One of the best-kept secrets in the digital world, Edge Extensions allow you to add extra capabilities, personalize the browser or link with other programs without burdening your PC with features you won't use. Although the selection of Edge Extensions is a drop in the bucket compared with the thousands of add-ons you can get for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, there are now 70 extensions available.
Microsoft has made extension hunting easy by consolidating all of the Edge Extensions onto a single Microsoft Store page, where you can choose which ones you want. The best part is that all are free to download. Here are our top picks so far.
Symantec's contribution to the evolution of Edge Extensions is its Identity Safe add-on. With this freebie, all you need is a Norton account to be able to encrypt, store and bring up your passwords on demand. Identity Safe adds a gray radar screen icon to the right of Edge's address bar. It is where you sign in to your Norton account and open your vault of login credentials. You can review what Identity Safe holds, add or edit its contents, and even go right to any of the sites you have set up. This provides a good way to test Identity Safe. After everything is set up, Identity Safe is smart enough to ask to include any new websites you go to that require a password.
Getting around and navigating a browser can be daunting, but Mouse Gestures makes it easier by putting the pointer to work for you. Want to go back a page? Swipe left. Feel like going to the bottom of the page? Swipe up and to the right. Mouse Gestures can even reopen a closed tab, return to your home page or even close all of the tabs in the browser. This extension adds a discreet mouse icon to the upper right of Edge that opens a world of browser customization. Despite its name, Mouse Gestures works just as well with a mouse, touchpad or a touch-screen system with a stylus or finger. All told, Mouse Gestures can put 18 separate actions at your fingertips, including the ability to close all tabs except for the current one, stop loading the page and go to the next or previous tab.
Having trouble with the difference between "to" and "too," or forget where the comma goes? Grammarly can help you improve every word you type — from Facebook posts to emails to Mom — provided you do it in the Edge browser. While there's no cost to use the Grammarly's basic service, you'll need to create an account; you can log in using a Facebook or Gmail account. Grammarly's premium service adds things like advice on sentence structure and style for $140 per year. I'm a clumsy typist at best, but whenever I typed incorrect words, misspelled them or had an inconvenient capital letter, Grammarly found and underlined them. This worked regardless of whether I was writing an email in Outlook or putting together a report using Word online. As long as I was typing in Edge, Grammarly's extension had my digital back.
If you take screenshots, Marker makes it a little easier to get exactly the right image on the first try. Once you set up a free account and turn it on for the first time, Marker brings up a tutorial that shows how to capture a cat photo. After clicking the Marker icon, you need to choose to capture the whole page or a portion. There are live crosshairs for choosing what to capture. You can save the shot as a plain old .png file or anything from Trello cards to a Slack message. At this point, you can annotate the screen or add emojis. Unfortunately, the image ends up in your system's Downloads folder rather than in a folder you choose or on the desktop.
Some sites are too large to comfortably fit on the screen, while others are too small to be able to read. Zoom can make them appear just right by magnifying the site so everything fits. Zoom puts a big "Z" to the right of the Edge address bar, and the Options section lets you add a blue oval that shows the current zoom level. Click on the Z, and you'll see the zooming range and a horizontal slider bar to get it just right. Alternatively, you can click on the "+" and "–" sections to move in or out of the page. The bar lets you select a zoom level between 1 and 400 percent. In addition to changing the default increment of zooming from 10 percent to anything you like, you can set up default zoom levels for a variety of screen resolutions.
Pocket does something simple but priceless: It saves any web page while you're online so you can view it when you're offline. In other words, you can stop emailing yourself items to be dealt with later. Save to Pocket puts a shield with a check mark in the upper-right corner of the Edge browser. You don't have to set up an account, but if you do, anything you put in your Pocket can be called up on another devices, including a phone or tablet. There are apps for Android and iOS, as well as a web interface. When you see something you want to save, click Pocket's check mark. (Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Control-Shift S.) At this point, you can add a tag to help you remember what it is you were after. I just wish this extension could define regions of the screen to save as the OneNote Web Clipper extension does.
OneNote lets you combine typed notes with images and web pages, making it a great place to stash the flotsam and jetsam of your digital life. The Web Clipper Edge Extension makes it that much better by directly vacuuming up content from the Edge browser into OneNote. When you see something you want to keep, click the OneNote Web Clipper icon, which brings up the extension's control panel. There, you can decide to clip the whole page, a portion (later defined with crosshairs) or save it as a complete article; the options also include an Edge Bookmark.
If you've ever wished you spoke every major language on the planet, Microsoft's Translator Edge Extension is for you. By letting you translate text into more than 50 different languages — from Afrikaans to Yucatec Mayan — Translator can take you to the ends of the Earth. You start by picking the destination language (for me, it's English). Whenever you encounter a foreign phrase or entire web page in another language, click the Translator icon, and it's converted into English text. Translator has the uncanny ability to discern what the source language is and render it in English (or other language), sort of. Translator ignored elements of a page of the French newspaper Le Monde, including the top headline. While it garbled some of the German for a stove's recall notice, Translator got the main idea across.
Boomerang can change the way you think about and use email by letting you schedule when your notes will be sent. Boomerang leaves (you guessed it) a boomerang icon on Edge's page. It works by adding a Send Later button under Gmail's traditional Send button. When you click it, the email will sit until its appointed time. You can choose to send it at a specific time and day, tomorrow morning or between 1 and 4 hours from when you click Send Later. We set up several emails to be sent in an hour, and they came through without any problem. While it's waiting, the email sits in the Drafts folder and can be changed, edited or deleted. Just note that Edge initially tries to block Boomerang's actions; you need to approve and authenticate the extension.