Microsoft Edge may have advanced by leaps and bounds over the past few years, but does it now have enough useful and unique features to replace Chrome as the world’s favorite browser? A few features might convince you.
You would think that two browsers based on the same technology, Chromium, are relatively equal in terms of tools and features. But with Edge and Chrome, this is not what we see. Chrome is clearly doing something right, as it remains by far the most widely used desktop browser in the world, but there’s little doubt that Microsoft is looking to get a bigger slice of the pie.
This ambition seems to be supported by the amount of work being done on Edge and the number of new features and tools being added regularly. It may still have a long way to go before it achieves Google’s browser popularity, but there’s never been a better time to consider switching to Edge.
Here are some of the useful tools Edge has that Chrome doesn’t.
HOW TO USE INTERNET EXPLORER MODE IN EDGE
Although it might not sound like a top-notch feature to you, the option to move your open tabs to the side of the window in Edge is really useful. This is especially true if you have a lot of tabs open, as it gives more space to display the page title. You lose some screen real estate, but that can be alleviated by unpinning the tabs pane so it collapses when you’re not using it.
When it comes to general tab options, Edge beat Chrome hands down. Microsoft’s browser lets you search tabs from the same menu as the vertical tabs option. When you perform a search, a new panel opens, allowing you to search for words contained in the titles of your open and recently closed tabs.
And speaking of recently closed tabs, unlike Chrome which only lets you reopen the last closed tab, Edge gives you a full list. It will even let you open your other devices’ tabs if they’re using Edge as their browser.
The Edge bar
The Edge bar is probably one of Edge’s most overlooked features. This useful tool gives you an overview of Microsoft’s news feed from the start page. It also lets you search the web and pin your favorite websites, all from a slim panel on the side of your screen.
The Microsoft Edge bar
The Edge bar may appear for the first time after installing an Edge update. If not, you can enable it in the Edge > More Tools menu. Once you open the Edge bar, it stays there even after you close the main Edge browser window. In Edge Settings > Edge Bar, you can choose to have the bar open automatically when you start your computer.
Web Capture is a tool that allows you to save an entire web page as an image. It will be more useful to some people than others, but if you want to share an image of a web page without having to send multiple images or stitch multiple screenshots into a single image, web capture is a great tool.
The Web Snipping Tool in Edge
You can select Web Capture either from the Edge menu or by right-clicking on the page and selecting it from the context menu. The Web Snipping Tool has two options: Snipping Area and Snipping Entire Page. The former lets you capture a specific area of the page, while the latter captures the entire page and opens the image in a preview. You can then draw or write on the image, before saving or sharing it.
While it’s possible to take a full-page screenshot in Chrome, it’s a hidden dev tool that doesn’t allow annotating. You can also save web pages in Chrome as their components. You can also save an entire page by selecting Print from the menu and then saving it as a PDF file. None of these options are as easy, neat, or accessible as Web Capture in Edge.
picture in picture
For a while now, you’ve been able to enable picture-in-picture (PiP) mode when watching videos in Edge, but it was easy to miss it if you didn’t know that. You had to enable the PiP command button in Edge’s settings, or right-click on a video and select the option from the context menu.
Microsoft has since enabled picture-in-picture control by default. When viewing a video on a website in Edge, a small PiP control button appears at the top of the video window. You can then click this button to continue watching the video in a small flyout window. You can resize the video viewer and move it on the screen if its initial position does not suit you.
Picture-in-picture mode in Edge
Chrome allows picture-in-picture mode for YouTube videos, but it’s not obvious how to enable it. If you don’t know, you need to right-click a video twice and select it from the second pop-up menu. And while the PiP feature in Edge doesn’t work on every video you find online, it does at least work for some that are hosted on sites other than YouTube.
Collections in Edge are kind of like digital mood boards. They are very useful when searching online, as they allow you to group together links, images and text. You may end up with a much neater selection of information, rather than a bunch of bookmarked links.
Edge’s Collections panel
Collections probably aren’t something you’ll use every day, but they’re a great new way to save information on the internet nonetheless. There are extensions for Chrome, like Note Board, that do a similar job. But without adding any software to Chrome, there’s nothing similar in Google’s browser.
See our guide to using Edge Collections for more information on this useful feature.
Chrome is notorious for being a resource-intensive browser, especially if you have multiple tabs open. Edge doesn’t have the same reputation for gobbling up system memory, but it still gives you several performance options, including Efficiency mode.
Enabling Efficiency Mode in Edge
Efficiency mode is activated from the Edge menu. When this mode is enabled, it automatically puts unused tabs to sleep after a specified period. It also slightly limits the CPU usage of Edge, which improves overall PC performance and can also help extend battery life on laptops.
Utility is a relative term. You may think that all of these Edge tools are useful, only a few of them are, or none at all. Edge certainly gives you plenty of options and plenty of ways to customize it to your liking. Now might be a great time to try out Microsoft’s browser and see if it can replace Chrome on your computer.