Microsoft Edge’s new sidebar menu is now rolling out to some users of the browser’s Canary channel, allowing users to search the web on Bing without opening the new tab, access tools like calculators, read emails on Outlook, and play mini-games from MSN without leaving the current page.
Edge’s new sidebar is similar to Vivaldi’s web panel, and it’s especially useful when you’re reading a page but need to perform an extra task. For example, you might need to start a Windows calculator or check your internet speed if a website isn’t responding.
Through Edge’s sidebar, you can access features such as Bing Search, Discovery (a new way to discover web results related to your website’s content), a web calculator, a unit conversion tool, internet speed testing, and access to the MSN game catalog. However, you can’t play the game in the sidebar because the link opens a new tab. This also applies to Office applications.
Similarly, when you’re reading a page, you may also need to send an email about what you’re reading. The sidebar is also integrated with Outlook, so you can easily jot down the main points in your messages and send them without leaving the current page or browser tab navigation.
Microsoft Edge also has a great new option that lets you add your favorite website to the sidebar and perform contextual actions without breaking the workflow. However, many websites aren’t really optimized to work in small screen areas, so Edge’s sidebar customization site feature isn’t always useful.
Some might call Edge’s new sidebar feature another useless feature, but it’s completely optional and you can hide it from your browser’s main menu. You can also use the keyboard phrase Ctrl+Shit+/to enable or disable the sidebar, or you can open it from the settings page.
This new sidebar is currently only available to specific users, so only a few people can use the feature. To use it, make sure you have the latest version of Edge’s Canary, then look for a new option in the menu “Sidebar” and select Launch it on the right side of your browser. You can also activate the sidebar by pressing Ctrl + Shift + /at the same time.
In addition to the sidebar, Microsoft is also exploring support for YouTube integration, which will allow users to follow their creators and get notified when new videos are uploaded.