Microsoft Edge finally gains a key feature: browser extensions.
Microsoft Edge with extensions is rolling out as part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Windows Insiders have been testing the feature for a few months. Sadly, the selection of extensions remains scarce, though more are expected soon.
We have put the handful of extensions listed on Microsoft’s official Edge extensions page (and in the Windows Store) to the test and show you which ones we consider most worthwhile.
How to Install Microsoft Edge Extensions
Microsoft Edge extensions can be installed through the Windows Store. To see the full list of available extensions, open the Windows Store, select Apps from the menu, scroll down to Extensions for Microsoft Edge, and — if you don’t already see the extension you’re looking for — click Show all towards the left-hand side of the list.
Now click the extension you would like to install and click the Free button; at this point, all Edge extensions are free. The Store will automatically download and install the respective extension. When the installation has completed, you’ll see a Store notification in your Action Center.
Once you log into Microsoft Edge, the browser will notify you that you have a new extension and ask you to Turn it on or Keep it off.
Should you ever change your mind, head to More (three dots) in the top right, select Extensions, click to the extension in question, and turn it On or Off by toggling the respective switch.
Here you can also toggle the address bar button or Uninstall the extension. You can of course uninstall extensions through the Windows Store too.
Extensions for Microsoft Edge
With so few extensions available (13 as of writing this article), we could actually test them all. Here we present the 10 that we think you will appreciate most. They are ranked according to their overall Windows Store rating. Note that the extension links below will open in the Store.
Store rating: 4.7 (37 ratings of all versions)
Power mouse users will love this extension. With Mouse Gestures enabled, you can control Edge with simple mouse movements. A right-click on the page, followed by a gesture will toggle an activity like going back one page, opening a new tab, or scrolling to the bottom.
The app supports the four basic gestures shown above (left, right, up, down) and 12 advanced gestures. You can go with the default settings or you can choose from one of 17 actions (including “no action”) from the drop-down menu next to it. To see a quick overview of your mouse gestures, make a random gesture, e.g. a circle, and a complete list will pop up in your browser window.
Mouse Gestures is an extension developed by Microsoft and it works very well. The only thing we find strange is that Microsoft put so much emphasis on mouse gestures and — beyond basic gestures — nothing comparable is available for touch gestures. Edge is a touch-first browser after all.
Store rating: 4.4 (25 ratings of all versions)
You won’t see the Reddit Enhancement Suite (RES) listed in Edge because it only springs to life once you visit Reddit.
To enhance your Reddit browsing experience, RES will make all your threads bottomless, you can view images inline, toggle night mode for after dark reading, use keyboard shortcuts to browse Reddit, effortlessly switch accounts, and tag users you’d like to follow. When you first use RES, a quick tour will show you everything you need to know. To manually review RES tips & tricks, hover the mouse over the cogwheel in the top right and wait for the menu to show up.
To change your settings, access individual RES modules, and generally learn more about the suite, head to the RES settings console.
This extensions doesn’t have any ratings yet and we didn’t identify any big issues either. We do recommend to back up your settings. If you’re switching to Edge from another browser and have previously used RES, you can also restore your settings.
Store rating: 4.1 (7 ratings of current version)
Save to Pocket lets you save articles and videos for later and the extension couldn’t be more basic. You click the Save to Pocket button and the website is added to your collection. You can add tags while you’re saving or you can change your mind and remove the page you just pocketed.
Per default, Pocket uses the keyboard shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + S, but you can record a new shortcut on the extension’s options page.
Store rating: 3.9 (47 ratings of the current version)
This is one of the better-rated extensions, but its abilities are very limited. Microsoft Translator translates websites written in a foreign language. When you visit such a age, the Microsoft Translator icon will appear in the address bar. Click the icon to translate the entire page or go back to the original page. On the extension’s option page you can choose which language to translate to.
Unfortunately, the extension does not let you translate individual words or sentences. It’s all or nothing. That’s if the translator recognizes the page needs translation, which sometimes it doesn’t.
