New Edge Sidebar Adds Useful Features

The latest iteration of Microsoft’s Edge browser now includes a sidebar with a number of useful features. The sidebar displays down the right-hand edge of the browser window and is closed by default. Clicking on an item (icon) in the adjacent menu bar (which is permanently displayed) opens the sidebar containing relevant content.

The collection of tools is especially useful and the Translator automatically identifies the source language and translates text to any language in the world (selectable from a drop-down menu). The Unit converter covers a heap of options including length, mass (weight), temperature, speed, volume, area, pressure, voltage, and even fuel consumption (MPG <-> Km/liter). Very useful for quick conversions. Here in Australia, we use the decimal system while the U.S. uses imperial measurements. So, when I’m shopping around I often need to quickly convert from inches to centimeters.

From Top To Bottom:

  • Search: Opens a Bing search dialogue box which, considering there is already a search dialogue box smack in the middle of the browser window, seems a tad superfluous – read unnecessary
  • Discovery: Displays information about the current webpage, such as traffic and visitor demographics
  • Tools: Opens up a number of useful tools including a World clock, Calculator, Dictionary (word definition lookup), Translator, Unit converter, and Internet speed test
  • Games: Play games in the browser. A large collection of in-browser games covering all genres
  • Office: Loads Microsoft Office online (free with a Microsoft account). Please read: Microsoft Office Full Version Free – Online
  • Outlook: Loads the Outlook.com inbox (for those with an Outlook.com email account)
  • Customize (Plus Sign): Provides options to switch features on or off

Opening the Games option provides a list of games you can play in-browser. I’m not much into games myself but there is a huge selection covering most genres. They are simple games, of course, but many look like they could be fun to while away some spare time.

I checked my internet speed using the Internet speed test tool and the results came back pretty much as anticipated, which suggests that the test is quite accurate.

Unfortunately, because the sidebar displays full-length, I’m unable to show you in full but here are a couple of samples taken from the Tools menu:


All-in-all, Edge’s new sidebar definitely adds appeal. As I mentioned earlier, the included Tools are particularly appealing, providing quick and easy access to a number of very useful tools. I do believe Microsoft is on the right track with its Edge browser and, under steady development, it’s finally transforming into the browser it always should have been. Look out Google! 🙂

9 thoughts on “New Edge Sidebar Adds Useful Features”

  1. Vincent Lord

    Jim, I tried the initial method you posted to turn it on which did not activate the sidebar. Upon further investigation It turns out there is a switch in the settings that must be turned on first for it to work.
    Settings/Appearance/Customize Toolbar/Show Sidebar
    Hope this helps others who may be looking. BTW, this only appears on the latest update to Edge, so you also have to do a manual update if you are on a delayed update cycle.

    1. Hey Vincent,

      Edge updated automatically here and the sidebar was enabled by default. I am not registered for any advanced builds. Edge is my default browser, maybe that makes a difference.

      Appreciate the heads up for others who might be in the same situation as yourself though, thanks.

  2. Hi Jim,
    When Chrome Edge first came out, it was lean and I made it my main browser. But now MS is loading the browser with useless bloat.

    For example,
    Find deals with coupons
    “Buy now, pay later,” or BNPL
    Games button

    Take BNPL, Do I really want my browser to allow me to buy something now and pay back the owed money in 4 installments over 6 weeks??? Why is this in a browser? OK, if I really need that, make it an addon.

    Anyhow, I switched a while ago from Edge as my main browser.

    1. I agree 100% JD. The coupons feature is nothing but a nuisance. I don’t see the BNPL option here (in Australia), perhaps it’s only available in certain countries, but it sure is a very bad idea for a browser to be pushing this type of service. When it comes to money grubbing schemes, Microsoft has no shame.

      I’d be interested to hear what browser you are using JD?

        1. I thought that might be the case JD. I’ve always been a huge Firefox fan myself but was forced to give it away when I started encountering more and more webpages that weren’t rendering properly.

  3. Now if only MS can make it so the browser from crashing, Presently the ONLY reason I’m keeping Edge is the open tab feature that puts those to sleep. In my case if I dare to open one of my bookmarks BAM! Edge lists Edge is not responding. Only fix is to close the browser, I’ve tried all of the items to fix, none works.

  4. Jim, from January 2023 on, Google will block extensions that rely on Manifest V2 in Chrome. There is an Enterprise-policy that extends the cut-off date to June 2023. From June 2023 onward, Manifest V2 extensions are no longer supported. Installed extensions will not run anymore and new extensions can’t be installed at all in Chrome anymore.

    UBlock Origin (and other extensions) will no longer work. uBlock Origin Minus just came out but it is not nearly as good as the original. Apparently, there is a 30,000 rule limit in chrome per extension which severely limits extensions like this.

    I think you should do a more in-depth article on browser alternatives to Chrome for when Manifest v3 comes out. For example, Brave has a built-in blocker and will allow Manifest v2 extensions to run (but doesn’t currently have an extension store and all v2 extensions will be removed from the Chrome store).

    1. The move from Manifest V2 to Manifest V3 is a complex and fluid situation JD and certain to affect all browsers to an extent.

      How Chromium-based browsers are going to deal with the move remains largely guesswork. Except for Edge where MS has already announced it will be following the Google blueprint.

      Maybe later, when things are more certain.

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