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Not so long ago it became known that Microsoft is working on a major design update for File Explorer for Windows 11, which will affect several key areas of the application. In addition, File Explorer will receive improved integration with OneDrive and Microsoft 365.
Portal Windows Central got his hands on internal layouts that show how the Explorer will change in the near future. For example, the window title will get a modern address bar, an updated search field, and a new home button. Buttons such as “New”, “Copy”, “Paste” and others will move to the file and folder display area directly below the title.
The redesigned home page will have better integration with Microsoft 365 services, with a Featured section at the top with larger thumbnails.
The navigation bar on the left side of the window will also get a modern Fluent Design look. The details panel will show much more information about files and folders, thanks to integration with Microsoft 365. For example, it will show emails and recent comments on files if they are shared through the cloud storage.
The File Explorer design update is expected to make the app more usable on touchscreen devices.
Windows Central reports that Microsoft is also working on new features for viewing photos in File Explorer with the new Gallery pane. To view enlarged thumbnails of photos, it will be enough to move the mouse cursor over the desired file.
In addition, Microsoft is trying to implement “tagging” support in File Explorer, which will allow users to organize and categorize files using keywords and colors, similar to the Finder app on macOS.
If Microsoft goes ahead with its plans, it will be the biggest update to File Explorer since Windows 8, released more than 10 years ago. The company wants the new “Explorer” to remain familiar to users, but at the same time get a modern design that matches the style of the operating system.
Many of the changes to File Explorer will arrive before the end of 2023, according to Windows Central. It is possible that ordinary users will receive them in the summer along with the Moment update or in the fall along with the release of Windows 11 version 23H2. Insiders, of course, will see the changes much sooner.