Microsoft Edge web browser has a number of features which make it useful in an educational context. So if you’re not yet using it you might want to have a look, and if you are already using it you may find it worthwhile to explore some of the features you may have yet to discover!
First – a quick overview of Microsoft Edge web browser
For a quick overview by Microsoft’s Mike Tholfsen of the Top Ten Features for Microsoft Edge web browser watch this short video below – it includes: Vertical Tabs; Read Aloud and Immersive Reader; QR code generator; Collections; Web Capture (screenshot); Profiles; Privacy Settings for Tracking; PDF Read Aloud and Ink/Draw on PDF; Sync Edge extensions and other info; and Dark mode.
And as a follow up to the above video here’s 7 latest features on Microsoft Edge web browser, video by Microsoft’s Mike Tholfsen. This includes features as follows: Sleeping tabs; Kids Mode; Immersive Reader for Wikipedia; Word Definitions for PDF; PDF Two page view; Math Solver; and Colour themes
For a short overview video from Microsoft Education, presented in a fun way, about the top 5 tips for educators on Microsoft Edge watch the video below – covers: 1. Read Aloud and Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge (including illustrating a shortcut to access this by typing read:// before the http part of any web address); 2. Collections – where you can collect content across the web as you are browsing (just a quick click on collections + Add current page), and if you wish you can then share that collection content by exporting elsewhere such as OneNote, Excel or Word. You can also add sticky notes to your collection so you can remind yourself of information about any part of what you have stored in the collection; 3. Web Capture – a really handy tool when you want to capture an image of any part of a web page you are browsing – simply use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+S or access from the … menu in Edge. You can choose a whole screen image or to capture a specific area you choose, you can draw on the image to highlight any aspect, and then either copy and paste elsewhere or save as an image for use later; 4. Profiles – to keep your school and personal profiles separate or if different members of your family at home, perhaps, are sharing the same device so they can use different profiles; 5. PDF inking – to annotate directly on PDFs within Edge and you can write comments, or highlight text – and then save the annotated version of the pdf for sharing elsewhere.
Accessibility features on Edge web browser
One of the main benefits for learners is that Microsoft Edge web browser has a host of accessibility features including Read Aloud so that you can hear the text on any web page read aloud as the words being read are highlighted in turn. Click on this link for more details about specific accessibility features of Microsoft Edge browser
Immersive Reader is built into the browser on laptop/desktop (though only available on some webpages – look for the “book+speaker” icon in the web address bar) so that you can reduce the clutter of webpages by showing text in your choice of background, spacing of letters and words, Boardmaker graphics dictionary, parts of speech, syllables, and translation facility for single words or all content. Note that even if you don’t see the Immersive Reader Icon in the address bar on the web page you are viewing, you can still view the text in Immersive Reader, you simply have to select text, then right-click, and from the menu choose Open in Immersive Reader. Click on this link for a helpguide to using Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge web browser
Watch the video from CALL Scotland demonstrating how to access Immersive Reader in the Edge web browser on an iPad (though only available on some webpages – look for the “book+speaker” icon in the web address bar) – this video also highlights the use of the microphone tool to speak into your device when searching in the browser as an additional aid to accessibility. Note that there are fewer options within Immersive Reader options on the mobile device compared to the desktop/laptop (fewer choices of background colour, varying of text size and spacing, and read aloud with highlighting of words)
Collections in Edge web browser
The Collections feature in Edge web browser lets you browse the web and, as you explore and come across something you wish to keep, just pop it into your Collections as you are browsing (just a quick click on the collections icon in your Edge toolbar or go to … > collections + Add current page or use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Y – you can even select an image or text and drag it across to the Collections sidebar to save it in a collection), and if you wish you can then share that collection content by exporting elsewhere such as OneNote, Excel or Word. You can also add sticky notes to your collection so you can remind yourself of information about any part of what you have stored in the collection. If you have signed in to your profile in the Edge browser it then means that when you sign in on a different device elsewhere you can also access your collection from there and continue adding wherever you are signed in.
Watch the video below about Collections in Edge
Math Solver in Microsoft Edge web browser
The Math Solver tool within Microsoft Edge web browser lets learners highlight a maths problem from the web (such as on a worksheet, perhaps a pdf, but it’s also possible to capture an image of handwritten maths problem or use the inbuilt on-screen math solver keyboard) just by opening the Math Solver tool from the Edge web browser toolbar and selecting the problem on screen (highlight and drag just as if you were taking a screen captured image). Then by clicking “solve,” within a few seconds the Maths Solver tool will present the answer, and you can choose to reveal the steps to solve the problem and also the Maths Solver tool will highlight tutorials videos, where available, which might help to explain how the solution can be found.
