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What are Edge collections and how to use them?

By Emmanuel Seriki | February 18, 2020 |

greater than 9 minutes

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Microsoft is working hard to position Microsoft Edge as one of the best browsers for a PC. The Collections feature – which is one of the recent additions to the Chromium-based version of the browser – seems to be getting a lot of attention. In this guide, we intend to tell you all you need to know about Edge collections and what you can do with them.

What are the uses of Microsoft Edge collections?

The Collections feature in Edge consists of special options that allow users to organize the content they browse on the web. With Edge collections, for example, you can gather different forms of text, images, and other content and then place them inside a note page. With the Collections function, you can share organized sets and export them to Office apps.

When you are using the Collections function, a new flyout will be visible on the right side of the Edge window. And there, you get to drag and drop content from the web. Microsoft Edge will work on formatting the content correctly. The browser will even add a footnote with link references that point to the sources that you used.

Basically, through the Collections feature in Edge, you get to store websites, images, and other forms of content for future reference. You can take advantage of the function to ease your work on a research document, for example, which means you will not have to use the copy-paste function between the Word app and your browser. After all, stuff from Collections can be exported to both Excel and Word.

To be fair, Collections is still a test feature. It is relatively new. Microsoft originally made it available only to Microsoft Edge Insider test users, which means regular people could not use it. However, the Collections function recently got released for the new Chromium-based Edge application. Nevertheless, you will need to do some work in Edge’s configuration or settings menu to enable the feature before you get allowed to use it.

How to enable Collections in Microsoft Edge; How to create a custom Edge desktop shortcut

To access and use the Collections feature in Edge, you will have to create a desktop shortcut and then modify it. Microsoft Edge is supposed to add a desktop shortcut (while the installation operations for the program are being executed). If you have the shortcut already, then you must perform the projected task on it (you do not have to create a new shortcut). And in that case, you can skip the first three steps.

  1. Enabling Collections in Edge:

We will now walk you through the standard procedure used to enable the Collections feature in Microsoft Edge. Go through these steps:

  • Click on the Windows icon in the bottom-left corner of your display to get to the Windows Start screen (or you can hit the Enter button on your machine’s keyboard for the same outcome).
  • Now, you have to locate Microsoft Edge (from the list of programs), or you can perform a search task using Microsoft Edge as the keywords and find the application from the results.
  • Now, you have to drag Edge from the list on your Start menu to your desktop (to create a new shortcut).
  • Assuming the Microsoft Edge shortcut is now on your desktop, you have to do a right-click on it to see the available context menu.
  • Select Properties.

The Properties window for Microsoft Edge will come up now.

  • Click on the Shortcut tab (close to the top of the window) to go there.
  • Now, you must fill the box for Target with the following code:

–enable-features=msEdgeCollections

  • Click on the Apply button and then click on the OK button to save the new configuration for Microsoft Edge.
  • Close the Microsoft Edge Properties window.

If you did everything correctly, then you will be able to access the Collections feature in Microsoft Edge (the next time you open the browser).

We know an alternative method of enabling or turning on the Collections feature in Microsoft Edge. For the purposes defined in this guide, we advise you to go with the first procedure. However, if you are not comfortable with the first method or if it does not work for you, then you have to attempt the operation below to enable Collections in Edge.

These are the relevant instructions:

  • First, you have to open the Microsoft Edge application. You can perform the program launch task through whatever means you are comfortable with on your computer.
  • Assuming the Edge browser window is now on your screen, you have to fill the URL field with the following code:

edge://flags#edge-collections

  • Hit the Enter button on your PC’s keyboard to force Edge to execute the code.
  • On the resulting screen, you have to locate the Experimental Collections feature text.
  • Now, you have to select Enabled from the drop-down menu (close to the flag name).

You might get a prompt to restart Microsoft Edge. Allow the application to restart (or initiate the restart operation on your own).

Microsoft Edge will now start up again with the Collections feature enabled for use.

How to use Edge collections

  1. Creating new Microsoft Edge collections:

If you performed the previous task (to enable the Collections function in Edge), then the feature is supposed to have appeared in the top-right corner of the browser window. The Collections icon should be just between the favorites and user profile icons.

Anyway, these are the instructions you must follow to create a new Edge collection:

  • Assuming you are on the Microsoft Edge window, you have to click on the Collections icon.

The feature menu for Collections will appear now.

  • Click on Start new collection (to create a new Edge collection).

You now have to give your new collection a name.

  • Fill the text box with your preferred name and then hit the Enter button on your machine’s keyboard to confirm things.

The new Edge collection with the specified name will appear. You can now start adding notes and web links to it – if you wish to do so.

