Microsoft Edge gets Office Viewer, adative alerts, widget support, more

Microsoft is working on several new features for its Edge browser, including an Office file viewer, better notification requests, desktop widget, safer browsing mode for young people, and more.

Microsoft Edge upcoming features 2021
Microsoft Edge upcoming features 2021

Microsoft Edge, the default browser on Windows 10 based on the Chromium engine, is getting several new features in upcoming updates.

Since Microsoft rebuilt its web browser using the open-source Chromium engine developed by Google, it has been proactively releasing features and improvements to make the new Edge the best browsing experience, and in upcoming updates, you can expect at least six significant features that will improve productivity and the overall experience.

In this guide, we will highlight several new features and improvements expected to arrive this year for Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.

Microsoft Edge adaptive notification requests

On the web, there is a problem with notification requests. They are annoying and distracting, except when you are trying to get reminders of something interesting.

So in version 84, Microsoft Edge introduced a new quiet notifications request feature that reduced the requests while keeping them accessible in the address bar. The problem with this change is that acceptance of requests dropped significantly, and many people have trouble trying to configure notifications for a particular site.

Starting with version 88, the browser is now introducing the “adaptive notification requests” approach that uses data from users around the internet to provide only notifications it knows people find valuable.

Microsoft Edge notifications
Microsoft Edge notifications / source: Microsoft

For instance, if you open a site that usually asks for notifications, and most people ignore it, then Microsoft will collect this data and use it on its browser to stop showing this request to other users. Of course, you can always click the bell icon in the address bar to customize the website notification request.

Office Viewer

Microsoft Edge for Windows 10 is also getting a new feature known as “Office Viewer” (via Reddit), which allows you to open Microsoft Office files, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, in the browser without the need to download and having to open them with their corresponding apps.

Office Viewer
Office Viewer / source: Leopeva64-2

It is unclear when this feature will roll out. However, the feature is already available for a select number of users using the Canary release of the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge.

PDF text annotation

The ability to annotate PDF files with Microsoft Edge has been around for a long time. However, now the browser is adding a new quick menu for PDFs that have been designed to make it easier to access the tools and annotate documents whether you use the mouse or touch.

The new menu will automatically appear when you select some text in the PDF document. In the context menu, you will find the Highlight, Add comment, and Copy options. If you click the More options item, that will open the full context menu with all the available options.

PDF quick menu
PDF quick menu / source: Microsoft

As you hover over an item in the menu, additional options will be revealed (if applicable).

The feature already shows up in the Dev and Canary Channel, and it should soon start rolling out to users. Also, it will be an optional feature that you can enable or disable from the Appearance settings page (edge://settings/appearance).

My Feed desktop widget

It also appears that Microsoft Edge is getting a widget that will display a feed with news and weather information powered by the MSN network, similar to the “news and interests” widget that the company is testing in the taskbar for future updates of Windows 10.

Microsoft Edge widget for Windows 10
Microsoft Edge widget for Windows 10

The feature is still in development, but you may enable it inside the “Start, home, and new tabs” settings page.

Microsoft Edge Kids Mode

The software giant is also testing a Kids Mode feature to make browsing safer for young people. The new mode is already available in the Canary Channel through the Family settings page. The settings allow you to customize the experience depending on their age range and a list of websites they will be able to load while in this mode. If the site they try to load is not on the list, then it will be blocked.

Microsoft Edge Kids Mode
Microsoft Edge Kids Mode

Once you selected the settings, you can enable Kids Mode from the profile menu in the top-right corner, next to the address bar.

Tab Search

In future releases, the browser will also include the ability to search open tabs to make it easier to switch between tabs when you have many of them open, similar to the feature found in Google Chrome.

What do you think about the new features that Microsoft is working for the Chromium version of Edge? What browser do you use? Tell us in the comments.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].