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What's new with Microsoft Edge for the Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge

Microsoft is making available the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, which also includes a new version of Microsoft Edge that delivers a new set of features and improvements.

Although with version 1809, the built-in web browser won't significantly change the way you surf the internet, there are a bunch of new tweaks and several new features that should improve the overall user experience.

For instance, alongside the visual changes and subtle Fluent Design implementations, the browser now gets new features to authenticate without password and control media autoplay in websites. Reading View, PDF, and EPUB support receive a number of improvements, and a lot more.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll highlight the most worthy changes that you're getting with Microsoft Edge in the October 2018 Update.

Microsoft Edge new features and enhancements

In Microsoft Edge version 44 with EdgeHTML 18, the browser is introducing the following changes:

Fluent Design and UI

Microsoft Edge continues to evolve, and in this new version, you'll notice some subtle Fluent Design tweaks to the tab bar experience, which adds a new depth effect that aims to emphasize better the tab you're currently viewing.

Redesigned menu

When you click the Settings and more (three-dotted) button in the top-right, you will now find a completely redesigned menu to make settings more natural to navigate and faster to find.

In the new menu, you'll notice that items are divided into groups more logically, and each item now features an icon and its corresponding keyboard shortcut to quickly identify the option you want to access.

The menu also includes three sub-menus. The Show in toolbar lets you add and remove commands (e.g., Favorites, Downloads, History, Reading list) from the toolbar.

The More tools includes commands to perform several actions, including cast media to a device, ping page to the Start menu, open Developer Tools or a web page using Internet Explorer.

The Help and feedback sub-menu includes less essential commands to get help, send feedback, report unsafe websites, and more.

Redesigned settings

Perhaps one of the most significant improvements you'll find in this new version of Edge is the new Settings experience, which uses an extra-wide interface with a collapsible navigation pane on the left side.

Also, the settings experience is divided into four pages, including "General," "Privacy & security," "Password & autofill," and "Advanced" to better organize the available options.

Hub

The Hub experience isn't getting a lot of changes, but in version 44, the "Downloads" pane now includes a new context menu with options to Copy link, Show in folder, and Report this download as unsafe.

In addition, the "History" section includes an update that allows local files you in the browser (for example, PDFs) to appear in the history.

Media autoplay

One of the most annoying things about the internet is websites that automatically play videos as the page renders on your device. Starting with version 44, Microsoft Edge includes new settings to give you more control over autoplay videos.

This new functionality can be configured globally in the "Advanced settings" page, under the Media autoplay section, and it offers three options, including:

  • Allow — keeps autoplay enable allowing websites to control autoplay video in the foreground.
  • Limit — disables autoplay when videos are muted, but when clicking anywhere on the page, autoplay will enable again.
  • Block — prevents videos from playing automatically until you interact with the video. The only caveat with this option is that it may not work with all websites as a result of enforcement design.

Also, it's possible to control media autoplay per-site, clicking the lock icon at the left of the address bar, and under "Web permissions," click the Media autoplay settings option, and refresh the page to change the settings.

Books, PDF reader, Reading View

Microsoft is also adding several improvements to the reading experience using the EPUB, PDF, and the Reading View experience.

Dictionary

While viewing content in Reading View mode, reading an EPUB ebook, or working with a PDF document, you can now use the built-in dictionary to look up definitions for any word.

The new feature is really easy to use. Just select a single word and its definition should pop-up above the word you've chosen.

You can click the more button to learn additional details about the word, or you can click the microphone icon to read the word aloud to hear the correct pronunciation.

In the "General" settings of Microsoft Edge, it's possible to select which reading experience can use the dictionary functionality, and you can also disable the feature entirely.

Learning tools

Also, the web browser ships with an updated version of the optional learning tools for Reading View and EPUB books.

If you're using the learning tools in Reading View, you'll notice several new improvements, including updated "Grammar tools," and new "Text options" and "Reading preferences."

In the Grammar tools tab, the "Parts of speech" feature now allows you to change the color when highlighting nouns, verbs, adjectives, and you can display labels to make words easier to identify.

The Text options is new, and it adds an option to show wider spacing between letters and change the background color to improve readability.

And the Reading preferences tab is new as well, and it introduces "Line focus," which is a feature that highlights sets of one, three, or five lines to help you focus while reading content.

While the "Text options" and "Grammar tools" are available for both, Reading View and EPUB, the "Reading preferences" is only available in Reading View.

PDF

Specific to the PDF reader integration, in this new release, the toolbar features text descriptions for each command to make it easier to discover, and includes new options, including "Add notes" and a button to pin the toolbar at the top of the document.

