One year ago, Microsoft launched a very incomplete new Edge for the masses. Today, Edge is in much better shape, and now it’s getting some new features too. Key among them are new themes.
“We’ve heard your requests to make Edge more personal with themes, and today we’re excited to announce that we’ve added over two dozen themes to the Microsoft Edge Add-ons site,” Microsoft’s William Devereux writes. “When you apply a theme, you’ll notice a new background on your new tab page. Your tabs, address bar, and other parts of the browser will also take on the look of the theme for a more immersive experience. We’ve even added support for vertical tabs, a new feature you Insiders have been helping us test.”
As Devereux notes, there is indeed a wide variety of new themes, but I hope you like Halo or other Microsoft video games, because that’s pretty much all I can see in there. More are on the way, of course.
“We’ll continue growing our collection of themes, and in the coming months we’ll be adding support for anyone to submit their own themes,” he adds. “Soon, you’ll even be able to select a theme color directly from the Edge Settings as well.”
And theme support isn’t the only new Edge feature that Microsoft is announcing today. Also new are:
Sidebar search. Now generally available in Microsoft Edge, Sidebar search can be accessed by highlighting a word, right-clicking, and choosing Search. A side panel will open displaying search results so you can get answers without having to navigate away from the current page.
Tab sleeping. Microsoft Edge will now try to boost browser performance by automatically putting unused tabs to sleep, improving memory and CPU resource usage. “When you have several tabs open, it will release system resources for inactive tabs to help power new or existing tabs as well as other applications, preventing slowdowns and sluggishness,” Microsoft says. “To get started, enable the sleeping tabs option in the browser Settings menu.” I recommend not enabling this feature if you rely on tabs keeping you up-to-date as I do; this screws with my email and RSS notifications.
History and tab sync. As I reported earlier, Microsoft is finally bringing browser history and tab sync to the new Edge.
Password generator. As with the new Chrome version released this week, the new Edge is picking up a password generator that will automatically suggest a secure password when you’re changing an existing password or signing up for a new online account.
Email from the New Tab page. Starting this month, you’ll start to see incoming emails from Outlook.com right on Edge’s New Tab page. There’s also a new Outlook smart tile, which displays your three most recent emails, and links for creating a new email message or meeting request. You will need to enable these features first: Open a new tab, select the plus (“+”) sign beside the quick links, and then find Outlook under Suggestions.
Automatic profile switching on macOS. Automatic Profile Switching finally makes its way to macOS this month, letting Mac users switch between work and home profiles automatically when visiting specific sites. You will need to make sure your organization enabled the automatic profile feature first.
Fluent Design icons. Microsoft Edge is finally starting to add some Fluent design system elements to its UI, starting with icons. In the latest version of Edge, you will see “subtle updates to icons in Microsoft Edge that are rounder and softer in appearance,” Microsoft says. “They are built from a consistent key-line and grid which allows for more visual consistency when scanning menus, lists, etc. This is just the beginning of our design journey and we’re already imagining how to bring Fluent design throughout our products.”
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