One of the biggest perks of using a Chromium-based browser is the fact that you would be getting near about all the goodies that the Chrome browser has to offer. Right from using its rich collection of extensions to its feature set. There’s a lot of common integration between Microsoft Edge’s Chromium build and the standalone offering from Google.
And one such integration is the addition of Chrome flags to the Edge browser. For the unawares, these flags are experimental features that are mostly intended for tech enthusiasts and developers alike to test the cutting edge and beta features.
But these flags don’t have a permanent abode on your browser, rather their status keeps on getting changed. While some make it into the browser’s stable build and are treated as a permanent feature (such as the Sleeping Tabs flag), others are quietly removed.
Furthermore, they might be unstable in nature and hence are hidden from normal users. However, there’s a small window opened that you could use to enable these flags. And in this guide, we shall help you with just that. Likewise, we will also be listing some of the best Microsoft Edge flags that are worthy of your attention.
How to Enable Microsoft Edge Flags?
We can easily enable any edge experiment from the flags page. All we need is to visit the flags, lookup for the one, and change the setting to Enabled.
Here are easy steps to enable the Microsoft Edge chromium flag:
- Launch the Microsoft Edge browser on the computer.
- Head over to the edge://flags/ page.
- Use the search bar to find the desired flag of your choice.
- All flag options are set to Default, click on the drop-down and select Enabled.
- Hit the button that appears at the bottom right.
Once the browser reopens, the flag would become active. However, if you end up facing any stability issues, then simply change the flag’s state from Enabled to Default, and restart the browser. The said flag will be disabled.
Best Microsoft Edge Flags
Now that you are aware of the steps to enable/disable these flags, let’s check out some of the noteworthy ones that might go a great length in improving your overall browsing experience.
This flag allows you to create separate assortments of tabs and then house all the similar ones under one group. Furthermore, you could also assign each of these groups a unique color and add a label as well to make them easily distinguishable from others.
For example, you could create a group named Work and send all your work-related tabs to that group, then create another one for Media and send the likes of YouTube and Netflix to this group and so on.
So if you’re the kind of person who keeps a plethora of tabs open, then you should definitely consider trying it out. For that, there are four different flags that you need to enable. These are the Tab Groups, Tab Groups Auto Create, Tab Groups Collapse, and Tab Groups Collapse Freezing.
Once enabled, just right-click on the desired tab and select Add Tab to Group. This feature has already made its way over to Chrome’s stable build. Hence it might only be a matter of time before it is removed as a flag and instead added as a permanent feature in Edge as well.
Force Dark Mode
If you customize Edge’s default theme from the Settings page and set it to Dark, then only the browser’s component would adopt this change. All the other websites would still continue to use the white background.
However, with the help of the Force Dark Mode for Web Contents flag, you could instruct all the websites to switch over to the dark side. So even if a site doesn’t actively support the dark mode, it would try and invert the color to respect this setting.
But this is where things begin to go south. In some instances, enabling this flag might break the UI/UX element of the site and hence you will have to consider disabling it altogether. Below is a perfect example of the same (the headings section of Google Docs).
Tab Hover Cards
Due to the inverse relationship between the number of opened tabs and their size, it becomes a really challenging task in identifying the type of content they hold, especially when you have opened a plentitude of tabs. Even if you hover your mouse over that tab, it will only list out the site’s name and the associated page’s title.
Well, this is where the Tab Hover Cards flag comes in handy. Upon enabling it in combination with the Tab Hover Card Images, you will be able to see the image preview of each of the tabs.
Just bring up the mouse cursor over to the desired tab and the browser will display its contents in a small image preview window. This way you will be able to get the perfect knowledge regarding the information a particular tab holds, without actually switching over to it.
There are many users who prefer to keep the music playing in a background tab and at the same time are interacting with other tabs in the foreground. While that’s well and good, the real issue arises when you wish to pause/play or change tracks.
In those instances, you would have to manually make a switch to the tab playing the music, carry out the desired task and then come back to your original tab. Well, thanks to the Global Media Controls and Global Media Controls Picture-in-Picture flags, you could keep all these worries to rest.
Both these flags create a Media Control shortcut through which you could easily play, pause or switch tracks without actually having to visit that tab. Well, that’s not it. You could even create a Picture in Picture Mode for this control and drag and place it at the required position on your screen.
Share Site’s URL via QR Code
Due to a lack of a native common platform, it becomes really challenging in sharing content between a PC and a smartphone, especially if both of them aren’t part of the Apple ecosystem. It seems this issue might have finally been addressed up to an extent.