  1. Adding notes and web links to an existing Edge collection:

Assuming you have an Edge collection ready to take stuff, then you can go through these steps to add notes and web links to it:

  • If you want to add a link to the web page you are currently on to a specific Edge collection, you have to bring up the Collections feature menu and then click on Add current page.
  • If you want to add a note from the web page you are currently on to a specific Edge collection, then you must bring up the Collections feature menu and then click on the New Note button (beside Add current page).

A box with formatting options is supposed to appear now.

  • Fill the text field on the box with your preferred words (or text note) and then save the note by clicking it off.

Notes and web links are hardly the only things you can add to an Edge collection. You can add other text, images, and weblink snippets obtained from web pages to your Edge collection. These instructions are focused on showing you how to do that:

  • First, you have to open a web page. There, you must do a right-click on an object (an image or weblink, preferably) to see some options.

Alternatively, you can select a portion of text and then do a right-click on the highlighted text to see the available options.

  • At this point, you must now click on Add to Collections and then select your preferred Edge collection (the one to which you are looking to add stuff).

Well, the content you selected earlier (note or link) will now be added to the chosen Edge collection.

  1. Editing and deleting saved notes or pages:

You might later change your mind on items that you added to a specific Edge collection and decide to delete them. You will learn how to do that here.

Go through these steps:

  • If you want to edit or delete an item (web page or note) that you added some time ago to an Edge collection, then you have to right-click on the item to see the available options.
  • If a webpage is involved and you want to edit it, then you must select Edit (from the options list). You can then change the title for the saved web page.

You will not be allowed to change the URL. If you want to use a different URL, then you have to remove the page for your collection first by selecting Delete (from the options list). You will then have to re-add the page. We described the procedure on adding pages to an Edge collection earlier, so you might want to scroll up to see the instructions on performing that task again.

  • If a note is involved and you want to edit it, then you must choose Edit (from the options list). You will then have to double-click on the entry involved. You will now be able to edit it.
  • Meanwhile, to remove a note entry, you have to do a right-click on it to see the available options and then select the Delete option.
  1. Switching between collections:

The main Collections feature menu in Edge is designed to display a list of your current collections. By default, a click on the Collections icon (in the top-right corner of the Edge browser window) forces the application to bring up the collection you last accessed.

These instructions cover the vast majority of the switching tasks involving collections:

  • If you want to switch to another collection, you must click on the left-pointing arrow around the Collections area to access the main Collections menu.
  • Assuming the available collections are now visible on the main Collections list, you have to click on another collection to see the notes and pages that were saved to it.
  • If you want to change the name of a specific collection, you have to do a right-click on it to see the available menu list and then click on the Edit Collection option.
  • You will then have to fill the text field with your preferred new name and then save the changes you just made.
  • If you want to remove a specific collection, then you have to do a right-click on it to see the available menu list and then choose the Delete collection option.

Edge will now act to get rid of the unwanted collection.

If you ever delete an Edge collection by accident, then you have to click on the Undo button (on the dialog or window that shows up after a collection gets removed). The option that allows you to fix the mistake will not be available forever. Ideally, you should click on the Undo button quickly (as soon as you realize the error) because you only have a short window to take advantage of the undo procedure.

  1. Sharing collections:

After you finish collecting content, you might want to share it with others, or you might want to use the content of the collection in other applications or platforms. We will describe the sharing procedure for a good number of scenarios.

These are the steps you must go through to share a collection:

  • Assuming you are on the Edge browser window, you have to locate the collection you intend to share and then click on the share icon (in the top-right corner of the pane).
  • If you want to transfer the collection to the Word application, then you have to select Send to Word.

Similarly, if you want to use the collection in the Excel app, you have to choose Send to Excel.

  • If you want to use the items (images, text, and so on) in the collection on a different platform, then you have to click on Copy all (one of the options on the share menu list).

The collection’s items will now end up on your clipboard.

  • Alternatively, if you want to get individual items from the collection, then you can select them separately and then copy them (using the Copy button in the toolbar).

Once you copy a collection (or an item from a collection), you can then go to the program or platform where you intend to use it and then use the Paste function there. You can easily paste collections into your favorite applications (regardless of what they do). If you paste a collection (or stuff from a collection) into an application that supports HTML, you will get a rich copy of the content involved.

Some people might see Collections as Microsoft’s intention to curate an experience similar to the copy-and-paste feature in applications, such as Word or OneNote. To be fair, Collections in Edge seems to be a bit similar to the Linked Notes feature (based on Internet Explorer), which was designed to link passages of text to webpages in the OneNote desktop applications.

The Collections feature in Edge is still in development, but it is quite promising. Whatever you find yourself doing on the web, the Collections function is likely to have something to offer. It has to be said that no other web browser offers a similar tool for the same experience – at least, none of the major or popular browser applications provide such a function currently.

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