Strategic employee communications that lead
Fortune 500 companies through transformation

Gain an edge at work: How Microsoft Edge can enhance your organization

Pivot employees working together over a laptop

How to use the New Tab and Sidebar features in MS Edge to your advantage

If you have found yourself struggling to keep up with multiple tabs or have a headache from constantly switching between applications, you are not alone. A recent survey of Fortune 500 companies found that, on average, employees use 11 different applications and platforms in their day-to-day work, between email, messaging platforms, and project management tools (Gartner). 

That is a lot to keep track of! But two new features in Microsoft Edge should have you considering it as your default browser. The personalized New Tab page and new Sidebar feature will help you stay focused and work efficiently with everything you need in one location. 

The New Tab page allows you to personalize your page so you can quickly access the apps, documents and sites you visit most each time you open a new browser tab. The Sidebar gives you quick access to websites and tools without leaving your tab or window. Learn how you can use these Edge features to stay focused, cut through the clutter and quickly access the information you need to do your best work.

Though it only takes a second to change tabs, navigating from one tab to another adds up: The average employee spends 3.6 hours daily searching for information (VentureBeat). To make Edge your personalized full-service browser, you can configure the New Tab page with your Microsoft Feed to quickly access the features you often use, including your favorite websites, new emails, recent SharePoint sites and upcoming events.

Set up your Edge New Tab page:

First: Make Microsoft Feed your default new tab

  1. Open Microsoft Edge.
  2. Scroll down to the Menu which lists: Microsoft 365, My Feed, Money News, Sports, etc.
  3. Select Microsoft 365.
  4. Each time you open a new tab, your personalized Microsoft Feed will populate with your most recent contacts, Microsoft activity, important emails, recent SharePoint sites, upcoming events, and tasks.

Second: Customize your Page settings

  1. Click the Settings gear icon in the upper right corner of your Edge browser.
  2. Select preferences to optimize your browsing experience and give your browser the aesthetic you enjoy most (e.g., select your Layout, Region, Quick Links, Background, Custom Theme, and Content).

Though this tool may seem small, it is not to be overlooked. There are several reasons why the Sidebar should be your new sidekick. Using Sidebar is like having your phone while working but with fewer distractions. 

Within Sidebar, access Microsoft 365 favorites like your Outlook inbox, Teams Chat, Calendar or recent documents, while working within your browser. In addition, you can pull productivity tools, like RSS feeds and videos. For example, if you are watching a training video, you can keep tabs on your Teams Chat or Outlook calendar all within the same window.

To use Edge Sidebar:

Edge Sidebar automatically displays on the right side of your Edge browser by default. Click an app on the right side of your browser, and the Sidebar will slide out.

To access the Edge Sidebar settings:

  1. Open Microsoft Edge.
  2. Click More options (…) in the upper right, next to your profile.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Select Sidebar in the left column.

You can press CTRL+SHIFT+E to hide or display the Sidebar quickly. Doing so enables the feature on all instances of Edge. You can also hide the Sidebar by clicking the arrow in the lower right-hand corner of Edge.

Customize your Sidebar:

  1. Click the plus sign at the bottom of your Sidebar to select apps to add.
  2. Right-click on an existing app.
  3. Select Customize sidebar.
  4. Search for apps and pages.
  5. Select Add current page to add it to your Sidebar.

To remove apps, right-click on the app and select Remove app.

Ready to get started? If you are switching to Edge from a different browser, migrate your favorites and follow the steps below to set Edge as your default browser.

Change your default browser in Windows

  1. Select Start > Settings > Apps > Default apps. Open Default apps.
  2. Select Microsoft Edge.
  3. Next, to make Microsoft Edge your default browser, select Set default.
Pivot employees working on laptops next to each other

The “Toggling Tax” results in employees wasting, on average, 9% of their annual time at work toggling to a new application (Harvard Business Review). Not only does this cost organizations time and money, but it also takes a mental toll on employees. It is imperative that companies provide tools to their workforce that enhance the employee experience – and even more so, that employees actually take advantage of these tools. 

Microsoft Edge is a great tool for employees that are looking for a solution to their daily organizational needs and challenges. Its features like the New Tab page and Sidebar will set you up for success and alleviate your toggling headaches.

Need help implementing a new IT system or service? 

New technology rollouts are an essential component at every large company to set teams up for success. However, according to McKinsey & Company, 70% of digital transformations fail due to employee resistance. 

The good news is, if you implement effective change management programs alongside your IT transformation, you can expect 143% ROI (McKinsey & Company). That’s where Pivot Strategies comes in. 

Our consultants are experts in change communications and will develop and execute strategies to ensure successful adoption and engagement across your team. Interested? Learn more.

About the Author

Anna MillerSenior Communications Consultant

Anna is a versatile communications expert driven by a passion for collaborating, writing and driving efficiencies. With over 10 years of experience in Communications, Anna is successful in delivering strategic solutions by performing needs analysis, organizing resources and building constructive relationships. She is always excited to jump in, learn quickly and achieve results.

Connect with Anna Miller on LinkedIn →

Gain strategic insight from Pivot's experts