Using the Enable Sharing Page via QR Code flag, you could easily create a QR Code for the preferred site. Once that is done, bring up your smartphone, scan this code and you will directly be taken to that site. Furthermore, you could even download a copy of this generated code and send it via any medium of your choice.
However, the fact that some smartphones don’t come with a native QR code scanner might prevent some users from trying it out. This is because they would have to download a third-party scanner app and give it permissions to their device’s camera which might prove to be a cause of privacy concern.
It’s no hidden secret that the download manager apps tend to fetch files at a faster speed than compared to the standalone browser. This is because these apps break down a larger file into smaller chunks and download each of these files simultaneously. Once done, they combine all these bits into a single package and then present you the file.
However, with browsers things work a little bit differently. They always download the entire file at one go, no matter the file type or size. The end result is that they end up consuming more time in downloading the same file than compared with a download manager.
But, with the help of the Parallel Downloading flag, you could instruct the browser to adapt the downloading technique of the download manager. Doing so will make Edge break down a large file into smaller data packets and then download them parallelly.
However, the increase in speed will only be noticeable if you are downloading a heavy file. In case a file weighs only around a few MBs, there will be no increment as such.
Websites send notification prompts asking for various permissions. Be it for the camera, location or just to send daily alerts, these prompts have a major drawback- they tend to disrupt the normal workflow.
In this regard, you could consider disabling these notifications altogether. Or there exists a less aggressive approach of opting for condensed and quieter notifications. This is possible via the Quieter notification permission prompts flags.
Once you have enabled it, go to Settings > Cookies and Site Permissions > Turn on the Quiet Notification Request toggle. From now on, these prompts wouldn’t be displayed as a dialog box, but rather will only occupy a minor portion in the address bar.
However, there might be a few instances when a website would be able to bypass this flag setting and end up showing the prompt in its original form. While the probability is on the lower side, but you might end up facing this situation once or twice.
Change Omnibox Autocomplete Suggestions
By default, the Edge browser’s address bar displays a fixed number of autocomplete suggestions. But if you find them to be on the lower side, then you have the option of increasing their limit up to 12 suggestions for each query.
Likewise, for the minimalistic users, they could instead opt for a lower number of suggestions, and choose a lower value, all the way down to 3.
So if you wish to tweak this setting, head over to the flags page, search for the Omnibox UI Max Autocomplete Matches flag, and select any value from 3 to 12. Then restart the browser and the said changes will be applied.
As is evident by its name, it implements a smooth scrolling experience, something along the lines that the Internet Explorer and the Legacy build of Edge had to offer. This was among the very few features missing from the Chromium build, which seems to have been finally addressed, albeit via the Smooth Scrolling flag.
Along with that, you should also consider enabling the Compositor Threaded Scrollbar Scrolling flag for a smoother browsing experience.
Heavy Ad Intervention
Page loading speed and improvement to the UI/UX are among the most important aspects of a site. So in this regard, the developer might opt for some technical tweaks (such as caching, using CDN, or minimizing Java scripts) but you might still end up with slow loading speeds.
In some instances, it could be attributed to the ads being displayed on the page. There are some interactive ads that violate the Better Ads Standard and end up consuming more than permissible system resources. This in turn does not only slow down the concerned site but could adversely affect the entire browser itself.
The best bet, in this case, is to enable both the Heavy Ad Intervention and Heavy ad privacy mitigations flags which in turn shall unload all the ads that lead to excessive wastage of system resources.
So while it may sound a little bit technical on one hand, it turns out to be a quite useful experimental addition to this browser. But do keep in mind the ad might initially be rendered for a few seconds before its resources are unloaded, so some seconds of buffer time might still be there in some instances.
Bottom Line: Best Microsoft Edge Flags
So this was all from this guide regarding some of the best Microsoft Edge flags. We have covered a total of 10 flags, each belonging to a different domain. As per my personal preference, I have kept the first five flags as well as the Quieter Notification flags enabled and have no plans in changing their current state.
The Parallel downloading wasn’t of much help in my case as I don’t usually download heavy files. As far as the Omnibox Suggestion goes, well the default value has been set to 6 in my instances and it is more than sufficient for normal usage.
With that said, we would love to hear opinions about which flag or flags occupies the top spot on your priority list. Drop-in your views in the comments section below.
Lastly, here are the recommended web browsers for your computer and mobile phone that you should give a try.
|Chrome Windows||Chrome Mac||Chrome iOS||Chrome Android||Firefox Linux|
|Firefox Windows||Safari Mac||Safari iOS||Edge Android||Chrome Linux|
|Edge Windows||Firefox Mac||Edge iOS||Samsung Internet||Edge Linux|
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