What you need to know
- Microsoft recently started testing tabs in the File Explorer on Windows 11, though the functionality has not yet been officially announced.
- Windows users were split about if Microsoft took things far enough when adding tabs to the File Explorer, according to a recent poll.
- Almost 50% of polled participants want to see tabs in more Microsoft apps, while over 43% of voters are happy with the addition of tabs to the File Explorer.
The latest Insider build of Windows 11 includes a hidden option to enable tabs within the File Explorer. Some Insiders were able to enable the feature, giving us a glimpse of what Microsoft seems to have in store for its default file management app. Tab support has been a requested feature by many for quite some time, and it appears that we won't have to wait long to see it officially roll out.
While many welcome the addition of tabs to the File Explorer, some think Microsoft should take things a step further and add tabs to more apps. Back in 2017 and 2018, Microsoft worked on a feature called Sets, which allowed people to organize any application with tabs.
Over the weekend, we ran a poll to see if our readers are content with tabs just being added to the File Explorer or if they'd like to see tabs added to more applications. Voting was relatively split on the issue. Just under 50% of polled readers want to see tabs in more apps. Over 43% are happy to see tabs only added to the File Explorer. Around 7% of polled participants said they don't use tabs at all.
In our comments section, GraniteStateColin explained why they value tabs. "I still love tabs as the simplest, fastest way to group related tasks together. Sets would have been fantastic for me, but just providing the option for tabs in more apps is a solid win."
Others called for tabs to come to other apps from Microsoft. "Tabs in File Explorer is a good first start. Now let's implement tabs in Office 365 and Notepad,£ said peiaird.
Tarkus13 expressed different thoughts in the comments section. "The only thing I used Sets for was Explorer, so yes, this is enough for me. Far better to have it natively in the app too, rather than the clunky Sets method." They don't appear to be alone, as over 43% of voters said they were happy with tabs only being added to the File Explorer on Windows 11.
While it's not a native solution, it is already possible to get tabs in Windows using Stardock's Groupy application. Groupy allows you to organize any app on Windows with tabs. It also supports saved groups, which make it easier to launch a collection of apps you frequently use together.
If people prefer to wait for built-in tab support in the File Explorer, it seems like they won't have to wait long. While File Explorer tabs haven't been announced by Microsoft, the user interface for the feature appears to be well into development. Of course, Microsoft could always change its plans.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.