Microsoft Edge Developer Tools overview

When you install Microsoft Edge, you not only get a browser, you also get Developer Tools, which provide a powerful way to inspect, debug, and even create web projects. The Developer Tools that are shipped with Microsoft Edge are partly based on the tools in the Chromium open-source project, so you may already be familiar with some of these tools. The Microsoft Edge Developer Tools are also called Microsoft Edge DevTools, or simply DevTools.

With DevTools, you can do the following:

  • Inspect and change the current webpage live in the browser.
  • Emulate how your product behaves on different devices and simulate a mobile environment, complete with different network conditions.
  • Inspect, tweak, and change the styles of elements in the webpage using live tools with a visual interface.
  • Debug your JavaScript using breakpoint debugging and with the live console.
  • Find accessibility, performance, compatibility, and security issues in your products and learn how to use DevTools to fix each.
  • Inspect the network traffic and review the location of the problems.
  • Inspect where the browser stored content in various formats.
  • Evaluate the performance of your product to find memory problems and rendering issues.
  • Use a development environment to sync changes in DevTools with the file system and from the web.

Opening DevTools

To open DevTools, right-click any item on a webpage and then click Inspect.

  • Or, press F12, or press Ctrl+Shift+I (on Windows/Linux) or Command+Option+I (on macOS).

DevTools opens, with the Elements tool selected.

To open DevTools, right-click any item on a webpage and then click Inspect.

DevTools opens, with the right-clicked element highlighted in the Elements tool.

There are two main ways to interact with DevTools.

  • Use the mouse.
  • Keyboard shortcuts. These provide a quick way to access functionality and are needed for accessibility. The Microsoft Edge DevTools team works hard to make all the tools available using the keyboard and assistive technologies such as screen readers. See Microsoft Edge DevTools keyboard shortcuts.

See also Open Microsoft Edge DevTools - how to open the different features in DevTools.

Changing where DevTools is docked in the browser

To change where DevTools is placed within the browser window:

  1. Select the Customize and control DevTools (...) button.
  2. To the right of Placement of DevTools relative to the page (Dock side), select a layout option.

Screenshot of the Dock side menu in DevTools.

Dock to left or Dock to right keeps DevTools side-by-side with your web product, and is excellent when you emulate mobile devices. The Dock to left and Dock to right options work best with high-resolution displays.

Dock to right is the default placement of DevTools:

Screenshot of DevTools docked to the right.

Dock to left is another side-by-side option:

Screenshot of DevTools docked to the left.

Dock to bottom helps you when you don't have enough horizontal display space, or you want to debug long text in the DOM or Console:

Screenshot of DevTools docked to the bottom.

Undock into separate window helps you work with several monitors or if you need to work on a full-screen app:

Screenshot of DevTools undocked into a separate window.

See also Change DevTools placement (Undock, Dock to bottom, Dock to left).

The main tools on the toolbar

DevTools give you an amazing amount of power to inspect, debug, and change the web product currently displayed in the browser. Most of the tools display the changes live. Live updates make the tools incredibly useful to refine the appearance and navigation or functionality of a web project without the need to refresh or build it. DevTools also allow you to change web-based third-party products on your computer.

Main tools (tabs) on the toolbar

There are two toolbars: the main toolbar at the top of DevTools, and the Drawer at the bottom if you select Esc. The main toolbar normally has the following tabs (or tools, or panels):

  • Welcome. Includes information about the new features of DevTools, how to contact the team, and provides information about certain features. This tool is placed first.

Next, the following tools are always present on the toolbar and cannot be closed:

  • Elements. Allows you to edit or inspect HTML and CSS. You can edit in the tool while displaying the changes live in the browser.
  • Console. Allows you to display and filter log messages. Log messages are automated logs of the browser like network requests and developer-generated logs. You can also run JavaScript directly in the Console in the context of the current window or frame.
  • Sources. A code editor and JavaScript debugger. You can edit projects, maintain snippets, and debug your current project.
  • Network. Allows you to monitor and inspect requests or responses from the network and browser cache. You can filter requests and responses to fit your needs and simulate different network conditions.

Finally, these more specialized tools (tabs) are on the toolbar by default:

  • Performance
  • Memory
  • Application
  • Security
  • Lighthouse

Tool, tab, or panel

Often the words "tool", "tab", or "panel" can be used interchangeably. In the command menu, the tools are called panels; for example, the Elements tool is called the Elements panel. To switch to the Elements tool, you select the Elements tab. There's a More Tools button and list, and there's a More tabs button on the toolbar, both of which are used to select tools, which are also called panels.

