Microsoft has announced a new feature that will soon appear in Windows 10. It’s called Sets and it could be a very useful tool for organising the way you work with apps and browser tabs. We take a look at what Sets has to offer and when you can expect to see it on your PC.
Essentially, Sets is a feature that allows you to have web browser tabs and apps all appear next to each other in a single tabbed window.
Now, why would you want to do this?
Well, say you’re working on a particular project, maybe planning a holiday, you’d need a few different browser windows open with flights and hotel options, OneNote for writing down the details, Excel to record the financial costs, and a chat window for going through everything with your traveling companion.
With Sets you could now group all of these together into a tabbed window, making switching between them easy, and hopefully preventing the chance of getting side-tracked with other tasks or internet-based distractions.
The best part is when you close down the window, all of the open tabs will be remembered. So, next time you launch one of the related apps you’ll be asked whether you want to also open the other items, including the web pages you were on.
If you’re an Office 365 user then you can even log into another machine and pick up where you left off thanks to Microsoft’s cloud services.
Windows Sets & Microsoft Edge
The way Windows handles Sets is through the Edge browser. Microsoft has expanded its capabilities to include being able to place normal apps alongside the web pages. So, when an app is opened, there is now a bar at the top of the window that includes the tab you’re currently looking at, with a '+' next to it to open another tab.
Doing this takes you to a start page within Edge where you can search for apps on your PC, select from a list of frequently used ones, or use the browser as normal to search the web.
Should you wish to turn off the Sets feature for specific apps, then this is available as an option in Settings.
Of course, all of this is a clever move as it will increase interest in Edge, which has struggled to overcome the behemoth that is Chrome. The downside is that it only works with Microsoft’s browser, so those users surgically attached to Google’s offering will have a decision to make on whether they want to switch, at least when using Sets.
When will Sets be released?
There’s no firm date yet on when Sets will be included in a Windows update. So far, it’s appeared in several Windows Insider Preview builds, but Microsoft is holding back on introducing the feature to a consumer build until it's sure that everything works perfectly.
Many hoped that Sets might be included in the upcoming October 2018 update, but that now seems unlikely, and therefore our best estimate is that it will appear in the April 2019 update instead.
If you want to get ahead of the crowd and see how Sets works, then you can sign up for the Windows Insider Program. It’s a free way to help Microsoft test new features in Windows 10, but we’d recommend using a PC that isn’t your main device, as these are experimental versions of Windows after all.
Life on the Edge has its risks.