It isn’t quite time to give up Chrome just yet, but Microsoft is continuing to improve the Windows 10 browser and it is getting more support from extension developers. There are actually some quite good ones!
When Windows 10 launched and people looked at the new Edge browser, it didn’t have much to offer compared to Chrome, or even Firefox. For a start, it did not support extensions. This alone was reason enough for many Chrome and Firefox users to ignore Edge.
It took a whole year for Microsoft to add support for extensions to Edge and the feature was included in the Anniversary Update last year. The problem was, there was such a tiny collection of extensions it wasn’t worth bothering with.
It seems only a few months ago that there still weren’t any Edge extensions worth mentioning and the number never seemed to grow. It was stuck at just over 10 or so.
Take another look at extensions for Edge and you may be surprised to see quite a reasonable collection. There are around 70 now and the number seems to have ballooned recently.
There are many hundreds and possibly thousands of Chrome extensions and they are more varied than Edge, but it is nice to see Edge progressing.
Find Edge extensions
- To browse the extensions for Edge, open the browser in Windows 10
- Click the three dots in the top right corner to show the menu
- Click Extensions
- Click Get extensions from the Store
- The Windows Store app opens and lists all the extensions as tiles
- Click an extension to view the details page
- Click the get button to install it
Don't forget to activate the extensions and bear in mind the permissions (they aren't any different to extensions in other browsers).
Try these Edge extensions
As with any collection of browser extensions, there are good ones and bad ones. Here is just a very small number I looked at recently. There are dozens more.
Turn off The Lights for Microsoft Edge is an Edge version of an extension that has been in other browsers for quite a long time. It is designed to make watching videos on video sharing websites like YouTube, Vimeo and others easier on the eye.
When a video starts playing in the browser, clicking the extension on the menu dims everything in the browser window except the video. It is a bit like when the lights dim at the cinema and the movie begins playing. It reduces distractions and lets you focus on the video.
It is useful to a degree - I click the full-screen button when watching videos anyway, but if you do watch the standard size video window on the page, it is worth trying.
Microsoft OneNote was one of the first extensions for Edge and it enables you to save web pages, articles, and URLs to OneNote notebooks. Now there is an alternative and Evernote is a popular choice for many people. The features are similar to OneNote and you can save the article, a simplified article, the full page or a bookmark.
After saving the web clipping to your Evernote account, sharing options let you share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other places. It is a useful extension for people researching topics using the internet. Other browsers have had it for years, but it is nice to see it in Edge.
LastPass password manager has been an Edge extension for a long time, but now there are alternatives and RoboForm enables you to access the passwords stored in your RoboForm Everywhere account. There is a free version of RoboForm, but a subscription account is needed to access your passwords across multiple devices.
If you use Norton Identity Safe vault to store your passwords, the extension for Edge makes accessing your passwords easier. Keeper for Microsoft Edge enables you to access encrypted Keeper databases in which your passwords, notes and other information is stored. A subscription is needed to access your passwords anywhere.
It is good to have options, but the free version of LastPass is all most people need.
The Grammarly website can be used to analyse your writing and suggest edits to fix grammar problems, typing slips and spelling mistakes. However, the Grammarly browser extension adds those capabilities to text you enter into web pages, like blogs, forms, web page comments and so on..
Now there is a Grammarly extension for Edge and it works the same as in other browsers. When you click in a box on a web page to enter some text, Grammarly checks what you type. It points out mistakes and suggests corrections and improvements. A free account at the Grammarly website is all you need to use the basic grammar checking features.
I have barely scratched the surface of the extensions available for Edge and there are dozens more. It is still early days and some extensions I use in Chrome are still not available for Edge. However, it is good to see the range of extensions for the Windows 10 browser growing, even if it is a very slow growth.