Windows 10 Tip: Read with Microsoft Edge

Posted on March 28, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 16 Comments

Windows 10 Tip: Read with Microsoft Edge

While Microsoft Edge is obviously a traditional web browser in many ways, it is evolving to become more of a general purpose reading app with the Creators Update as well.

Note: This tip is derived from the Windows 10 Field Guide, which is now being updated for the Windows 10 Creators Update.

Reading view

If you’re familiar with Microsoft Edge in previous Windows 10 versions, you know that this browser offers an elegant Reading view that displays web articles without any of the surrounding advertisements and other distractions. This is enabled in Windows 10 version 1703 as it was in previous versions: open a web article and then select the Reading view button in the address bar.

When you do, the article loads in the elegantly-themed Reading view.

Reading view also offers nice customization capabilities, where you can configure the view style and the font size. In previous Windows 10 versions, you accessed these options from Edge settings. But now you do so directly from Reading view: Click anywhere in the Edge window to display a toolbar at the top of Reading view. Then, select the Options button to see the available settings. (You can jump here quickly by typing CTRL + SHIFT + O.)

Here you can see the impact of the Dark view style and smaller fonts.

PDF files

In the Creators Update, Microsoft Edge can also display Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) files. In fact, Edge is the default app for such files, unless your PC maker changes it or you install a more full-featured third party application like Adobe Reader.

To read a PDF file, simply open one anywhere in your file system or on the web.

Edge doesn’t offer a Reading view for PDFs—they are structured so that they always appear as the author intended—but it does offer some viewing options. As with Reading view, just click anywhere in the Edge window to display various commands.

From left to right, these commands include:

Page number. Select this button to enter a new page number and jump directly to that point in the document.

Search. Use the magnifying glass button (or type CTRL + F) to find text within the PDF you’re viewing.

Fit to page/Fit to width. Use this button, or the keyboard shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + A, to toggle the display of the document between full page and full-width views.

Zoom out and Zoom in. The handy minus and plus buttons can be used to zoom out and into the document. (You can also use the keyboard shortcuts CTRL + – (minus) and CTRL + + (plus), respectively.)

Print. You can use this button to print the PDF, obviously.

Save as. Especially handy when viewing a web-based document, this button will let you save the PDF to your PC.

E-books

New to the Creators Update, Microsoft Edge can now read e-books in the E-PUB format. This includes unprotected E-PUBs, such as those you might download from Microsoft, but also those from a new e-book store that is available from within the Windows Store app.

Because this is such a big topic, I’ll be writing about Edge’s support for the new e-book store separately in a different tip. But we can still look at the Edge e-book reading experience using an unprotected E-PUB file as an example.

Note: There are various sources for free E-PUBs online. Here’s one example from Microsoft. Microsoft’s Eric Ligman is also a great source.

When you click a link for an E-PUB file on a website in Microsoft Edge, you’ll be prompted to open or save it. These files will display in Edge by default.

Unlike web pages and PDF files, EPUB/e-book navigation is left-to-right (and not up-to-down). So you can click in the gutter to the right or left to navigate back and forth within the book. Or, just use the arrow keys on your keyboard, or the scrubber and position notation on the bottom. If you’ve used other e-book readers, this should be familiar

You can likewise click anywhere in the window to display a reading toolbar, with various commands.

The toolbar commands, from left to right, include:

Table of contents. This button displays the book’s table of contents in a pane on the left, allowing you to quickly see its structure and navigate to a specific chapter or section.

Bookmarks. This button displays all of your saved bookmarks for the current book, allowing you to return to a saved position.

Search. Use the magnifying glass button (or type CTRL + F) to find text within the book you’re viewing.

Options. As with Reading view for websites, Edge provides a number of handy options for books. In fact, there are more ways to customize the display of books than there are for other things you might read with this browser.

Read aloud. Similar to other e-book readers, Edge provides an option that will read the current book aloud to you, so you can follow along or simply enjoy a (slightly robotic) audiobook-like experience.

Add a bookmark. Click this button to add a bookmark at the currently-read location in the book.

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Windows 10 Tip: Read with Microsoft Edge”

  1. Avatar

    Piras

    Edge has become more and more of a viable option . Especially since Chrome has made it difficult to watch Live TV channels streaming content using FLASH.

  2. Avatar

    albatronas

    I am using edge daily for my work and for my entertainment. I have to say, on entertainment it works fine and I don't have issues. Sometimes there is a problem with some videos that don't load properly .


    The big problem is with my work. On the dashboards I am working, edge becomes really slow and sometimes I need to close the browser and open it again. Also at my work we use google sheets, which is the most bad thing you can see as a result. Chrome still is the best browser at my opinion and Edge needs lot of things to get improved and more regular updates. Lets hope that this will change otherwise will be another browser failure, which still I don't understand why is this so complicated to make the browser better....

  3. Avatar

    MikeCerm

    Chrome's blurry font rendering makes me wish that Edge were ready for primetime. I'm still about 3 extensions away from being able to really use Edge as a full time browser. It performs better than Chrome on low-powered hardware for sure. When are they going to open the floodgates and allow anyone to author extensions?

  4. Avatar

    Lewk

    My biggest complaint is that they've changed the reading view to side-scrolling only where-as it was vertical scrolling before. As someone who prefers vertical scrolling, this is infuriating. Why the change? And why isn't there an option to change between the two scrolling types?

  5. Avatar

    gregsedwards

    If they can easily bring read aloud to eBooks in Edge, then why not enable that feature for regular pages in Reading View?

  6. Avatar

    rfog

    Does it syncs ebooks across devices? At least reading positions? Optimally notes and bookmarks?


  7. Avatar

    Tony Barrett

    Edge was barely alpha quality when it 'shipped' with Win10 back in 2015. Even now it doesn't even reach feature parity with IE, let alone Firefox or Chrome. Sorry MS, your 'as a service' delivery methodology is completely flawed. Thinking you can pretty much force this stuff on people when it's nowhere near ready, then just fix it as you go along - if you can be bothered, with no-one to answer to is unbelievable. MS must just be a company of lazy coders who sing 'ship it now, fix it later' while they work. The problem is, once something has shipped, nobody's interested in fixing things - they just keep slapping on new features which add to the problems.


    Windows used to mean something. A product that was tested to breaking point over a 3 year dev cycle, and when it shipped, you generally knew it was going to be stable, and service packs were tested the same way. Not any more. That's long gone.

    • Avatar

      mebby

      In reply to Tony Barrett:

      Regarding you comment on MS's flawed approach. If you mean quality, I agree. If you mean features, I don't. Everyone seems to release and then evolve the product. And of course from Apple's view nothing is feature-deficient or broken as their products are exactly what the user needs. When features are added or fixed during subsequent releases then it is because Apple decided the feature was needed for the user.


      The quality issue is something they do need to address. I use Edge every day and I don't have an issue with the features. The reliability issues and the lack of polish is something that is an issue.


      • Avatar

        mike moller

        In reply to mebby: hey an excellent statement on Apple's hypocracy

        "And of course from Apple's view nothing is feature-deficient or broken as their products are exactly what the user needs. When features are added or fixed during subsequent releases then it is because Apple decided the feature was needed for the user."


    • Avatar

      Delmont

      In reply to Tony Barrett:

      Then buy a Mac or use Linux. I doubt any of us here want to read your dribble.

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