Fall Creators Update Feature Focus: Microsoft Edge

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

Fall Creators Update Feature Focus: Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge gets a sweeping series of improvements in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Here’s what you expect.

Edge migration improvements. The original version of Microsoft Edge supported importing bookmarks from Chrome and Firefox. And then a later version added the ability to import browsing history, passwords, and form data. Now, with the Fall Creators Update, you can also import cookies and settings from Chrome to Edge.

Website pins. Partially answering a long-time criticism of mine, you can now pin frequently-accessed websites to your taskbar, as you used to be able to do in IE. Sadly, this functionality is not particularly sophisticated: When you open sites from the taskbar, they open in a new tab in the existing Edge window. And they don’t appear to be selected/activated in the taskbar when open.

These taskbar shortcuts are all website pins.

Full-screen mode. Technically Microsoft Edge already offered a full-screen mode, but no one could find it because it required a secret keyboard shortcut (SHIFT + WINKEY + ENTER). But now, you can toggle full-screen mode in Microsoft Edge by typing F11. Just like you can in any other web browser. There’s also a UI for the full-screen toggle right in the Settings and more (“…”) menu.

Tab improvements. With its ability to set aside tabs, pin tabs, and lush tab previews, Edge has long had unique features related to tabs. But in the Fall Creators Update, things get even better. Now, you can close even those tabs that are displaying a dialog. (You can likewise close the Edge browser window too.)

Favorites improvements. Edge’s Add to Favorites functionality has always been a bit lackluster. But now you can view your favorites as a directory tree like you can in the Favorites pane and more easily choose the right location for the page you’re saving. And when you do save a Favorite, you’ll see a new animation that helps you understand where to find it later. You can also right-click any Favorite—in the Favorites Bar, if displayed, or in the Favorites pane—and choose “Edit URL” to do edit the URL.

Reading improvements. Edge’s various reading experiences—Reading view for web pages, plus PDF and EPUB e-book viewing—get a couple of nice updates in the new version. You can now annotate EPUB e-books, including ink-based notes, and you can access “Ask Cortana” when you select some text, just as you could before on the web. PDF files likewise gain annotation capabilities and “Ask Cortana”, plus PDF form fill functionality, new highlight colors, a great new Table of Contents view, and simpler navigation. Plus, websites, PDF files, and e-books all support read aloud functionality with word and line highlighting now.

UX refresh. While the basic Edge user interface is not changing in the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft has applied some (very) subtle Acrylic Material translucency effects to the app in keeping with its move to the more modern Fluent Design System. The only obvious place to see this is in the tab bar when you display tab previews.


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Comments (30)

30 responses to “Fall Creators Update Feature Focus: Microsoft Edge”

  1. mram

    The issue with buttons not being removable and the UI looking absolutely the same for everyone everywhere makes it an absolute non-starter for lots of people I deal with. The idea of "Make a Web Note" and "Share" being omnipresent and universally non-removable & oversized are reminders of Microsoft arrogance and drives people away from the product.

    It doesn't matter how fast it runs. The pinto with the porsche engine still is great ... for making people say "eww!" and loading Chrome.

    • PhilipVasta

      In reply to mram:

      I also question the usefulness of Web notes, and I'm one of the people who actually uses the pen. But what's so bad about the share button? Sharing is a fairly common thing, I think, and it makes me cringe to see people click the address bar, right click to copy the URL, then right click to paste into an email, and hit send. It's so much quicker to use the share button.

      And while I wish Edge were a bit better in a couple ways, I don't get the hatred for it. I mean, it's fine for 9 out of 10 people. Most people just want to check a few websites and don't care about massive amounts of extensions. Don't get me wrong, I'd still say Chrome is better overall, but I'd bet normal people use Chrome more out of habit than anything else.

      • mram

        In reply to PhilipVasta:

        It shouldn't fundamentally matter how one chooses to share. The entire UI is derived from a concept where it was a "touch first" architecture. For people like me (desktop warriors, mouse users, whatever you want to call us) the oversized buttons of uselessness are constant reminders of this decision that I, the user, didn't choose to make. Bear in mind that I absolutely respect your desire to have the Share button. I have no qualms with it as a feature. My sole complaint is that because I don't want it, I cannot remove it. The respect has to go both ways.

        To that end, I have zero problems with Windows 10 being "touch friendly". To me though it's like buying a flying car and never being able to retract the wings. I don't need oversized buttons, I don't need help to control-C, control-V... These UI elements should be more appropriate to the target, not omnipresent and unmodifiable. Share might be useful to me one day, but right now, like Web Note, I have zero need for it. None. I want that monstrosity gone.

        I don't need tab groups, I don't need tab previews, and I should have the option to remove this button-mania from my life. It's insane the amount of clutter and forced features we cannot remove. Perception IS reality, and most people look at edge and DO say "ewww" and that's all it takes.

