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How to use Microsoft Edge, Windows 10's new browser

Mark Hachman | July 28, 2015
Microsoft's Edge aspires to be your browser for the modern Web, the board on which you surf the Internet within Windows 10. It's certainly functional. But how do you use it effectively? We can show you.

One other note: at press time, Edge lacks support for any and all extensions: ad blockers, LastPass password management, and the like. They're due out this fall (or slightly later), when Edge will gain many more customization options.

Cortana

Microsoft's digital assistant, Cortana, is built into Edge, but she's also the one option that's not explicitly displayed. And for right now, she serves a very distinct purpose: providing context and further information. Let's say that you've rented the Pixar movie Ratatouille,  and you quite reasonably wondered what in the world ratatouille is. In Edge, all you need to do is highlight the word, right-click, and scroll down to "open with Cortana." A small vertical sidebar will appear, sliding in from the right. In it you should find much more information about what this French dish actually is.

For now, those are the limits of Cortana's expertise. I haven't noticed any particular integration with the "main" Cortana of Windows 10. In other words, it doesn't appear that searching for a French dish will encourage Cortana to direct you to nearby French restaurants.

Reading View

I like Reading View, both as a writer and a user. The premise is simple: Reading View strips out all the cruft around an article--all the extraneous ads, navigation bars, everything. But it does so after it loads the page. This allows sites like PCWorld to receive revenue, but still allows you to enjoy a pure reading experience. It's a simple, workable compromise.

Favorites

We've already discussed how to import Favorites above. To save a tab to your list of Favorites, just click the Favorite (star) icon. You can save it in a new folder, or an existing folder. You also have the option of saving an article to the Reading List, which is essentially a temporary bookmark of a story you want to read, but not keep forever.

The Hub

But wait! you cry. Shouldn't I be able to organize my Favorites in... Favorites? Nope! For that, you'll need to move next door to the Hub.

The Hub is broken down into four submenus: the Favorites, the Reading List, History, and Downloads. The latter two don't need much explanation.

The Hub > Favorites menu is where you actually organize your Favorites. You can move folders up and down, drag bookmarks (or Favorites) back and forth, and generally reorganize things to your heart's content. If you move items back and forth in the Favorites Bar folder, you'll see those items dynamically adjust in the Favorites Bar itself. No, there's no auto-alphabetizing, and you can't drag folders into folders to create subfolders.

Web Notes

For me, Web Notes are Edge's most controversial feature. Microsoft has intimated that Web Notes should be regarded as something amazing, and yet they're actually rather mundane. But that doesn't mean they're not useful. 

 

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