Except for ChatGPT, the AI chatbot that has recently become a big hit, Edge is still a crazy pile of material in terms of basic browsing functions, and has become a bit bloated without realizing it. But with a more modern look, clearer font rendering and some clever little features, it’s a real treat to look at. This article summarizes a few of the small features that Edge has added, is pushing, and will soon be available for you to experience while you wait in line for the new chatbot.
When reading material, it’s natural to have two pages open at the same time and compare them. In the past, I usually unscrewed the tabs that needed to be placed on one side from the current browser window, and then used Windows’ own sticky layout feature or a widget like PowerToys FancyZones to complete the split screen – these solutions were naturally no big deal.
So Edge’s recent addition of the “Split Window” feature has naturally led to some controversy: after enabling the “Split Screen button” in Edge’s Settings > Appearance > Customize Toolbar, a Split Screen button will appear in the browser toolbar. When you click it, Edge will place the tab you are currently browsing on the left side of the window, and then you can display other tabs or new tabs that are currently open side by side on the right side.
The interaction and operation of the split screen feature is basically based on the split screen feature in mainstream operating systems: the side of the window in focus is marked by a highlighted border, and the width of the page on both sides can be adjusted by dragging the small handle in the middle of the page. For the opening position of new links in this mode, the round button in the upper right corner of the window also provides two ways to handle the current page and open from left to right. Overall, the functionality is quite complete. But at least on the Windows platform, it does what is possible with Windows system features at this stage. In the already bloated browser experience, splitting the window is still not much of a differentiator compared to the system features such as Windows Docking and Docking Group Memory, and it’s hard to convince me to change my long-held web browsing habits for this reason.
If the split screen feature is still being tested (after all, it’s not even named), the file transfer feature called Drop should be the “main” feature of the latest stable update. It’s still enabled in Settings > Appearance > Customize Toolbar, and you can turn it on manually via the edge://flags/#edge-drop feature tag. Drop is easy to understand what you want to achieve. If you can’t work without a browser window open at all times, it’s best to leave the need to transfer text, files or images across devices to the browser as a one-stop solution. Click the little airplane icon in the toolbar to launch the Drop pane (the sidebar again), then drag and drop files into it to complete the transfer, with the transfer speed and file size depending on your OneDrive service – yes, OneDrive is the repository behind the Drop feature. If you’re subscribed to Microsoft 365 and have good network access, this feature is the icing on the cake. In addition to being readily accessible in other Edge browsers (including mobile) that are signed into the same account, the transferred content is also backed up in a new directory of Microsoft Edge Drop Files in your OneDrive.
In the above mentioned split screen feature, it is hard not to think of another feature that was added earlier and might also be criticized as synonymous with “bloat”: the sidebar. The Edge team must have a lot of ‘lazy’ users, otherwise they wouldn’t have developed so many browser features that take advantage of vertical space. Fortunately, the sidebar works just as well as the vertical tabs. The built-in search function allows you to use the sidebar to call search services for parallel operations like Chrome, but you can also choose to search directly within the current tab page. Most importantly, the sidebar allows us to manually add any web page other than Microsoft’s own services, and by default invokes the mobile browser logo for web requests. You can open the PWA page at work and hang on to it to learn knowledge at any time, you can put the article previews that you need to pull out your phone to check in the desktop browser window to confirm the style, or you can throw the information site in to complete the “purification” and meet the basic information access needs through a more refreshing and pure mobile version, and you can even use the sidebar as a light version of your phone with full notification push function after putting some web pages/web applications into the sidebar.
Built-in Adobe Acrobat Reader
For ordinary users with few professional needs, Edge has always been the best free PDF reader on the Windows platform. But Microsoft has confirmed that in the upcoming March update, Edge will abandon the existing built-in PDF reader and integrate Adobe Acrobat. From the current information released by Microsoft, we abandoned the existing built-in PDF reader, free to enjoy the basic features provided by Acrobat PDF reader, including higher resolution and color accuracy of image rendering, better performance, better accessibility optimization and stronger security; PDF features have higher requirements for users can subscribe through the Acrobat to unlock advanced features, including text and image editing, format conversion, PDF compositing, etc., these additional features will then be achieved through Acrobat’s browser extension.
In general, after the replacement engine PDF reader in free features if the experience can be delivered as expected, in fact, this is not a bad thing – after all, those advanced features related to Acrobat in the existing Edge PDF reader is mostly unsupported. That said, Microsoft Edge also really like this kind of “moving the wood” operation, from Windows WSA to the browser’s Chromium kernel to the PDF reader Acrobat, this trick is really good to user experience.