Microsoft is testing a command bar in the Edge web browser
Microsoft Edge Canary users can test out the new web browser command palette now. Starting with Microsoft Edge Canary 105, Edge users can enable the command bar to run commands from an in-browser launcher.
The functionality is different from Firefox’s Quick Actions and Chrome’s address bar commands functionality. The main difference is that the command palette is not run from the address bar, but from its own interface which users launch with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Space.
Invoke the hotkey to bring up an overlay launcher. Type letters and corresponding commands are displayed. Microsoft calls it DevTools Command Palette, but not all of the commands it provides are development-related.
To give you a few examples. You can use the command palette to open a new inPrivate browser window, clear browsing data, view source code, open extension store, open all internal addresses edge://, print page, jump to another profile or open Stack Overflow. Developers can type > to display developer-related commands.
Activate the command palette
The DevTools command palette is not enabled by default. Edge users can use the following guide to enable it in the browser. Note that you need Microsoft Edge Canary version 105 or newer to activate it.
- Make sure Microsoft Edge Canary is up to date. You can verify this by loading edge://settings/help.
- Load edge://flags/#edge-devtools-command-palette into the Microsoft Edge address bar; this should focus on the experimental flag that we need to set.
- Set the Command Palette indicator to On.
- Restart Microsoft Edge.
Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Space to bring up the launcher at any time in the browser. Start typing and Edge will return a list of matching commands. It may take some getting used to using the command bar for some operations.
Edge displays keyboard shortcuts for commands in the Command Palette interface, which can speed things up even more for users who prefer to use shortcuts.
The Command Palette looks like a handy addition to Edge. It opens quickly and supports a good number of commands. Edge users who already use keyboard shortcuts for many actions may not find it too useful, as most commands can be executed directly using these shortcuts. Still, some Edge users may find the new feature useful.
Note that the command palette is an experimental feature. It may one day become available in stable versions of Edge, but it is also possible that it will be removed without notice.
The best launcher-like feature in a browser was Firefox’s Ubiquity, if you ask me. Unfortunately, Mozilla decided to cancel the project more than ten years ago.
Now you: Quick actions in address bar, command palette as launcher: how useful do you find them?