Also, when working with PDF files, you can now bring up the toolbar by simply hovering the top, and you can click the pin button to make the toolbar always visible.

In the printing options, you'll find a new "Scale" drop-down menu with settings to print Fit to page or Actual size.

You'll also notice a new icon with a red label for PDF documents in File Explorer when Edge is the default app for this file format, and now, your PDF activities in Microsoft Edge will appear in Timeline.

Books

In the Books experience, you won't find significant improvements, but you can use the pull gesture to refresh the Books pane.

Right-clicking a book, the context menu now includes an option to share the book that you're reading, and pinning books in the Start menu now features a live tile will information about the book and your current progress.

In addition, starting with Windows 10 version 1809, you can no longer export ebooks data from Microsoft Edge.

Web Authentication

Another feature coming to Microsoft Edge is Web Authentication, which is a new implementation that hooks into Windows Hello to allow you to authenticate securely to different websites without ever typing a password again, using fingerprint, face recognition, PIN, or FIDO technology.

For example, on e-commerce sites that support this new form of authentication, as you click the pay button, Windows Hello will step in and prompt to simply confirm the authentication, instead of authenticating with a password.

Additional improvements

Along with all the new features and changes, Microsoft Edge also delivers some additional improvements.

Right-clicking the Edge icon in the taskbar or Start menu, you'll now see your top sites in the jump list, and if a tab isn't playing audio, you can still be able to right-click the tab and mute it permanently.

If you hit the F1 key, it'll no longer open the Microsoft Edge tips page. Instead, it'll open the web browser official support website.

As part of the autofill data features, you'll now find a new consent menu box for saving data to the browser, and there's a new streamlined notification when Microsoft Edge needs your permission to save password and card information.

Similar to Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge now ships with support for same-site cookies, and it's now possible to select and copy certificate details to the clipboard.

In this new update, the browser is making it a little easier for developers to automate testing by making WebDriver a Windows Feature on Demand (FoD), which removes the need to match the build, branch, and flavor manually when installing the WebDriver. Also, after upgrading to version 1809, the WebDriver package will update automatically to match the requirements.

Additionally, Microsoft Edge is introducing new Group Policies and Mobile Device Management (MDM) policies to help network administrators to manage settings according to the organization's policies.

Some of these new policies include the ability to enable or disable full-screen, save history, favorites bar, printer, home button, and startup options. (You can check all the new policies at this Microsoft support website.)

Finally, starting with the October 2018 Update, Microsoft Edge is also retiring XSS filter in favor of modern web standards, such as Content Security Policy, to provide more secure mechanisms to against potential attacks.

Wrapping things up

Although this time around Microsoft is not adding a lot of significant changes, the smaller set of enhancements are welcome additions to make Edge easier to use and more secure.

What are your thoughts about the new changes for Microsoft Edge? Tell us in the comments.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

