Latest Insider Build Includes Numerous PDF Enhancements

Posted on May 4, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 30 Comments

Latest Insider Build Includes Numerous PDF Enhancements

Nicely played, Dona. Nicely played.

Today, Microsoft announced the availability of Windows 10 Insider Preview build 16188 to the Fast ring. This new build includes a ton of new features related to PDF compatibility in Microsoft Edge.

Kudos to Microsoft for releasing this build earlier in the day than usual in order to ensure that I was flying at the time.

The new PDF features are a bit overwhelming and include:

PDF form fill capabilities. Now you can fill in PDF-based forms using Microsoft Edge, and then save and print them.

PDF annotation. The annotation capability in Microsoft Edge has been extended to PDF files in this build. Yes, you can use “Make a Web Note” to annotate PDFs too.

Table of Contents support. As with E-PUB files and e-books, you can now navigate through the structure of a PDF file using a Table of Contents pane. Just select an item in the TOC to jump to that part of the document.

Improved viewing and navigation. Now you can rotate PDF documents for better readability, use a new Layout menu to switch from one page to two-page layouts, and toggle page-wise scrolling for a better navigation experience in longer documents.

Additionally, Microsoft has added a few more features:

Windows Defender Application Guard. The firm has brought its Windows Defender Application Guard technologies to Edge in this build. Announced last September, this feature is only available in Windows Insider Previews for Enterprise users in the Fast Ring. It provides enterprises better protection from malware and zero-day attacks, Microsoft says.

Settings improvements. The Settings app has a new top-level Cortana item for all Cortana settings. And the Windows Insider Program entry in Update & Security now features a cute Ninja Cat icon.

Magnifier settings improvements. Magnifier settings have been “reimagined” with a better experience for those with low vision and for more casual users.

Update experience improvements. Based on feedback, Microsoft has replaced the modal Windows Update dialog from the past with a new interactive toast notification that will not interrupt your work.

There are a number of other smaller changes, improvements, and fixes, plus some known issues. Check out Dona’s blog post for more information.

 

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Comments (32)

32 responses to “Latest Insider Build Includes Numerous PDF Enhancements”

  1. CompUser

    I'm curious to know who exactly it is that's been after Microsoft to enable reading PDF files in Edge? Anyone? I've sure never heard or read anyone asking for that. What I have read or heard people asking for (including me), is to enable displaying favorites how we want them displayed. Like we can still do in Internet Explorer. Until they do that, I will never use Edge. (Well, except if I want to post a comment here, because apparently the comment section is now incompatible with IE, and there are no plans to fix it.

    • Spineless

      In reply to CompUser:

      All current gen browsers can read pdfs. What is super annoying is when it doesn't work right. So kudos to the team for improving the overall experience.

      But yes, the current favorites implementation sucks.

    • Rob_Wade

      In reply to CompUser: Not me. Ever. I have a specific program for that, and I don't want to be stuck in a browser working with files.


    • warren

      In reply to CompUser:


      PDF is an ISO standard -- ISO 19005. No reason for a browser to not implement it, given its extremely widespread use and the fact that it serves the same purpose as HTML/CSS: to present content. PDF is useful because it has features that are missing in HTML, like table of contents, pagination, footnotes, standardized metadata (e.g. Author), and the expectation that 14 specific fonts are always available regardless of platform.


      Also, there's no valid justification for using Internet Explorer on the public web in 2017. Complaints about how such-and-such a feature doesn't work on a four-year-old browser will fall on deaf ears unless you're paying for the service.

      • SvenJ

        In reply to warren: "Also, there's no valid justification for using Internet Explorer on the public web in 2017."
        Other than sites that don't render properly in Edge, and do in IE. Granted that is likely the fault of the site, not Edge, but when you can't fill in a timesheet, or gov form, the distinction is lost on the user. Do you think there is a valid justification for using Chrome?


      • rkpatrick

        In reply to warren:

        i have two uses for IE - 1) I run a Flash Gcode writer called MakerKam with it, as it flat-out doesn't work in Edge, 2) read cracked.com, as MSEdge inexplicably cannot click the banner link there.  MS can add all the features they want to Edge, but if it can't do basic functions (click links...not crash hourly), then it's just wasted efforts. Edge will never be any good until it does the basics correctly.

      • CompUser

        In reply to warren: If you have a specific program for reading PDF files (Acrobat Reader, for example), set it as the default reader, and it will open documents directly from the browser. There's not need for the PDF reader to be an integrated part of the browser. Also, my complaint wasn't with Internet Explorer, it was with Edge. With Edge's poor performance and lack of true customizations, I find Internet Explorer to be vastly preferable. Therefore, the valid justification is that I like it better.


      • Rob_Wade

        In reply to warren: I actually get better performance out of IE than I do with Edge. I run into sites frequently that, for one reason or another, either don't render, render slowly or are otherwise broken in Edge. Example: I cannot post in the forums of WindowsCentral using Edge. Not on any device I have: studio PC, Surface Pro 3, Lumia 950, Lumia 640. As soon as I click in the edit box it just sits there...I can't type. BUT, if I bring up IE11, it works just fine, thank you.


    • JanesJr1

      In reply to CompUser: No, it's a natural and welcome enhancement! I download .pdf's all the time and end up saving them only to open them in another app, read/modify, and then save them somewhere else. This streamlines all that. I will use it constantly, and where better to put a fully-functional .pdf editor than in the browser where the .pdf's first appear or are downloaded from!?


