Microsoft Windows may be the most popular operating system in the entire world, but the same can’t be said about it’s built-in web browser. Internet Explorer was once one of the most widely used browsers with 95% of people opting to use it. Popularity began to wane in 2004 with the release of Mozilla Firefox and never really recovered.
For years Internet Explorer struggled to keep up with the faster, more sophisticated browsers available. The result was a backlash that saw Internet Explorer become the butt of many Internet jokes and memes. In 2015 it was announced that Internet Explorer would finally be discontinued. Its successor, Microsoft Edge, would face stiff competition from Chrome and Firefox, not to mention having to live in the shadow of IE’s tarnished reputation.
Microsoft Edge ended up being a pleasant surprise but not without problems. With a sleek, modern interface and fairly quick performance, Edge has the foundation to “edge” out the competition. One thing that has been preventing people from making the switch to Edge is its lack of extension support. With the Windows 10 Anniversary update, Edge now supports extensions. While there aren’t many available (yet), there are a few that are worth installing.
How to Install Extensions
Extensions for Microsoft Edge are available through the Windows store. Open up the Windows store and click on Apps in the top-left corner. Scroll down to the row labeled “Extensions for Microsoft Edge.” Click on “Show all” to reveal all of the available extensions. Alternatively, you can install extensions directly from the Edge browser. Click on the ellipses in the right hand corner, select Extensions and finally Get extensions from Store.
At the time of this writing, there are only thirteen extensions available, considerably less than Chrome or Firefox. It is safe to assume that more extensions will become available in the future.
Once you’ve found one you like, simply click on it, and Windows will download and install it automatically. When the installation is finished, you’ll receive a notification in the Action Center. The Action Center can be opened by clicking the dialogue box in the far right of the task bar.
Once you fire up Microsoft Edge, it will let you know that a new extension has been installed. The browser will notify you of the permissions afforded to the extension. It will also give you the option of turning the extension on or off. This is a one-time occurrence, so whatever you choose will stick until you change your mind. To turn an extension on or off after your initial choice, click on the ellipses (three dots) in the top-right of Edge. Click on Extensions and toggle the extension in question on or off.
1. Evernote Web Clipper
If you’ve ever used Evernote, then you already know how handy it is. For those who haven’t heard of it, Evernote allows users to save an entire web page, or just selected parts of one. The Evernote extension for Edge isn’t as full-featured as the real deal, most likely because some Evernote features overlap with a few things Edge can do natively. The extension integrates nicely with your existing Evernote account, meaning you can easily share your Edge clippings among devices.
Everyone knows that you’re supposed to have different usernames and passwords for everything. Unfortunately it can be really hard to remember all of them. LastPass is a password manager that aims to take the stress out of trying to recall your password. It is available on virtually every other platform, so if you’re using this one already, its interface will be familiar.
3. Office Online
Remember when Microsoft used to bundle their Office software with Windows? It was a genius marketing ploy that made Microsoft Office the industry standard. Microsoft has now opted for a subscription-based model of their Office software. This requires users to open up their wallets once a year, not exactly appealing to the budget-minded consumer. With the Office Online extension, most will be able to leave their wallets in their pockets. Office Online allows document creation and editing and features integration with your OneDrive account.
4. Mouse Gestures
Is moving the mouse around your screen to access your browser’s navigation buttons putting a damper on your productivity? If so, Mouse Gestures is for you. This extension allows you to perform basic browsing tasks with flicks of the mouse. For example, click the right mouse button and flick the mouse right to left, and your browser will go back to the previous page.
5. Amazon Assistant
Do you have a problem spending? If so, you might want to avoid this one. Amazon’s official Edge extension is like your very own personal shopping assistant. It can learn about your spending habits over time and offer personalized suggestions. The extension will allow you to compose wishlists and notify you of the Deal of the Day.
While popular browsers like Chrome and Firefox have a much wider variety of extensions available, Edge is looking to close the gap. Microsoft Edge is the underdog, but with continued improvements, it could be a real contender.
Have you installed any extensions for Microsoft Edge? Which ones are your favorites? Which ones did we forget? Let us know in the comments!