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Tabs officially come to Windows 11 redesigned File Explorer

During an April 5 “Windows Powers the Future of Hybrid Work” event, Microsoft confirmed one of the biggest Windows 11 rumors of recent weeks. As we had expected, Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer revealed that File Explorer in Windows 11 is getting a redesign with a tabbed experience for quicker access to your favorite documents.

According to Panay, this new experience is coming as a way to make Windows 11 more inclusive, accessible, and intelligent. The Microsoft executive didn’t provide a release date for the redesigned File Explorer at the event, but he mentioned that it will be a way for Windows users to “be more efficient and more productive in every experience.”

Tabs in the Windows 11 File Explorer
Microsoft

The new File Explorer experience has been one of Microsoft’s worst-kept Windows 11 secrets. Technically savvy Windows Insiders previously uncovered the feature in the middle of March. With it, you get a new “plus” button in the title bar of File Explorer. This lets you open separate tabs for key areas of Windows 11. That can include your desktop folder, downloads folder, documents folder, pictures folder, music, or even videos. All the tabbed areas work independently of each other, so you no longer have to open new windows for each of these items.

Microsoft is also using its Context IQ technology in the new File Explorer. This helps makes relevant searches faster. And, you’ll be able to find more relevant recommendations for content and contacts from your organization, and frequent collaborators that are stored in the cloud, too.

“You can also pin files and create tabs in File Explorer, bringing what used to take six clicks to get to an important file to one,” said Panay in a blog post announcing the feature.

MacOS already has a feature like this, though it’s not turned on by default. Microsoft also tested a similar version of this feature back in 2017 with Windows 10 and ended up canceling it. That version let you create tabs in core system apps, but this modern implementation is only limited to the Windows 11 File Explorer.

Windows 11 is already a great operating system for multitasking and tabs in File Explorer fit in well. When compared to Windows 10, the operating system features a Snap Layouts feature, Widgets, as well as improvements for docking with monitors.

Microsoft also announced several security updates for Windows 11, as well as some artificial intelligence power features at today’s event. It even confirmed that Windows 11 will “soon” get some of the features that have been in testing with Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel, like Live Captions, Folders on the Start Menu, and a touch-friendly version of Snap Assist.

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