse-wheel to make the tabs slide left-and-right sounds useful, yes.


        It's certainly a better-approach than Vivaldi currently, which simply overflow tabs after a certain point onto a second row below the first set. I'd rather not have multiple bars of tabs constantly appearing!


        As you scroll left-or-right does it stop dead at either-end, or does it scroll infinitely like a ring?

  14. Chris_Kez

    Took me about a week to get used to vertical tabs but now I am a convert.

  15. Username

    > .. vertical tabs, which seems ideal for the 16:9 displays that most of us are still stuck with.


    sure, if for some reason someone is using a single window. Productive people I’ve seen use at least two, side-by-side, so, each window, thus is 8:9 - pretty square - and where horizontal space is at premium, rendering this innovation moot.

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