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Quick hands-on with Sets, the new feature (for some) in Windows 10 Insider build 17063

If you installed the freshly-released Windows 10 Insider build 17063, you may already have early access to Windows Sets, a new feature that adds a tabbed interface to UWP apps. Microsoft previously explained that not all Windows Insiders will get this feature at first, as the company wants to “compare the usage and satisfaction of these features versus people who don’t.”

Sets may not make it to the upcoming Redstone 4 update, but it already looks something that could definitely change how you use your Windows 10 PC. Brandon LeBlanc, Senior Program Manager on the Windows Insider Program Team penned a blog post yesterday to explain how Sets can make you more productive in several ways.

“Sets help you keep webpages, documents, files, and apps connected, while remaining just one click away,” LeBlanc explained. “When you close a file that includes a group of tabs, we’ll help you bring those tabs back to life the next time you open it,” he continued.

We were lucky enough to get early access to Sets on one of our Windows Insider PCs (are you as lucky? let us know in our poll on Sets), and the feature is currently pretty basic compared to what you can see in the video above. For now, you can add web tabs to UWP apps by clicking the “+” button in an app, just like you do in your web browser. The new tab page only allows you to search the web, access frequently visited websites, or browse a personalized news feed.

You can only add web tabs for now.

In some apps like Microsoft’s Outlook Mail app or the Office Mobile apps, clicking an url will automatically open it in a new tab, which is quite handy. LeBlanc said that Sets of tabs should automatically restore when you reopen UWP apps, but we haven’t been able to make this work so far.

Clicking a link in OneNote and other apps will automatically open the url in a new tab.

To navigate between all your tabs in a Set, you can also use the following keyboard shortcuts

Shortcuts Action
Win+Ctrl+Tab Switch to the next tab
Win+Ctrl+Shift+Tab Switch to the previous tab
Win+Ctrl+W Close the active tab
Win+Ctrl+1 through 8 Switch to a specific tab
Win+Ctrl+9 Switch to the last tab
Win+Ctrl+T Open a new tab

Sets are pretty limited in this first release, but LeBlanc explained that app tabs are coming soon, in addition to tab support for File Explorer and Win32 apps. Here’s everything that’s currently in the pipeline for future releases:

  • Narrator support soon and screen-reader functionality
  • Desktop apps and File Explorer will be able to add tabs
  • Tabs can be merged together
  • Web tabs can be dragged out of a Set
  • You will be able to control what tabs you restore when launching a Set
  • Timeline integration
  • The new tab page will allow local search, show frequently visited apps, and include additional feeds
  • The new tab page will be able to launch apps in a new tab

It’s also worth noting that Sets can be turned off if you just prefer to do things old-school. To deactivate the feature, you have to open the Settings app and go to System > Multitasking and then uncheck “Tabs in apps.”

You can turn off Sets in the Settings app.

“This is new territory for us, so we’re excited to get your feedback from the start,” explains LeBlanc. “Your input will play a key role in how we’ll craft this experience and we’re looking forward to seeing where this collaboration takes us.” If you already have access to Sets, you can provide your feedback to the Windows Insider team by completing dedicated Quests in the Feedback Hub.

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Do you already have access to Sets?