Best Microsoft Edge Productivity Features
Close your eyes and think back to the early 2000’s. What was your web browser of choice?
According to major sources, if you browsed the web in the early 2000’s, there was a 75% chance you were using Microsoft Internet Explorer. The next decade would dethrone Microsoft as other browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari reduced Internet Explorer’s market share to less than 10%.
Microsoft needed to act – and fast!
In 2015 Microsoft introduced a new browser called Edge, which they hoped would help them earn back their spot at the top. This move was a clear indication that Internet Explorer did not have much of a future; Edge is the new future.
Luckily, Microsoft learned from their mistakes, and virtually everyone agrees that Edge is a huge improvement over Internet Explorer. This proves true in many aspects, such as better performance, enhanced security, and wider website compatibility.
But perhaps the most noteworthy improvement is the added productivity features now available in Microsoft Edge. By using just two of these new features which I will describe, I am confident that you can improve your workflows so you can get more done in less time with fewer headaches.
The first feature is called Vertical Tabs. The term “tab” in web browsers, which has been around for a long time now, simply refers to an open web page; we can use multiple tabs to open several different web pages and keep them inside a single window.
Vertical Tabs is a new mode in Microsoft Edge that you can toggle on or off, and it offers a highly organized view of all the tabs you have open in Edge at any given time. You can even group tabs together into a “Tab Group”, which helps you keep related tabs under a common header.
In my example, I have created three Tab Groups because my pages fit well into three distinct categories: Microsoft, KiteTech, and Microsoft Edge Article. You can collapse a Tab Group to hide its pages if you aren’t actively using them, like I did with KiteTech in my example.
To enable vertical tabs, click on the icon in the top-left corner of the window and then click “Turn on vertical tabs”.
The second feature, called “Collections”, adds a unique way of organizing not only web pages, but also other media like images and notes. A Collection is almost like a scrapbook for your ideas. You can combine all the different kinds of pieces that make up your idea and store them in Microsoft Edge where you can continue working on it.
Take this article for example. To write it, I needed a few things: a guide to help me remember my purpose for writing and target audience; a few general requirements to keep in mind; several web pages for research; and of course, the article document itself. Rather than try to keep all this information on a place like my desktop (or worse, inside my head), I added all the relevant content into a Collection which I titled “Microsoft Edge Article”. I did not write this entire article in one sitting, so my Collection helped me pick up right where I left off when I came back to my computer and opened Microsoft Edge. When I am done, I may delete that collection, but it surely is serving me well now while I am still working on it.
To access Collections, click the 3 dots menu in the top-right and click on Collections. You can also choose to right-click on the Collections option and choose “Show in toolbar” to keep it visible in your Edge window at all times (see screenshot to the right).
Finally, while each of these features offers massive value on its own, I am particularly fond of how they combine to help you work better.
If you are browsing the web and opening several related web pages, you can click the Vertical Tabs menu and choose “Add all tabs to Collections”. This will create a new Collection containing all open web pages, and from there you can continue to fill that Collection with other related materials.
After you fill a Collection with web pages, you can right-click that Collection and choose “Open all”, and all the web pages in that Collection open under a Tab Group. Again, this may be useful if a project will take multiple sittings; by combining related web pages, you can easily continue right where you left off.
To tell the truth, the research that went into writing this article has even opened my eyes to some functionality I didn’t know existed in Microsoft Edge. I am hopeful that you will be able to include some of these techniques in your workflows and improve your productivity.
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