Tabbed navigation in Windows Explorer is long overdue
Tabbed navigation in Windows Explorer is long overdue if you ask me, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one thinking this way.So the advent of Windows 8 could be a great opportunity for Microsoft to enhance Windows Explorer navigation, adding to the already comprehensive list of enhancements.
Just to be absolutely clear, this is nothing more than a personal opinion piece, and I don’t want in any way to infer that tabs will be added to Windows 8 Explorer. They sure should, though.
While browsing through the comments to the “Improvements in Windows Explorer” post on the ‘Building Windows 8 blog,’ I came across a piece of feedback from Jeff Cutting, a softie.
“What if Windows Explorer had tab handling like IE9? I'm sure I'm not the only one who ends up with 10+ Explorer windows open when I'm working on various tasks. What if those could be tabs in a single Explorer window?” he asked.
“As with IE, you could drag a tab out of the tab bar to create a new window on the fly and drag tabs from one window to another. Dragging a folder to an existing tab or the new tab square would open that folder in that tab. Hovering over a tab would show the full path. Options could exist for opening a folder in a new tab or window.
“Dragging files to a tab could work for copying (along with right-click dragging for copy/move/shortcut). In the Windows task bar preview, each Explorer tab would be shown as they are with IE. The ability to save a tab group as a favorite would also be great for those of us who frequently open a set of folders.”
I enjoy Windows Explorer Snap in Windows 7 more than I should, and again, I’m sure that there are more users like me.
Snap has made it easier for customers to work with at least two Windows Explorer windows opened side by side. But in doing so, it managed to make it clear that Windows Explorer navigation could do with an overhaul.
Having at least two screens side by side is a good start, but tabbed navigation would surely be even better. Not to mention that some of the additional request from Cutting also make perfect sense, especially in the context of next gen NUI interaction models.