A leaked screenshot from late 2022 showed that Microsoft was working on adding tabs to Notepad. The feature is now available in test builds of Windows 11.
Version 11.2212.33.0 of Notepad is now rolling out to members of the Windows Insider Program who use the Windows 11 Dev Channel. The update introduces support for multiple tabs in a Notepad windowwhich Microsoft explains as “a much requested feature by the community“. It works as you would expect, with the ability to have multiple documents open in one window, with a tab bar now occupying the title bar area.
Microsoft writes in a blog post:You can also continue working on files in multiple windows by dragging a tab into its own window, and a new app setting lets you customize whether files open in new tabs or a new window by default. There are also new hotkeys to support tab management, as well as some unsaved file handling improvements, such as automatically generating the file name/tab title based on content and a updated unsaved changes indicator“.
Notepad is the first built-in app to get a tabbed interface, after Microsoft added tabs to File Explorer last year. Microsoft started testing tabs in all apps in Windows 10 almost 5 years ago in a feature called Sets. It would have added support for tabs in Notepad, File Explorer, and many other apps, but Microsoft eventually canceled the project and never delivered it to Windows 10 users.
An application that becomes useful
The Notepad app already received a major update when Windows 11 was released, with updated text rendering, better find and replace, and Dark Mode support. Tab support makes the long-running text editor even better, and could mean fewer people seek out an alternative on newer PCs. However, free alternatives such as Notepad++ and Visual Studio Code are a whole different level from Windows Notepad.
Microsoft hasn’t mentioned when Notepad tabs will roll out to everyone on Windows 11, but it probably won’t take too long.