All Chromium-based browsers have one feature (or more) that sets them apart from the competition. One of Microsoft Edge’s unique native features is vertical tabs, which replace your row of tabs at the top of the window with a set of icons on the left side. In fact, we’re highlighting vertical tabs as one of five ways Edge is better than Google Chrome.
I decided to try this type of design after reading very positive reviews. Most fans love the extra space you get and swear that it makes browsing smoother. But after a few months of trying vertical lashes, I must confess that I still don’t know what they look like to me.
There are things that I like, of course. For starters, switching between vertical and horizontal tabs is quick and easy. You just need to press ‘CTRL + SHIFT +’ , on your keyboard. You can also go to “Settings” and search for the feature, or click the black window icon on the far left of the row of tabs.
Vertical tabs are also more convenient for controlling many tabs and minimizing window clutter. Each tab is reduced to an icon, which can be quickly seen at a glance. And when you hover over an icon, a bar appears with your tab titles, clearly indicating what you have open.
But the trickiest part is having this drawing on a portrait-oriented monitor. When your monitor is oriented this way, navigating horizontal tabs can be a real headache, especially on Edge. If you open enough tabs, Microsoft’s browser squeezes them so hard you can’t make out their icons. With vertical tabs, you avoid all that mess.
But there are things that I also have problems with. It’s mostly my muscle memory. After nearly two decades of using horizontal tabs, I’m conditioned to think that if I don’t see any tabs at the top of my screen, I just have a window open… which I end up reflexively closing.
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I lost count of the times I closed a window with more than 20 tabs still open, tabs I still needed to open. (In Edge, opening a recently closed window is more infuriating than in Chrome and Firefox: if you accidentally open another tab or window before trying to recover it, it just disappears.)
I also find it visually distracting to switch to another tab with the mouse. The sidebar with your tab information appears as soon as you hover over a tab. That means it constantly pops up when clicked, which I find annoying.
But even despite the slight discomfort from the vertical tabs, I still didn’t back down. It slowly forces me to learn new muscle memory, like learning to use CTRL + SHIFT + A! to display the tab search menu and switch between tabs.
Truth be told, maybe one of the reasons I haven’t ditched vertical tabs from Edge is because I use other browsers regularly too, and they have the familiar horizontal tabs extension.
They are perfect for my secondary monitor and it’s easier to live in a dual system instead of switching. But don’t let that stop you from trying it yourself. You may find that you adapt more easily and end up loving them unequivocally.
Original article published in English on our sister site PCWorld.com