Note that to use the Maths Solver tool from the toolbar in your Microsoft Edge web browser you would need to enable it in the Edge browser settings: navigate to the settings menu (…) in the top right corner of the browser > open More Tools > select Math Solver
Profiles in Microsoft Edge web browser
If you often use more than one account (such as a school and a personal account or another organisation) you can use Microsoft Edge web browser Profiles feature – just click on the profile icon at the top right then sign in with your first account, the return there to add any additional profile. This lets you remain signed into the associated account (with all login details and settings specific to each). This can be useful, for instance, if you use the web browser to access Microsoft Teams with different accounts. Click here for a support guide to using profiles in Microsoft Edge web browser
If you want to capture an image of a web page, or a specific part of a web page, then Edge has the web capture feature just for that. Just use the … menu to choose web capture or use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+S – this lets you capture a whole screen or to draw round a specific part. You can save directly elsewhere as an image, or use the copy icon to then paste it into another application. You can additionally also draw on your captured image to annotate as you wish before saving elsewhere.
If you open a pdf file within the Edge browser you can annotate directly on the pdf file – whether to outline or underline in a variety of colours, or handwrite a comment, or use the highlighter tool to highlight selected text – and then save the annotated version of the pdf for sharing elsewhere.
Watch the video below by Mike Tholfsen showing how to ink and read aloud on PDFs with Microsoft Edge browser
QR Code generator
A handy feature of the Microsoft Edge web browser is the QR code generator – if you have any web page open and you want to have a QR code created to share with others as an image so they can quickly use their device to get to the same content, without the need for typing a long weblink address. To get the QR code simply go to the web page you want > click on the weblink address (the bit which usually starts http://…etc) > and you’ll see the QR code generator icon will appear to the right-hand side of the web address > click on the “Create QR code for this page” square-shaped icon > the generated QR code will appear which can be scanned immediately (on a mobile device QR code app or some have it built into the camera tool) or click on the download button to save as an image for sharing elsewhere.
Quick access to Microsoft Office 365 on the web
If you’re signed into your Microsoft Office 365 account in Microsoft Edge web browser then you have a quick access to your Office 365 navigation waffle so you can get straight to your OneDrive, Word Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote notebooks, etc – handy if you are sharing content from Edge Collections straight to Word, Excel or OneNote – just go to your collections and click share from your selected collection and, once you’re logged in, it will copy the content (the links, the saved images, the sticky notes, just as you saved them in collections).
Want to explore more about Microsoft Edge web browser?
Introduction to Microsoft Edge – a landing page for Microsoft Edge with a focus on how it supports the use of the Edge web browser in education. This page highlights through a selection of videos and quicklinks the features of Microsoft Edge web browser which teachers and learners may find of most use in an educational context, such as Immersive Reader and Read Aloud so that web page text can be read line by line with a focus feature, or listen to webpages as you might do with an audio podcast. Links here include the Microsoft Edge video playlist in YouTube;
Microsoft Edge Help and Learning is a one-stop support site for how-to guides and quick tips and answers to questions about using Microsoft Edge web browser, from getting started guides, privacy and security settings guides, personalisation steps, to trouble-shooting and specific guides for the Edge browser on iOS and Android mobile devices.
For a quick visual overview of features of Microsoft Edge web browser click on this link– lets you quickly get an overview by clicking on each category icon covering: customising and personalising with extensions of your choice; Microsoft edge Kids Mode; syncing passwords, favourites and settings between devices; InPrivate mode; Microsoft Defender Smartscreen for extra protection against malicious content; controlling tracking; colour themes, PDF tools; collections for sharing and organising your content
For a quick interactive click-and-explore guided tour of Microsoft Edge web browser click on this link – this shows how to Find Your Favourites; Install Extensions; and Try Collections – each clickable step highlights where to access the specific feature and tells you more about the feature
Edge in Education course on the Microsoft Educator Centre http://aka.ms/MECEdgeCourse – entitled “Enrich the learning experience in Edge browser” this free on-demand online course has a specific focus on how educators can make use of the Microsoft Edge web browser to support learning and teaching. Access it when you choose, and be guided through the features of the Microsoft Edge web browser and their application in education settings. There’s a mix of explanatory text and videos, and once you have successfully completed the course you will achieve a badge or micro-credential in recognition of this.
Follow Microsoft Edge on Twitter for regular tips about using Microsoft Edge web browser