Microsoft’s new Chromium-based Edge browser got support for multiple profiles earlier this year, and what could appear as a mostly power user feature has recently convinced me to make Edge my browser of choice. As a long-time Mac user, Safari used to be my default browser due to its better performance and iCloud integrations, and Edge was the “work” browser I used for everything related to Office 365.
Thanks to Edge’s new Profiles feature, I discovered that I can have a Personal profile with my personal Microsoft account, as well as a Work profile connected to my Office 365 account. My personal data is separated between those two profiles, so I can have a different set of favorites across my Personal and Work profiles. When you have two or more separate Edge profiles, the browser just treats them as separate windows, and it’s much more efficient than having two different web browsers running at the same time on your PC.
Adding more profiles in Microsoft Edge can be done by clicking the Profile icon on the top right corner, and selecting Select + Add profile. This will open a separate browser window where you can sign in with your work, school, or personal Microsoft account.
It’s worth noting that if you can sync your favorites, passwords and more in your Edge personal profile using a personal Microsoft account, the same syncing capabilities are not available by default on work profiles connected to an Office 365 account. Indeed, your organization will need a subscription that includes Microsoft Edge sync for Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) accounts, and you can learn more details on this support page.
If you can switch between Edge profiles by clicking on the profile icon in the top right corner of the browser window, Windows users can also pin shortcuts to other Edge profiles to their taskbar, with each shortcut having its own profile picture. This is something that’s currently absent on macOS, though you can still access Edge profiles by right-clicking the Edge icon in the macOS dock.
Once you have your Personal and Work profiles set up in Microsoft Edge, you’ll also be able to right-click on links to open web pages in either your Personal or Work profile, which is a very handy feature. Moreover, Microsoft Edge now induces an Automatic Profile switching feature that will prompt you to switch to your work profile when you’re navigating a work site while in your personal profile, and vice versa.
Last but not least, you can select a default profile for opening external links, and in my case, I prefer to open all links in my personal profile. To select a default profile, you’ll need to go settings, then select the “Multiple profile preferences” option, and then use the drop-down menu to select which profile you’d like external links to open with. This will then open links say from within an email to your browser profile of choice.
The only feature I'm still missing in Microsoft Edge is open tabs and history sync, which is currently only available for Edge Insiders. I hope the stable channel will get it next month, with Microsoft currently planning to release Edge version 88 to the stable channel in the week of January 21, 2021.
If you've been using multiple browsers on your PC to separate your personal and work stuff, I'd really recommend giving Microsoft Edge Profiles a look, especially if your company uses Office 365. This is definitely one of the best features Microsoft added to its new browser this year, and once tab and history sync is generally available Microsoft Edge will be an even more solid competitor to Google Chrome and other established web browsers.