Microsoft Previews Major Improvements Coming to Edge

Posted on June 9, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 71 Comments

Microsoft Previews Major Improvements Coming to Edge

Back in April, I outlined the many ways in which Microsoft Edge still came up short against its web browser competition. But in the most recent Windows 10 Insider Preview build, Microsoft has provided an early peek at improvements it will bring to Edge in the Fall Creators Update. Has the software giant finally closed the gap?

Not quite: There are still some important features missing from Edge, sorry. But I’m happy to see that Microsoft is finally addressing some of my big complaints.

You should check out Edge of 17(03): Microsoft’s Web Browser is Still Lacking for a more complete list of my issues with Edge. But here’s what Microsoft is fixing for the Fall Creators Update:

Pinned web apps in the taskbar

Internet Explorer and Chrome can pin shortcuts to web apps (really, any websites) to the Windows taskbar so that you can access them as if they were native apps. But Edge, inexplicably, has never offered this capability.

The good news: This feature is finally coming to Windows 10 in the Fall Creators Update. Now, you can pin any webpage to the taskbar from Microsoft Edge: Just navigate to the page in question and then select Settings and More (“…”) > “Pin this page to the taskbar.”

The bad news: When you open up a pinned web page, it just opens in a normal Edge web browser window, which includes the full browser UI (“chrome”) and displays any pinned tabs too. With Chrome, you have the option to create pinned sites that open in chromeless windows that more closely resemble native applications.

F11 full-screen mode

While Microsoft Edge actually does already provide a way to access a real full-screen mode, it’s so well-hidden and undocumented that most users don’t even know about it. (To access this mode, type SHIFT + WINKEY + ENTER.)

But with the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft will finally do what it should have done all along, and let users toggle this full-screen mode by typing F11. You know. Like every other web browser on earth.

You can also access this display mode from the Settings and More menu.

E-book annotation

As you probably know, Microsoft added support for E-PUB files to Edge, along with a new Windows Store-based e-book platform, in the Windows 10 Creators Update. In the Fall Creators Update, this functionality will be improved with the ability to annotate E-PUB files (including purchased e-books) directly in the browser. You’ll be able to highlight text in four colors, underline, and add comments.

PDF improvements

Today, you can view and annotate PDF files with Microsoft Edge. In the Fall Creators Update, you can access more highlight colors. And the “Ask Cortana” feature is now available in Edge, too. That means that you can now select text in a PDF, right-click, and select “Ask Cortana” to learn more about the selected term.

Final thoughts

These are obviously some much-needed updates, especially taskbar pinning and the F11 full-screen toggle. But Edge is still so lacking in so many ways. I can only hope that further improvements are coming for the Fall Creators Update.

 

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