Download and Install the New Edge
Edge Chromium feels much less clunky than the previous version, and already feels more like the most popular browsers available, such as Chrome or Firefox.
If you haven’t already updated to Edge Chromium, you can download it from www.microsoft.com/edge. Once downloaded, click on the download to install it. The new version will automatically overwrite the old version of Edge, completely replacing it on your computer.
During setup, you will have the option to import browser data such as bookmarks and favourites from Google Chrome, choose the initial start page layout, and set up syncing across devices (other computers, your phone, etc.) Once installed, Edge will open at the start page.
Depending on the layout you chose during setup, the start page will either display a news feed, or a cleaner page (with the news feed just a scroll away below it). You can check out the other layouts easily by clicking the gear icon at the top-right and choosing from the menu.
Using Edge Chromium
To search for a website or web page, you can either type in the search field at the top (which is always there) or you can type in the search box floating in the start page. When you type in either box, Edge will show a list of suggestions based on what it thinks you are looking for.
All of the main Edge controls run along the top bar. On the far left are the Back, Forwards, Refresh Page and Home buttons. The Set Aside and All Tabs buttons from the old version of Edge are gone. Clicking the + opens a new tab and clicking the small X closes an open tab.
The news feed displayed on the Start screen is split into sections: News, Entertainment, Sport, etc. and you can scroll down in each section to see more stories. Click on any of the stories in the feed to be taken to the source website in a new tab. Click Personalise to choose news categories to display.
Lots of the old Edge tools have been removed, including Set Aside Tabs and the ability to write on web pages. There are, however, still lots of tools in Edge.
Favourites, or bookmarked sites, can be accessed by clicking the button directly to the right of the address bar (star with three lines). Clicking opens a fly-out list, at the top of which is the option to “Manage favourites”. This opens the list in a new page, where you can remove or re-order them.
The new Edge start page features a row of icons showing your recently visited websites or pages. Clicking these shortcuts will take you to that site/page instantly. You can also use this tool to show favourite sites. Just click the + at the end and enter the name and URL of a site you want to add.
If you want to browse in private mode when using edge, you can do so easily. To open a new InPrivate tab, click the browser menu button at the top-right and select “New InPrivate Window”. You can also open a new private tab by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + N while Edge is active.
Also in the browser menu is the option to zoom. This increases/decreases the text and image display size in Edge, and will remain at whatever zoom level you set even when you close Edge and re-open it. Also available here is a button to quickly switch the Edge window into fullscreen view.
Microsoft seems to be taking users privacy choices seriously with Edge Chromium, and you now have a much easier way to control your browsing data and history. The biggest improvement is Tracking Prevention. You can access these settings in Browser Menu > Settings > Privacy & Services.
You can choose three different levels of tracking prevention: Basic, Balanced and Strict. All of the options will block known harmful trackers, but how personalised content (such as adverts) is displayed and how well all website features work depends on the level you choose.
Our advice is to switch to Strict, and then see how it affects your favourite websites. If you find things are not displaying as they should you can always switch back to Balanced.
You can view sites that you have blocked from tracking you, and also allow exceptions if there are sites which you want to allow to track you.
Edge Tips and Tricks
Now that you understand the basics of using the new Edge browser, lets take a look at some of the features and tools that turn it from a good browser into a great browser.
If you find the adverts, social links, and other elements of a modern website distracting, you can use the Immersive reader in Edge to clear the clutter. Not all pages are compatible, but most are. To enable Immersive reader, open the page and click the book icon in the Edge address bar.
While you are in Immersive reader mode, you will have the option to “Read Aloud”. This will start a text-to-speech tool which will read out the text of the website. You can also do this while viewing a website in normal view (Browser Menu > Read Aloud), but it works better while in Immersive reader.
Stop Videos Auto-playing
To block annoying autoplay ads and videos on a web page, open the settings and then Media autoplay settings under Website permissions. You can choose to limit or block videos. You will need to refresh the page to see changes. You can also prevent things like automatic downloads here.
The Edge Menu
Click the Menu button (three small dots in the top right) to open the Edge menu. From this menu you’re able to access Settings, print a page and find words or phrases in the open web page. Another option allows you to pin a particular web page to the taskbar as an icon, should you wish to.
Clicking the Settings option in the Edge menu opens another menu with further options. Tabs down the side of the menu take you to different settings sections, including Privacy & Security and Advanced. In the General settings, you can change the theme, homepage and other basic options.
In addition to the ‘light’ default theme of Microsoft Edge, there’s an option in Settings to display a black theme. It’s becoming a lot more common for applications to have dark themes and the Windows 10 taskbar is dark too. It’s a good alternative to having super bright apps.
New tabs are opened either when you click on a link (if the link is set to open as a new tab) or by clicking on the small + button at the top left of the browser. You can have lots of tabs open at the same time. Right click on any tab to see further options such as Reopen closed tabs.
You can change the layout between the three presets by clicking the gear icon. You can also choose a custom layout. Here, you can enable/disable the quick links bar, image of the day and set the visibility level of the content in the news feed. You can also change the browser language.
Just like the previous version of Edge, Edge Chromium features extensions, which can be downloaded from the Microsoft store. You can view installed extensions in the Browser Menu > Extensions. There are fewer extensions available for the new version, but this situation will improve as it matures.