Here’s a practical guide on how to productively use the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser: download it, change the default search engine, install extensions, and more.
- Download Microsoft Edge
- Change the default search engine
- Install extensions from Chrome web store
- Set the dark theme
- Configure one or more profiles
- Become an insider
Download for any platform
No matter if you are on Windows 10, 8, 7 or on Mac OS, you can download Microsoft Edge for your computer.
Change the default search engine
After you installed it, the first thing you want to do is to change your default search engine to Google or DuckDuck (unless you really like Bing). You can do that from the Settings panel, Privacy and Services tab.
- Click on the
- Select “Settings”
- Selecte “Privacy and services” in the left menu
- (scroll down to the bottom)
- Click “Address bar”
- Select your favourite search engine from the “Search engine used in the address bar” drop down
Microsoft Edge has its own marketplace for extensions, but on Microsoft Edge you can also install extensions from the Chrome web store.
When you visit the Chrome Web Store, Edge shows a blue bar on top telling you that you can install extensions from there. Just click the “Allow extensions from other stores” button and you’re good to go.
How to set the dark theme
If you like dark themes on development stuff like I do, you can activate the dark theme from the Settings panel, Appearance tab.
- Click on the
- Select “Settings”
- Select “Appearance”
- Select “Dark” from the “Theme” drop down
If you are a Chrome user, at your first usage of Microsoft Edge everything gets magically migrated from Chrome to Edge. At least, that’s what happened to me when I started using Edge Dev some months ago.
You might be interested in creating one or more profile and sync options, so that when you use Edge on your other devices (PC, Other PC, Mac, etc.) you find your passwords, autofill options and browsing history at hand.
Become an insider
You can also be an insider and use Microsoft Edge early releases. There are 3 channels: Beta, Dev and Canary.
- Canary is the most frequently updated (updated every day) but also the most unstable
- Beta is the less frequently updated (every 6 weeks) so is the more stable
- Dev is updated weekly so it’s more stable than the Canary, but less stable than the Beta.
Download any of the above in the Microsoft Edge Insider Channels page.
I personally used Microsoft Edge Dev as my primary browser for months on both Mac and Windows for leisure and development purposes with a very high level of satisfaction. Unfortunately, the latest Dev and Canary versions have stopped working on one of my machines starting January 9th, but I already reported it to Microsoft and I expect a fix soon.
Is this the end of Internet Explorer?
There are still companies using Internet Explorer for some compatibility reasons (old web-based tools or intranet websites). This version of Edge features an “Internet Explorer Mode” so those companies can finally set Microsoft Edge as default browsers for their workers, who will be able to browse the web using a modern browser, without breaking their old tools functionality.
Help the web
If you know companies that are still using Internet Explorer for some compatibility reasons, you should tell them.
And if you are a web developer like me, you should definitely give Microsoft Edge a try both to test and to develop your websites.