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A closer look at the Edge improvements in Windows 10 Insider build 17074

Late last night the Windows Insider team pulled a surprise and released build 17074. The build packs a lot of new changes, but the most significant may be the improvements to the Microsoft Edge browser. Here’s what you need to know about the Edge improvements in Windows 10 Insider build 17074.

First and foremost, the Hub in Microsoft Edge picks up improvements. It now is much larger and intuitive, and you’ll also find different Hub sections listed in the Navigation view on the left. You also can collapse the view and show icons only if you’re low on screen space.

Also in this same area is an improved Favorites bar. It now automatically shows on the Start and New tab pages. The favorites bar will also automatically hide, but you can choose to always show it if you wish. You also can hiding names for individual favorite bar items.

Finally, you’ll find that you can now load extensions when Microsoft Edge is in an InPrivate window. You can grant individual extensions permission to run in InPrivate, and Microsoft is working with developers to enable extensions more while InPrivate mode.

The Edge Hub

Next up, are some changes to reading experience for EPUB, PDF, and Reading View. You should notice that there is now a new look and feel when reading Books in Microsoft Edge, complete with Fluent Design. You can now also take Books, PDFs, and Reading View pages full-screen. See below for other EPUB, PDF, and Reading View changes.

  • We’ve added a new pop-over menu for “Notes,” making it a snap to navigate between annotations, notes, or highlights. We’ve also updated the Seek bar, so you can scrub through your document more easily, including Go-to-page (Ctrl-G) to find a specific page in the document.
  • When viewing reflowable EPUB books or Reading View for websites, you can now use the new Grammar Tools button to enable new comprehension aids. Grammar Tools can break the words on the page into syllables, as well as highlight different parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives
  • For Store books, reading progress, notes, bookmarks, and annotations will roamed much faster across devices on the same account in near-real-time via WNS.
  • Now, in addition to refreshing your library or pinning books to your Start menu, you can see recommendations for new books (when your library is empty) or filter expired rentals from the current library view.
  • We’ve added support for EPUB Media Overlays, enabling support for a tailored narration experience, including custom audio and highlight styles. On supported books, you can now hear the book read aloud with custom narration, with the publisher’s chosen style

The new reading experience

There are other changes with Edge in this build which are still noteworthy. For instance, Edge will now automatically fill your card information on payment web forms. You can safely and security select the preferred card from a drop-down menu to autofill necessary fields, and cards linked to a Microsoft account are automatically available in web forms. See below for the other changes.

  • Option to never save passwords for domains: One of the top pieces of Windows Insider feedback was to provide an option to never save password for certain sites. When you choose to never save passwords, you shall never be prompted with a save password notification for that site.
  • Microsoft Edge now supports auto-filling of saved passwords when browsing InPrivate.
  • Microsoft Edge now supports CSS extensions for OpenType Font Variations, which allows single “variable” font files to behave like multiple fonts, with a range of weight, width, or other attributes.
  • The Microsoft Edge DevTools can now be docked vertically, fulfilling a a top web developer feature request.

Vertically docking the Microsoft Edge DevTools

It’s great to see that Microsoft is working hard to improve Edge. Some may hate the browser, but it really has come a long way since it first launched, and it only can get better from here. Let us know your thoughts on these changes in the comments below.

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