Old dog, new trick: Microsoft tests a tabbed UI for Notepad.exe in Windows 11

Old dog, new trick: Microsoft tests a tabbed UI for Notepad.exe in Windows 11

Enlarge / Notepad, now with tabs.


Notepad is one of the very oldest Windows apps, and up until Windows 11 came out, it was one of the least-changed. It remains a barebones text editor, but it has learned some new tricks in Windows 11, picking up dark mode support, a customizable font, and a multilevel undo function. (A developer also managed to port Doom to Notepad recently, technically qualifying it as “a gaming platform.”)

Another new Notepad feature is apparently being tested within Microsoft—a screenshot from an unnamed Microsoft employee shows a new tabbed user interface for the app, a feature that Microsoft also recently added to the venerable Windows Explorer. The screenshot was deleted shortly after it was posted (hilariously, it has a giant “confidential” banner running across the top of it), but it’s been preserved by outlets like Windows Central that caught it before it was taken down.

Microsoft may or may not ever release this tabbed Notepad—these kinds of features often end up making their way into the public builds of Windows eventually, but even things available in Windows Insider builds of the OS don’t always end up in the release version that rolls out to all PCs.

Windows 11 and its apps are updated on a “whenever we feel like it” cadence these days, with both major once-a-year updates and periodic feature drops throughout the year. So if Microsoft does deem this tabbed Notepad version ready for release, we won’t need to wait for 2023’s big update to get it.