11 top productivity tips for Microsoft Edge

Note that the files you see in the Microsoft 365 pane depend on which profile you’re logged into in Edge. If you’re logged in with your work profile, you’ll see the Microsoft 365 files you’ve been working on in your business version of M365. If you want to see your personal files, you’ll need to switch to your personal profile, as described in Tip 1.

6. Enlist a Copilot as you browse

As I mentioned earlier, you can also use Copilot, Microsoft’s genAI chatbot, from within Edge. Click the Copilot icon at the top right of Edge, and the Copilot pane appears. There’s a tremendous amount you can do with Copilot, and all of its uses are beyond the scope of this article. To learn more about what it can do and how to use it, see our story “7 ways to use Microsoft Copilot right.”

 However, here’s one use designed specifically for web browsing: giving you information about the current web page you’re viewing. Copilot shows you information such as its rating from users, a bar chart representing total visitors to the site, analysis of where the visitors come from, and so on.  To get to it, click the Insights tab at the top of the pane.

Use Copilot to get info about a website.


You can also get a summary of the web page you’re viewing (such as a news article or legal brief) by selecting the Generate page summary button in the middle of the Copilot pane. For details, see “7 ways to use Microsoft Copilot right.”

7. Put tabs to sleep to conserve system resources and boost battery life

Like most people, you likely keep multiple tabs open in Edge. That way, you can easily switch among the sites, web apps, and information important to you. It’s a great time-saver.

But it can also be a big memory and processor hog, which can slow down both your browsing and your other computing tasks. It needn’t be that way, though. You can put inactive tabs to “sleep” until you need them, freeing up resources, which will make your PC speedier and make its battery last longer, even when you have multiple tabs open. Microsoft claims that putting inactive tabs to sleep reduces memory use by an average of 32% and CPU use by an average of 37%.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. In Edge, click the three-dot icon on the upper right of the screen and select Settings > System and Performance.
  2. In the “Optimize Performance” section, move the slider to On next to Save resources with sleeping tabs.
  3. To change the length of time it takes to put an inactive tab to sleep, next to “Put inactive tabs to sleep after the specified amount of time,” click the drop-down arrow and select a time. Your choice is anywhere from 30 seconds to 12 hours.
microsoft edge put tabs to sleep

Putting tabs to sleep can significantly reduce CPU and memory use.


To reawaken any tab that’s been put to sleep, simply click on it, and it will resume normal activity.

There’s a chance that some sites might not work properly after they’ve been put to sleep. If that happens to you, you can tell Edge never to put that site to sleep again. To do it, in the “Never put these sites to sleep” area, click the Add button and paste in the URL of any site you don’t want to sleep.

8. Reduce power use with efficiency mode

Browsers can be power hogs, especially if you have multiple tabs open and are playing videos and music in them. That can be a particular problem if you’re using a laptop that isn’t plugged into a power source.

In Edge, efficiency mode reduces the amount of system resources the browser uses, which extends your PC’s battery life. If you enable efficiency mode, it becomes active when your laptop is unplugged. Microsoft claims efficiency mode can give you on average an extra 25 minutes of battery life. To use it:

  1. In Edge, click the three-dot icon on the upper right of the screen and select Settings > System and Performance.
  2. In the “Optimize Performance” section, move the slider to On next to “Efficiency mode.”
microsoft edge enable efficiency mode

You can get an extra 25 minutes of battery life with efficiency mode, Microsoft claims.


Note that if you’re using a desktop PC or your laptop is plugged in, there’s no need to use efficiency mode.

 9. View and mark up PDFs

With Edge, there’s no need to launch a separate piece of software when you come across a PDF online or when you want to read and mark up one on your PC; its built-in PDF app is quite good. With it you can draw on and highlight sections of the PDF and erase the marks you made as well.  So save yourself time and use Edge rather than third-party software.

You don’t need to do anything to read a PDF online. Simply click it, and by default it will launch in Edge’s reader. You’ll find the markup tools, including for drawing, highlighting, and erasing, in a toolbar towards the top of the screen. To open a PDF from your hard disk, when you’re in Edge, press Ctrl-O, then navigate to the PDF you want to open and click it.

microsoft edge pdf markup

Edge has a surprisingly useful PDF viewer with markup tools.


If you prefer to use your own PDF reader, even for PDFs found online, you might be annoyed that every time you click a PDF, it opens in Edge’s PDF reader. You can change that, though, by changing your default PDF reader.

In Windows Settings, select Apps > Default Apps and in the search box at the top of the screen just below “Set a default for a file type or link type,” type in .pdf. After you do that, the listing “Microsoft Edge Microsoft Edge PDF document” appears. Click it, and a screen appears showing you all the applications on your PC that can read PDFs. Select the one you want to use instead of Edge.

10. Use Edge’s one-click form filler

How many hours a week do you spend mindlessly filling out web forms — your office or home address, shipping address, email address, phone number, and credit card information? Wouldn’t it be nice to get that time back?

With Microsoft Wallet, built into Edge, you can do that. To use it, in Edge go to Settings > Profiles. In the Microsoft Wallet section, click Open Wallet and then click Home. You’ll see sections for adding  a variety of information, such as for credit cards and other payment information, personal information, memberships, and so on. Click any item and type in the information you want to add.

microsoft wallet in microsoft edge

Microsoft Wallet saves information that can be used to fill out forms online.


From now on, whenever you visit a web form, just click in a text box and your information will appear in a popup. Select it and the form will fill in. You can go back to Microsoft Wallet to change any information you want.

11. Save time with keyboard shortcuts

There’s a good chance you use keyboard shortcuts for some of your office applications, like Word and Excel — and you likely use some for Windows itself.

But when it comes to browsers, many people forgo the keyboard except when absolutely necessary. That’s too bad, because keyboard shortcuts are a big timesaver. So to improve your productivity, check out these keyboard shortcuts for Edge in Windows. (Mac users can generally substitute the Cmd key for Ctrl and the Opt key for Alt.)

For even more shortcuts, see Microsoft’s complete list of keyboard shortcuts for Edge.

Useful keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Edge

Key combination Task
Ctrl-Shift-B Show or hide the favorites bar
Ctrl-D Add the current site to favorites
Alt-D or Ctrl-L Select the URL in the Address bar
Ctrl-E or Ctrl-K Open a search in the Address bar
Ctrl-F Find on the current page
Ctrl-R Reload the current page
Ctrl-H Open your History
Ctrl-M Mute or unmute volume on the current tab
Ctrl-N Open a new window
Ctrl-Shift-N Open a new InPrivate window
Alt-F4 or Ctrl-Shift-W Close the current window
Ctrl-T Open a new tab and switch to it
Ctrl-W Close the current tab
Ctrl-Tab Switch to the next tab
Ctrl-Shift-Tab Switch to the previous tab
Ctrl-+ (plus symbol) Zoom in
Ctrl– (hyphen) Zoom out
Ctrl-P Print the current page

This article was originally published in March 2021 and updated in April 2024.

Source link

#top #productivity #tips #Microsoft #Edge