        What ever happened to the KISS principle?

        I'd actually use edge a heck of a lot more if they just made the UI something more friendly for desktop. I love the engine. Everyone I know agrees on that point -- just the interface is horrid horrid bad and most of that animosity is derived from the touch-first architecture and the lack of customization.

        Just put yourself in my position - how would you feel if you had no practical use for tab groups, tab preview, share, make a web note? There's a good 5 buttons on your screen all the time that are taking up space....

        Oh and don't get me started on "feedback this!" I have, many times.... crowdsourcing changes to Microsoft products (sigh)... it took an open rebellion to get the start button back.... ahh memories.

        Edit: I'm just trying to explain the general "hatred" if there is such a thing for the product. I'm annoyed to death with the architectural decisions that Microsoft makes on their products sometimes. When most vendors come up with new ideas, they give the consumers the option to disable the new feature in case they don't agree. With Microsoft, they often do not do this - they have a long history of enforcing raw change through bully tactics: "We know what you should be doing, so we won't turn it off." That's the difference. Watch when Chrome implements a new feature, you can turn it off. Or on. Tab groups? With Edge: Oh no, 100% of every Edge user on the planet is going to see those buttons, cause Microsoft knows best. It might be good for a section, or even a majority of the consumer base, but to simply opt out of a slider "on/off" for new features is just .... arrogance. I don't have a better word.

    • rameshthanikodi

      In reply to mram:

      I agree, I wish Edge's UI was customizable. Funny thing is, Edge's UI used to be cleaner before the Creator's Update. Anyway, I guarantee you that Microsoft has telemetry on Edge users and they know that few click on the Web Note button. Yet, Microsoft insists on putting this feature on a top-level UI. Annoying and stupid. I would like to see a bit more pragmatism towards desktop users of Edge too, like you say. Oh well. At least it isn't Metro IE11. Oh god.

  2. johnlavey

    Well, I tried Edge again. I have to admit it's fast and mostly responsive....enough to make me want to make it my go-to browser. But AGAIN after little less than a day's use, I switched back to my default browser, Chrome.

    Everytime I get enthused and try to renew my faith and trust in a Microsoft browser, something goes awry. This time it was the intrusive ads...everywhere....that kept popping up even with Ad Block Plus installed.

    So for me, using Chrome is a more reliable and enjoyable experience. Maybe next time Edge will 'edge' Chrome out. But I won't hold my breath.

  3. julesgilson

    The only question I have is whether they have put back the functionality to cast to DLNA devices which disappeared in the first Creators Update? The reason it is the only question I have is that it was the only feature that encouraged me to use it.

  4. Shel Dyck

    still waiting to hear about serviceworker support. I don't care about the graphical niceties as much as the ability to run PWA's offline

  5. hrlngrv

    We used to be able to turn off transparency in Windows 7 and 8.x. Will we be able to turn off translucency in Windows 10? Or will this become one more reason not to use Edge?

  6. xapache

    Finally, edit URL. Why did that take so long?

  7. Rob_Wade

    Well, anything that requires a keyboard shortcut to do, I immediately file in the "not worth my time" category. And I don't pin anything to my Taskbar, which goes largely ignored in my case. I pin things to Start exclusively.

  8. Kurt Koch

    Any chance they could create a bookmark sync with Chrome? Import is no use as I want it to always have my latest. It would be fine even if it was a one way thing that just automatically imported my latest Chrome bookmarks (and deleted previous import) each time I launched Edge.

  9. madthinus

    And it is still a terrible experience. They assume you use Cortana, which is in 24 markets. The experience without Cortana is a lacklustre mess.

    • JerryH

      In reply to madthinus:

      Well, to be fair, Cortana is a lackluster mess itself. I've turned it off via policy at home, but also we had to turn Cortana off for all machines at work. It is just a joke. As most large enterprises do, we use Outlook for mail and calendar. Cortana wants to use the built in app, but CAN attempt to use Outlook. But it requires a password. Of course we have no password - just Smart Card for logon. The users have no password. But it takes about 12 clicks into a blinding morass of screens just to find out that it doesn't work at all. It will pop up "infomercials" saying things like "ask me to play..." (some songs). You do that, and get through a bunch of screens before it tells you that you need to sign up for some service. It will tell you (on a desktop computer) to ask for directions to the nearest gas station. Of course that doesn't work; no GPS. The whole thing is just complete rubbish. Everything you try to do ends up being a rabbit hole of "can't get there from here" so, to prevent lots of Service Desk calls, we had to turn it off. It is amazing how bad it is in the enterprise.

  10. PeteB

    Wake me up when it's a proper Win32 program rather than a crappy sandboxed and therefore feature limited mobile/metro app, and works on more platforms than just windows 10

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