37 Comments
  • I wonder if favorites sync management via GPEditor for enterprise education customers is back... This is a very weird omission that I came across several weeks ago
  • Edge has been my default browser since the beginning. Love the enhancements!
  • if you add "Microsoft" or "Windows" to any product branding...regardless of the merit of the product...It'll most likely be ignored most of the end users! Not sure when they're going to accept it :) Instead of trying to force users to use their product ..if only they paid attention to their branding they might be more successful :)
  • Edge actually feels really great this time. Delight to use.
  • Wow..... What will Chrome fan boys complain about now? Edge is shaping into a really good browser. Too bad my office is stuck on W7, which means we have no choice but to use Chrome or Firefox....... smh
  • Or IE. Haha
  • I'm not a Chrome fanboy, that browser is a little snitch. Vivaldi & Brave are better. Chrome does not support HEVC like Edge does. My only remaining serious complaints are the lack of .apng and web torrent support. If MS and Google could come to a gentleman's agreement for their browsers to support both the .webp & JPEG XR image formats everything would be great.
  • I think that after this release, Edge is a fantastic browser. Yes, some sites don't render the best, but for me most do and fast. The menu changes really make a difference! Two things that really need done: 1 (and most important of anything) make Edge separate from the OS and available in the Store. 2 give us a way to change the width of the Favorites / History panel and which side of the screen it's on.
  • -confusing nomenclature: So you have a settings menu in Edge, the menu is divided in groups, yet the third row in the settingsmenu is called a toolbar? Or is it a group? Or is it an actionbar? Or a commandbar? So then we have an action bar in Edge and an action pane in window....head spinning... -I hope autoplay video is turne OFF by default. Vey annoying and unprofessional in business to have it on by default. There should ba code for professional conduct on implementing this feature. - Can the end user choose the library source for defintions? Different sources could have different quality in defining a word. What is the source of the default library? Can we choose a source by region or language? -I'm curious to know how well grammar tools work for other languages. I hope microsoft will not be notoriously late this time in supporting other language libraries for grammar in Edge. - Text options wider spacing. Will the Edge engine do this for ALL WEBSITES. Or is it dependent on webdevelopers to code their websites to support this feature in Edge for it to work on their site? -
  • Your first question makes no sense. The rest just nit picking.
    Some of the answers you seek, are in the very article. Text wider spacing is only in Reading View or EPUB viewing. (therefore not relevant to normal web pages) You turn video autoplay off, it says it right there - right in the articles words. Good grief.
  • Edge still not so friendly to developers, the overall performance is bad.
  • can you be more specific?
  • I for example find it very frustrating that when firing up Edge and starting to type in address bar, after 5-10 seconds, everything gets overridden by startup scripts indie the browser. Gets deleting whatever I had typed to present the opening page that it should have done seconds ago.
  • Go to MSDN or Channel 9, you see most Microsoft employees use Chrome. Almost all web developers use Chrome now, not only in WIndows, but in Mac they don't use Safari. Chrome has a much better developer tools. Edge doesn't have a user stylesheet. It's critical.
  • The overall device tool performance is bad compare to chrome. Edge doesn't provide a great device tools for PWA, like offline mode for testing. Aside from that, although it provided feature like time travel, but I still don't see how useful is it, at least for me. Plus, Microsoft didn't provide a good debug experience for vscode with Edge, instead they have a good debug experience with chrome.
  • The offline functionality testing is built into VS.
  • Not every devs are using vs.
  • Edge is not the best in Australia, I searched for CLA Lighting on my desktop and no results, then googled and it was at the top of results. I want to use Edge because of Microsoft points and I am pro Microsoft. I don't think its ready yet. I do use it on my phone though but don't surf the Internet on my phone that much.
  • This sounds more like a Bing issue. Bing is really good in the US but really crap in Oz, NZ and Sweden at least. Go into the edge settings and change your search to Google and there you go. Not edges fault.
  • I use Brave on on my phone. The best browser on phone right now because it disables all trackers by default....and the pages load so fast!
  • These Edge articles are very welcome.
  • I won't be using Edge as long as when I type an address and hit Enter, it can predictably show the progress ring in the tab header, and actually reassure me that it is working on opening the address.
    IE had that problem and Edge has the same problem.
  • You know, I do use Edge, but I agree that this problem is annoying.
  • Got a question about the new Media autoplay feature. The Block options seems exactly what I want, especially for some obnoxious websites. But what does, "The only caveat with this option is that it may not work with all websites as a result of enforcement design" mean? Is the "enforcement design" in the website or Edge?
  • The website:
    https://www.w3schools.com/tags/att_video_autoplay.asp
  • No dark mode?
  • It already had a dark mode.
  • Once again an update has screwed up my Edge favorites. Syncing favorites has never worked correctly for me in the first place. I have different favorites on different devices and this update somehow wiped all of my favorites on my Android phone that were never synced. I guess those are lost forever. I've given Microsoft too many chances with Edge and want to use it as my primary browser, but I constantly have problems with the basics. I'm going back to FireFox since I've never had an issue with it and syncing works flawlessly.
  • Strange I've never had an issue syncing favorites in edge.
  • When will the profile support arrive? When can we delete URL from history by pressing SHIFT + DEL like in Chrome? At my work, we migrated to the new Sharepoint site. The old site is permanently retired. When I type SharePoint in the address bar, both old and new are showing in Edge. In Chrome, removed just the old URL with Shift-Delete command. Is there a way to do the same in EDGE?
  • You can't. Just clear your browsing history. Your commonly used URLs will soon come back, and your old ones will be gone.
  • Ctrl + H then select the item you want to delete by clicking the "x" at the end of the right or right click and select delete.
  • If I had the ability to set it to open a PDF in the default reader instead of Edge, that would solve 80% of my irritation. I open a lot of PDFs and I need to use a full reader, so right now I have to copy the URL and paste it into adobe reader or whatever. Or use a different browser. It also freezes a lot. It will just be unable to do anything for 30 seconds while I can access webpages with a different browser. It also crashes a lot on SharePoint sites, of all things. Still beta quality.
  • It's windows, you can set default programs for anything. That's not an edge specific thing.
  • settings -> default apps -> choose default apps by file type. Adobe should change this for you and Foxit will open in the browser for you.
  • still no search in history ? I use this so much in Chrome (daily), every time I trial changing to Edge, it annoys hell out of me not having it
  • Favorites now not syncing with android and windows phone or between computers!