Microsoft Edge, the default web browser in Windows 10, has some features that you haven’t probably heard about. Like Learning Tools for instance. Learning Tools are features developed by Microsoft to help users to get the most out of Microsoft Edge regarding learning activity. More specifically — according to the explanation on one of Microsoft support pages — Learning Tools are aimed at helping the learning activity in the class. You can also use these tools to improve your reading experience in Microsoft Edge.
With Learning Tools you can, for instance, hear text read out loud or highlight nouns and verbs within a web page. You can access the Learning Tools when reading a web page on the Reading view mode. Some tools can also be activated when you are reading PDF documents or ePub books.
While Learning Tools are pretty handy to enhance your reading experience in Microsoft Edge, they are particularly great for teachers to enhance learning activity in the class.
How to use Learning Tools in Microsoft Edge
As mentioned above, Learning Tools are accessible when you are reading a web page on the Reading view mode. Or when you are reading a PDF document or ePub book. To turn the current web page to Reading view mode, simply click the book icon within the address bar (
Ctrl + Shift + R).
Reading a web page in a Reading view mode will remove distractions on the associated web page. Like ad banners and other distracting elements. This mode simplifies the layout of text and images. Reading a web page in a Reading view mode is much more pleasurable. You can totally focus on the content on the web page.
To access the Learning Tools on the Reading view, simply click anywhere within the page and you should see a floating menu bar as follows.
As you can see, there are several tools which are represented by icons.
- Change page theme, text size, and text spacing
By default, Reading view mode is available in a white background. Microsoft Edge offers two additional themes you can choose from to get a better reading experience: sepia and dark. You can also increase the text size as well as expand the spacing between the letters and words. Everything was designed to provide a better reading experience. To change the page appearance (on the Reading view mode), click anywhere within the page and click the left-most icon on the floating menu bar (
Ctrl + Shift + O).
- Read aloud
This tool is pretty helpful if you are teaching in the class but lazy enough to read the web page you are presenting. Microsoft Edge will read the page for you and your students. There are three different voices you can choose from. You can also set the speed of the sound. To activate the Read aloud, simply click anywhere within the page (on the Reading view mode) and click the Read aloud icon on the floating menu bar (
Ctrl + Shift + G).
Read aloud will start highlighting each word on the web page as it is being read. You can control the reading process, like pausing or jumping to the next/previous paragraph, via the floating toolbar. You can also change the voice via this toolbar by clicking the human icon.
Read aloud is actually not only available on the Reading view mode. You can also access it from any web page on the regular mode by right-clicking the current page where you are on. However, since Read aloud reads every single word on a web page, using this tool on the regular mode might will sound weird especially if you are on a website that has too many menus.
- Grammar tools
Grammar tools are great to help you improve reading comprehension by breaking words into syllables and highlighting nouns, verbs, and adjectives. You can find the Grammar tools tab on the floating menu bar on the Reading view mode. However, additional app (Immersive Reader) is required to use Grammar tools. Simply click Get button to download the app.
Once the app has been installed, click the Grammar tools icon on the floating menu bar on the Reading view mode to break the words into syllables or highlight nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
For some Windows 10 users, Microsoft Edge might is not the first choice for web browser. I am pretty sure that the vast majority of Windows 10 users prefer to use Google Chrome or Firefox instead of Microsoft Edge. Actually, Microsoft Edge is not as bad as you might think. This web browser comes with lots of handy, unique features that are not offered by other browsers. Including Reading Tools we have just covered above. So, before switching away, make sure you have really known Microsoft Edge already.