Sections of the toolbar

The main toolbar in DevTools has the following sections:

The menu bar of DevTools with labels that explain the different sections.  In order: Inspect tool, Device Emulation tool, Tools tab group, JavaScript errors, Issues, Settings, Feedback, Customize, and Close.

  • When you select the Inspect tool, you can select an element on the current webpage. While the Inspect tool is active, you can move your mouse over different parts of the webpage to get detailed information about page elements, and a multi-color overlay that shows the layout dimensions, padding, and margin of the page element.

    The Inspect tool while hovering over with the first headline of this article.

  • The Device Emulation tool displays the current web product in an emulated device mode. The Device Emulation tool allows you to run and test how your product reacts when you resize the browser. It also gives you an estimation of the layout and behavior on a mobile device.

    DevTools display of this article in an emulated mobile phone.

  • The main toolbar contains tabs for tools that are used in various scenarios. You can customize each of the tools, and the content of a tool can change based on the context. To show a tool that is on a tab that's hidden, select the More tabs (>>) button. To add a tool to the main toolbar or to the drawer's toolbar, select the More tools (+) button. Each tool is introduced below.

  • Next to the Tools tab group are optional error and issues shortcuts. The shortcuts display when JavaScript errors or issues occur on the current webpage. The Open Console to view # errors, # warnings (JavaScript Errors) button displays a red circle with an X, followed by the number of JavaScript errors. To open the Console and learn about the error, select the JavaScript Errors button. The Open Issues to view # issues (Issues) button is a blue message icon followed by the number of issues. To open the Issues tool, select the Issues button.

  • The Settings button displays a gear icon. To open DevTools Settings webpage, select the Settings button. The Settings webpage displays a menu to change Preferences, turn on Experiments, and much more.

  • The Send Feedback button displays a torso with a chat bubble next to it. To open the Send Feedback dialog, select the Send Feedback button. The Send Feedback dialog allows you to enter information to describe what happened and automatically includes a screenshot. Use Send Feedback to connect with DevTools team to report problems, issues, or suggest ideas.

  • The Customize and control DevTools (...) button opens a dropdown menu. It allows you to define where to dock DevTools, search, open different tools, and much more.

Power tip: Use the command menu

DevTools provides lots of features and functionality to use with your web product. You can access the different parts of DevTools in many ways, but often a fast way is to use the command menu.

In the command menu, the tools are called "panels"; for example, the Elements tool is called the Elements panel. To switch to the Elements tool, you select the Elements tab.

To open the command menu, do any of the following:

  • Press Control+Shift+P (Windows, Linux) or Command+Shift+P (macOS).
  • Click Customize and control DevTools (...), and then select Run command.

Screenshot of the command menu in DevTools.

The command menu allows you to type commands to display, hide, or run features in DevTools. With the command menu open, enter the word changes, and then select Drawer: Show Changes. The Changes tool opens, which is useful when you edit CSS. In this case, the command menu provides a fast alternative to selecting More Tools (...) and then selecting Changes, or editing a .js file in the Sources tool, then right-clicking and selecting Local modifications.

The command menu displays the options after you type changes:

Command menu displays the options after you type changes.

DevTools with the Changes tool open:

DevTools with the Changes tool open.

See also Run commands with the Microsoft Edge DevTools Command menu.

Customizing DevTools

You can customize DevTools to meet your needs for the way you work. To change settings, do any of the following:

  • Select Settings (the gear icon on the top right).
  • Select F1 or ?.

In the Preferences section, you can change several parts of DevTools. For example, you can use the Match the browser language setting to use the same language in DevTools that is used in your browser. For another example, use the Theme setting to change the color theme of DevTools.

Screenshot of all the settings in DevTools.

You can also change the settings of advanced features, such as:

  • Workspaces.

  • Filter library code with the Ignore List.

  • Define the Devices you want to include in the device simulation and test mode. For more information, see Emulate mobile devices in Microsoft Edge DevTools.

  • Select a network Throttling profile.

  • Define simulated Locations.

  • Customize keyboard Shortcuts. For example, to use the same shortcuts in DevTools as in Visual Studio Code, select Match shortcuts from preset > Visual Studio Code.

    Screenshot of all the keyboard shortcuts and the menu to match each to the shortcuts in Visual Studio Code.

Trying experimental features

The DevTools team provides new features as experiments in DevTools. You can turn each of the experiments on or off. To see the full list of Experimental features, in DevTools, select Settings (the gear icon), and then select Experiments.

To preview the latest features coming to DevTools, download Microsoft Edge Canary, which builds nightly.

See also