Microsoft Edge challenges Chrome with a big productivity upgrade

Microsoft Edge pdf upgrade
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Edge is giving you another reason to ditch Chrome, by adding some much needed upgrades to its built-in PDF reader.

Windows Latest reports that a number of experimental features have been spotted in early-access builds of the Edge browser. These features are going to make the browser’s PDF reader a lot more capable, and potentially give you an extra incentive to actually use it. 

One feature Microsoft has already announced is a brand new search function within Edge’s PDF reader. A number of features were lost when Edge made the switch to Chromium, and now it’s slowly starting to get them back. That includes a search feature, and improvements to touch support.

But those were announced back in January, and are pretty basic in the grand scheme of things. These new features are something different, including the option to automatically pick up where you left off. Because nothing is worse than having to step away from a document that’s a few dozen pages long, and then having to manually work out where you were before.

On top of this, Microsoft seems to be making it much easier to scroll through PDF documents at speed. So improvements have been made to help eliminate visual glitches during that process, and there's an optional sidebar that will let you select pages based on their thumbnails.

Changes are also being made to the way Edge lets you highlight PDF text, something that’s been very inconsistently implemented. In other words, your experience differs depending on the document you’re using, but this update should fix that problem. The process of highlighting should be a lot smoother too

Finally ,Edge looks to be getting the ability to validate signatures. That means you can digitally sign documents within the browser, rather than having to rely on some third-party software — whether it’s Adobe Acrobat or something else entirely.

On their own, these features are all relatively small, but combined it shows Microsoft is putting a lot of effort into ensuring Edge can better handle PDF files in future. It’s not clear when these features will actually make it to stable builds of Edge, however. 

It’s similarly unclear as to whether they’ll be dropped in one go, or roll out more slowly. In any case they are available in current Canary builds, and that should mean we won’t have to wait very long.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.