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Windows 10 Anniversary Update: What's new with the Microsoft Edge browser

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update brings new features to the Windows 10 Action Center, improvements to pen and touch, among others. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update improves Microsoft Edge with a more refined user experience with some new features, along with Windows Hello native biometrics and Extension support.

Microsoft continues to improve upon Edge to make it the fastest web browsers available. New APIs and web notifications are available, offering a seamless notification experience with the Windows 10 Action Center, and pinned tabs are here for users that need to have browser tabs stay open. Edge touts itself to be a better browser and doesn’t drain your PC battery as much as Google Chrome supposedly does.

Here is a look at what’s new and improved in Microsoft Edge.

Before the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, these Edge Extensions were only available to Windows Insiders. Currently, there are thirteen Edge Extensions available. Amazon Assistant, Evernote Web Clipper, Office Online, LastPass, AdBlock, AdBlock Plus, Page Analyzer, Save to Pocket, Translator for Microsoft Edge, Reddit Enhancement Suite, Mouse Gestures, OneNote Web Clipper, and Pin It Button. Since Edge Extensions work almost identically to Chrome extensions, more Edge Extensions should be available through the Windows Store soon.

The Edge Hub keeps track of all the things you collect on the web. You can view your favorites, reading list, browsing history, or view your current or past downloads. You can even opt to have your browser history cleared each time you close Edge (you indicate what items get cleared). When you are signed in using your Microsoft account (MSA), your favorites and reading list is saved across all of your Windows 10 devices.

Edge allows you to search and get Bing search results directly from the browser address bar, no need to wait for another browser page to load. Searching for movie showtimes, sports events, and concerts will show results directly in the browser address bar. Edge will also show you your browser history and search suggestions if you’ve searched for the item before.

Edge is the is the only browser that lets you write, take notes, highlight, or annotate websites directly through the browser. This is a really neat feature for those of you who utilize pen input on a tablet device.

If you don’t have a Surface Pen, you can just use your fingers or your mouse if you don’t have a touchscreen Windows 10 PC. When you’re finished, you can save and share your website creations with your friends, family, or co-workers through a variety of sharing options.

Reading List

For some websites, you might be interested in reading an article later when you have some free time. With Reading List, you can save your favorite articles and read them later from any of your Windows 10 devices, when signed in with your MSA.

Cortana

Everything is better with Cortana and Microsoft Edge is no different. Cortana is your personal assistant in every area of Windows 10, including Microsoft Edge. In Edge, Cortana gives you helpful information about websites and if you’re shopping online, Cortana offers online coupons to help you save money.

Another way Cortana is helpful in Edge is if you need some help finding more information about anything in Edge, highlight the word or phrase, right-click, and select “Ask Cortana.” Without going to another website with search results, Cortana will show you some useful information about the word or phrase you highlighted.

Ask Cortana is a helpful feature that you might find yourself using often in Microsoft Edge. With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft Edge becomes a better browser and offers a better experience than when “Project Spartan” officially became known as Microsoft Edge.

Settings and everything else

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update brings more UI improvements and bug fixes than new features and capabilities to Microsoft Edge. There are similar features to other browsers, including Google Chrome, with the ability to copy links and words to the clipboard and the ability to “Paste and search.” In addition, Windows 10 tablet users can now swipe right and left to navigate forward and back in Edge.

There are several options available of how to customize your Edge browser experience, not much different from other browsers, like Google Chrome. The main functions in Edge that general users are likely to use the most are Extensions, What’s new and tips, and Settings.

One of the more notable Settings options in Edge is the ability to clear your browser history upon exit as an automatic action. Not only that, but you can choose specifically what items you want to delete from your web history in Edge.

There are other general Edge Settings available, including theme, tab, and homepage options. Advanced settings delve deeper into Edge browser customization; allow you to block pop-ups, change app notification options, privacy, and other Edge options.

Settings aside, one big development in Edge with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update is the new accessibility architecture. Edge now supports modern web standards, including HTML5, CSS3, and ARIA. This means that page structure and content in Edge can work well with accessibility technology. Edge is now a more improved browser experience for users of all abilities; web pages are visually optimized for use with screen readers, form entry is improved for keyboard navigation, as well as other accessibility improvements.

Even with the new Windows 10 Anniversary Update, there are still areas that Microsoft Edge needs to improve in order to better compete with other browsers. Edge needs more features, more capabilities, and above all else, more extensions. While Edge’s progress will take some time, Edge may well be on its way to becoming the browser that everyone will want to use.

Editor’s note: This is the fifth post in a series that goes over the new features of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. This post is ideal for new users who are experiencing the update for the very first time. For those who have been a part of the Insider program, share your thoughts on the Anniversary Update in the comment section below.

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