What a shame. Windows Sets is dead

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Windows Sets would have been an important innovation for Office users but has now been killed by Microsoft.

Sets was a proposed and tested Windows feature which would let you group different programs together in a tabbed interface.  Think of the familiar tabs in a browser except each tab had your choice of programs.

That would let you group related windows together by task instead of program.  For a project you could have a Word document, Excel worksheet and some browser windows all in a single Set, along a line of tabs.

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Microsoft could get Sets to work for their UWP apps but that’s not a lot of use to customers who mostly use traditional Windows programs (like Word, Excel etc).

It seems Microsoft ‘bit off more than they could chew’. Originally the idea was to add tabs to Explorer and Command Prompt (DOS) boxes which would have been achievable. That simple notion grew into a Grand Plan with all programs displayed via the Edge browser system to provide the tabs.

What now?

There’s still hope that tabs will be added to the Command Prompt boxes and maybe Explorer. There’s no timeline for that, so don’t hold your breath.

What can you do now?

Windows 10 has another way to separate programs into different views: Virtual Desktops.

Windows + Ctrl + D creates a virtual desktop.  Extra ‘screens’ you can quickly switch between. Each virtual desktop can contain different programs related to a single job or project.  A common split is personal and work desktops.

Virtual Desktops help keep related windows together and distractions out of sight.

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Windows 10 May 2019 for Microsoft Office users has an entire chapter devoted to Virtual Desktops. How to use them, all the shortcuts, tricks and yes, some annoyances.


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