      • Rob_Wade

        In reply to JanesJr1: First, if I actually want a .pdf file it's usually also true that I need to download it. I prefer an actual .pdf-centric program. Sure, on the odd occasion I might want to only read one, having it render in a browser is fine. I NEVER, EVER fill one out online.


  2. jdmorris

    I like this direction. I will happily shift from Adobe if MS gets this right. I may not need it, but I welcome it.

  3. chrisrut

    Uhhhh, that's really good news. About the pdf capabilities I mean.

    Working with PDFs is a big pain point for us. Most of my users need to do things like process forms and annotate pdfs. So, we've been forced, for years, to pay way too much money, and spend way too much time deploying and maintaining these tools. So now it's built-into Edge? Ka-ching! Thousands of dollars - and lots of hours - just got diverted from the budget and deposited in the IT Party fund...

    Seriously, that alone will earn Edge its way onto every one of my user's desktops.

  4. brettscoast

    The improvements especially around the new PDF features built into edge should be welcomed improving its usability can only be a good thing.

  5. wshwe

    Edge needs all the help it can get since it will be the only browser worth anything in Win 10 S.

  6. dstrauss

    This is interesting - might make a good alternative to Drawboard PDF. Still, they need to build a container for Chrome so we can load it in the new Win 10 S.

  7. JimP

    If Microsoft spent more time implementing features people actually wanted, maybe they wouldn't have lost their first place position to Android as the most popular OS in the world. Beginning with Windows 8, it seems like Microsoft has a death wish and are doing their best to get people to switch to other platforms.

    • GarethB

      In reply to JimP:

      Wha? If the desktop market weren't shrinking whilst the potential install base of phones is in the billions.... maybe they could have avoided being overtaken. But that isn't in this universe.


      The only way they could have avoided Android winning is if Windows Phone was something, but it's not either.

      • JimP

        In reply to GarethB:


        I was referring to things like turning the browser into an ebook and PDF readers. There's no point wasting valuable developer resources on things that nobody wants or asked for. I have yet to hear a single person say, "I wish I could read ebooks in Edge".


        But since you bring up Windows Phone, let's go back to Windows Phone 8.x days. Microsoft had a working strategy. They were running a successful ad campaign with Jessica Alba and Gwen Stefani...


        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0A0chONLCo


        ...they had just converted the top 50 iPhone apps to Windows Phone apps. Windows Phones usage was increasing - albeit slowly - but the number were going. They had a working strategy. They should have continued the advertising, they should have converted the next 50 top iPhone apps. And then the next 50 iPhone apps after that.


        Who knows? Maybe Windows Phone might have 10-15% of the market right now. UWP wouldn't be dead. And maybe Windows would still be the #1 OS in the world.


        But MS screwed over their customers. First, it was the Zune, then it was the Windows Phone, and then the Band. It's like they're purposely going out of their way to repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot. It's sad and disappointing.

        • pachi

          In reply to JimP:


          I disagree with some of this, not the mobile portion :) I think Edge being a competent PDF viewer/program is important, as there's nothing else out of the box that reads PDF's. You could argue it doesn't need to be EDGE, but it needs to be SOMETHING. Having random PDF programs that are poor and bog down PC's is one of the bigger issues the non-tech person has on PC's.


          • SvenJ

            In reply to pachi: I was going to say there are plenty of PDF readers, including Adobe's and Reader (by MS), but then I saw 'out of the box'. Why does it need to by OOTB? There are lots of applications included with every OS, but why does the OS need to ship with something that does everything that could be wanted? Do people still pull a PC or phone out of the box and expect it to do everything without ever loading anything else? It appears most people at least get Chrome and iTunes, why not a PDF reader of choice. When I hit a pdf on the web, it irritates me that I need to wait for Edge to render it, before I can right click, save and open it in a 'real' pdf reader. BTW, MS has a Reader app that reads pdfs as well, which could have been used to read e-books, as MS Reader did in the past. (I miss .lit and the Word extensions that let me produce my own e-books) Are we looking at a future were MS produces an EdgeBook which just runs the browser, and everything is done within it, either online or via web apps?


          • JimP

            In reply to pachi:


            MS should focus on features that matter. Chrome is the most popular browser in the world, or at least on Windows. And I don't think it's because Chrome has better PDF support.

  8. Rob_Wade

    I just don't understand what Microsoft is trying to do. I don't want to spend all my time in a browser, even if it's theirs. It seems like they're spending a lot of resources to turn Edge into an Office product. I HAVE Office. I HAVE an actual PDF program. Every time I install and update lately I find I have to go in and change the default for PDF files back to an actual program I prefer because Windows insists I want to work with it in a browser. Wrong.

  9. Care

    I'd love to be able to annotate ebooks and epubs, too. As well as have Edge remember where I was when last reading a pdf.

  10. jimchamplin

    The Defender Application Guard NEEDS to be on ALL SKUS of Windows 10. Not doing so shoots in the foot their whole claimed reason for wanting everyone on Windows 10 for security.

  11. Dan1986ist

    If one disables Cortana using the AllowCortana registry key in Home, or via Group Policy if running Pro , the Cortana option in the Settings app changes to Search.

  12. wocowboy

    2 1/2 hours, several gigabytes downloaded, and 4 restarts (some of which have to be manually initiated), good lord, I thought Microsoft was switching to incremental updates for Windows 10 after the final edition of the "Creator's Update". This is a bit ridiculous.

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