Store rating: 3.8 (5 ratings of all versions)
This extension exists to improve online shopping, by “giving you access to Deal of the Day, Product Comparison, Wish List and Shortcuts to your favorite Amazon destinations.” For us, the Amazon Assistant didn’t work until we restarted Edge. After a brief tour, we were off to becoming better shoppers.
If you’re an avid shopper, you may find this extension and its personal recommendations useful, especially if you love discovering good deals. If you need to watch your spendings, however, you’re probably better off without it.
Store rating: 3.4 (21 ratings of all versions)
Office Online is Microsoft’s free online office suite. This extension offers quick access to your recently used Office files, as well as files stored on OneDrive and your local computer. Shortcuts provide quick access to creating a new file.
Opening recently used files works well and could be useful if you frequently work with Office Online or OneNote. Opening files from OneDrive, however, isn’t easier or more convenient with this extension; you could just open OneDrive and it would probably be faster.
When you try to open a non-Office file from your computer, the extension will remind you that you need to “choose a file created with Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.” That’s fine for audio or video files, but when you just want to view a text document or a PDF, this seems rather limited. What’s worse, opening proper Office documents did nothing, at least until our patience ran out.
Store rating: 3.2 (6 ratings of all versions)
Evernote is an alternative to bookmarks. This web clipper lets you save entire pages — or parts of them — to your favorite note-taking website.
The extension works well, but if you compare the video above to what’s available on Microsoft Edge, you’ll see that not all features made the transfer. For example, you can’t take a screenshot and annotate it, possibly because this would compete with a native Edge feature. Meanwhile, the LinkedIn tweak works fine.
Store rating: 2.9 (19 ratings of current version) and 2.8 (127 rations of all versions)
In a time when you just have to be serious about secure passwords, you can’t live without a tool to remember all your login credentials. LastPass is the first password manager available for Microsoft Edge, making it a true cross-platform app.
In our test, LastPass worked like a charm and if you’ve used it with another browser, the interface will be familiar. Selecting the icon from the address bar or the More menu will open the Last Pass menu, which in turn lets you search and open your vault, review your secure notes and form fills, or generate a secure password.
The app comes with one caveat: You can’t easily copy a password or username. Even when you’re inside your vault, you have to edit the respective entry, show the password, and then copy it.
Store rating: 2.6 (40 ratings of all versions) and 1.8 (5 ratings of current version)
Even on Edge, the OneNote Web Clipper is far less advanced than its competitor, the Evernote Web Clipper. You can clip full pages or simplified article versions, choose a location, and add a note. The only added benefit compared to the Evernote Web Clipper is that you can highlight text and change the font size when you clip as article.
Comments from some older ratings claim that the clipper isn’t working. This issue appears to have been fixed because the OneNote Web Clipper saved our clips just fine. Nevertheless, the most recent version of the extension has received poor ratings.
10. Pin It Button
Store rating: n/a
The Pin It Button for Microsoft Edge is a simple and straight forward Pinterest extension. Use it on any website and the extension will suggest potential pins. Choose one and you’ll be redirected to a pop-up window where you can edit the pin’s text and pick a board or create a new one. At the same time, you can also post the pin to Facebook and Twitter.
The extension did have one 5 star rating during the past 30 days, but that’s hardly enough to base a ranking on.
Other Extensions Are Available
A note about ad blocking extensions: Microsoft Edge has them. We appreciate that ads can negatively affect your browsing experience. We don’t like that either. However, it’s this small sacrifice that allows websites like ours to exist. If you do use ad blocking and appreciate our content, we urge you to white-list MakeUseOf.com. Thank you!
Surfing the Edge
Whether you’ve considered switching to Microsoft Edge from Firefox or are a die-hard Chrome user, it might have been the lack of browser extensions that was holding you back. With that limitation out of the way and several great extensions available, the browser choice becomes much harder. And if you’re still missing a key feature, maybe there’s a bookmarklet for it.
In our browser comparison, Edge was on par with Chrome. Most importantly, its performance was way ahead of the other browsers in our test. According to Microsoft, Edge will even save your battery life.
Over to you! Are these extensions enough to make you try Microsoft Edge? If you have already tried it, what did you like best and least about it? Let us know what you think in the comments.