Software

Ten Microsoft Edge extensions worth installing

Here's our pick of the extensions for the Edge browser available in the Microsoft Store.

It took Microsoft's Edge some time to add an extension model, and extensions are still curated through the Microsoft Store to avoid performance and security issues (developers have to get them approved for distribution, although enterprises can package their own extensions for sideloading).

As a result, although the development model is deliberately similar to make it easy for developers to bring them to Edge, there isn't the mass of extensions for Edge that there are for Chrome and Firefox (141 at the time of writing). However, a number of the best-known extensions have been showing up, like Grammarly for checking your grammar, Mailtrack for checking when Gmail messages have been read and Boomerang for scheduling sending Gmail messages. Here's our pick of the Edge extensions worth getting from the Store.

Password managers

Password managers are increasingly important and LastPass is one of our top picks. You can use the free version on one device or pay a small annual fee to sync passwords and other stored info across all your devices. Edge also has extensions for other password managers like 1Password, RoboForm, Bitwarden, uniqkey, MacAfee Truekey, Myki and Norton Password Manager.

Ad blockers

Malware in ad networks is an ongoing problem, and many users want the option to block browser trackers on web pages. Ublock Origin is our favourite ad blocker, but AdBlock, AdBlock Plus, Ghostery (which specifically blocks trackers rather than ads) and several others are available.

Translation

Chrome has translation built in; if you want to translate web pages in various languages in Edge you'll need to add the Microsoft Translator extension. Unlike other extensions, this puts its button next to the address bar, but you can set it to translate pages from more than 50 languages automatically.

Web clipping

If you use OneNote, you'll need the OneNote Web Clipper to save snips, clips and sections of pages into OneNote — if you use Evernote, there's a similar clipper. If you don't use either, PrintFriendly and PDF removes extraneous ads and navigation from web pages when you print them, and lets you remove sections that you don't need to keep and change the text size (or save them as a PDF with links you can still click).

E-commerce

Unlike the Amazon Assistant extension, the Microsoft Personal Shopping Assistant works on all sites. It pops up on e-commerce pages that have products for sale to make it easier to save products for later along with the price, rating and photo, using your own set of categories. You can also go back and scroll through the autosaved list of products from pages you've browsed even if you haven't specifically saved a product. It's useful for more than shopping: you can also use it to save details of anything that's clearly delineated on a website (like lists of tips or extensions).

Private browsing

You'll want the OpenInPrivate extension, which allows you to right-click on links and open them in an InPrivate tab. It's odd that this isn't built into Edge.

SEE: Secure Browser Usage Policy (Tech Pro Research)

Navigation

Mouse Gestures lets you activate lots of different gestures to speed up navigation inside the browser (using your mouse or trackpad, or an on-screen digital pen), like swiping to go back or forward a page, or drawing 17 customizable gestures to switch, close, open and reload tabs. (You have to right-click first so you're unlikely to activate the gestures by accident).

Microsoft Office

The Office Online extension puts an icon on the browser toolbar, which saves you remembering the right URL for the site if you want to look at a Word document or OneNote notebook in your browser. It also shows the list of Office documents stored in OneDrive that you've worked on recently, and if you have a file stored in a folder that you're not syncing to OneDrive, you can click to upload it to OneDrive so you can look at it in Office Online. That's not ground-breaking, but it's more convenient than going to the website and starting the upload there.

Site-specific extensions

There are a number of extensions that work with specific sites and will be useful if you use those sites. Save to Pocket to save pages to read later; Pinterest Save Button sends the current page to Pinterest; the Reddit Enhancement Suite does everything from changing the background and adding filters to previewing comments and opening images inline (the separate Toolbox extension gives moderators extra tools for working with reddits); F.B. (FluffBusting) Purity offers some similar filtering and customising options for the Facebook site, like hiding sponsored posts and the trending box or filtering out images by type, or using CSS to change the site style; Amazon Assistant gives you quick links to your wish lists and the deal of the day; Enhancer for YouTube and MyTube Companion let you set default quality formats and control autoplay and preploads.

There are also extensions that let you tweak any website. Tampermonkey is the Edge (and Chrome) equivalent of Greasemonkey, with millions of scripts to change the look and feel of sites or add features (you'll want to be cautious with random scripts, as there are security implications to running scripts from unknown sources). GetThemAll downloads all the files available on a site, including images and videos. Night Eye enables dark mode on many websites by automatically adjusting colours, brightness, contrast, saturation and so on. And when you play videos on web pages, Turn Off The Lights greys out everything except the video.

Extensions for developers

Web developers will find a set of useful extensions for testing and checking pages. The BuiltWith extension reports details like the CDN used, the SSL certificate, the server it's running on and what technologies are embedded in the site. Page Analyzer and the Web Developer Checklist scan pages for errors like out-of-date JavaScript prefixes and accessibility issues with colours and contrast (using Vorlon.js and the WebDevCheclist.com list respectively). Spector.js helps developers troubleshoot WebGL, and you can test pages on other browsers (including mobile devices) with the BrowserStack extension. If you're reporting problems rather than fixing them, the Marker.io screen capture extension converts captures straight to Slack messages, JIRA tickets, Asana tasks, GitHub or BitBucket issues, or Trello cards, complete with details of the URL, browser and OS version.

Also see

About Mary Branscombe

Mary Branscombe is a freelance tech journalist. Mary has been a technology writer for nearly two decades, covering everything from early versions of Windows and Office to the first smartphones, the arrival of the web and most things inbetween.

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