Microsoft teases new File Explorer for Windows 11

Microsoft made Windows 11 official today, but one part of the operating system the company didn’t show during its event was File Explorer. Just like the rest of Windows 11, it looks like File Explorer is getting a significant overhaul. In a video entitled “how Windows 11 is being designed,” Microsoft reveals the new File Explorer UI alongside some changes to the Microsoft Office UI.

It appears that the ribbon interface that’s typically been a part of File Explorer and Office is going away. In a brief appearance in the video, you can see a File Explorer that looks more optimized for touch, with controls for file and folder operations built into the top section. As only the top section is shown, it’s difficult to know what else has changed, but we’ll likely see more once a preview version of Windows 11 is released early next week.

This new File Explorer also includes the new icons that Microsoft has been working on as part of a bigger visual overhaul to Windows 11. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’re getting the tabbed interface that designers have been dreaming for recently, or the heavily simplified File Explorer concepts we’ve seen in the past.

Alongside the File Explorer appearance, Microsoft also demonstrated what looks like a new UI for Office apps on Windows 11. This includes a collapsible ribbon menu, with rounded corners and what looks like a bigger focus on touch improvements.

Microsoft didn’t mention a new design for Office during its Windows 11 event today, either. The company has been gradually refining the design of Office over the past year, with a much bigger focus on simplifying Office across the web, desktop, and mobile. Microsoft also teased similar UI changes to Office last year, but the company hasn’t fully rolled them out yet.


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