Groupy Brings Tabs to Every Window in Windows

Posted on November 14, 2017 by Brad Sams in Windows with 28 Comments

Every so often you come across an app and think “this should be built into the OS”. One example is an app like Rainmeter and being released today in beta is another and it’s called Groupy.

The easiest way to describe this is that it brings tabs to everything in Windows 10. And when I say anything, I mean it; if it’s in a window, it can be tabbed.

For example, if you have wanted tabs in File Explorer, this app makes that possible. But it goes beyond one single app as you can mix and match any application as I currently have Skype, Todoist and my calendar in one group.

If you use Excel, adding tabs to the app with all your open spreadsheets makes it much easier to stay organized. The same can be said if you use the Adobe suite too. Frankly, once you start using the app you begin to wonder why Microsoft never built this into the OS.

When an app is grouped, it still respects alt+tab for easy app switching and if you move your mouse over a tab, a drop down appears showing a small preview of the app. And as you would expect, there are keyboard shortcuts for power users with Win + ~ to cycle through the tabs in a selected window.

One thing I do recommend if you give Groupy a try is turning on “hold shift” to create a group as it’s quite easy to accidentally create a group if you keep it as drag-and-drop. This setting removes some of the frustration as you are

My desktop is a triple monitor setup and I will say that for those who have multi-monitor setups, Groupy may not be essential. That being said, on my laptop, Groupy is quite helpful and even on the multi-monitor setup, simply having tabbed File Explorer makes life a little bit better.

I know that Microsoft has looked at bringing tabs to Windows 10 for some time but here we are, several years after release, with nothing to show for it. I’ve been using this app for about a week and it works incredibly well; it functions like a browser tab but across the entire OS.

The app will be coming out next month for $10 but if you are using Object Desktop today, you can try out the beta right now.


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Comments (31)

31 responses to “Groupy Brings Tabs to Every Window in Windows”

  1. jimchamplin

    This... Looks freaking awesome!

  2. chrisrut

    I could write pages about this, but I'll simplify it to "Good idea..." Applying set and group theory to the UI has been on my list for a loooooooong time...Gotta give this a try.

  3. Darekmeridian

    Been reading over the comments on this post. There is a overall consensus is Microsoft should have added this feature years ago, I kind of agree and disagree. The ability to do this seems like a no-brainier. I think it shows that there is still life in the platform for developers, and that still after all these years Windows is still pretty extensible.

    Microsoft doesn't always do a great job with features, and a lot of the time things that were a good idea are left by the side of the road for the next big thing. Stardock has been doing interface customization for as far back as I can remember, and they still are pretty good at hooking into the OS and doing amazing things.

    So I am glad companies like Stardock are still around kicking butt and making Windows that much better.

  4. fishnet37222

    The only thing from Stardock I currently use is Start10, but I might just add this when it comes out next month.

  5. Winner

    I guess Microsoft was so busy ensuring Candy Crush Saga was on my tiles and that I could draw circles on web pages with a pen, that they didn't think of something like this.

  6. Boris Zakharin

    So it's already built into the OS. It's called the taskbar. Of course having multiple "taskbars" may be useful to some, but I don't see the big deal.

  7. lwetzel

    So is it only available with Object Desktop subscription?

    Yes to answer my own question I quote,

    "Beta only available through Object Desktop "

  8. gregsedwards

    So, it's like a taskbar that sticks to the top of your windows.


  9. Alex Taylor

    Great report - thanks Paul.

    I agree it should be built into the OS, and there was a recent-ish report (April 2017) that it was on its way to windows.

    I have been totally hooked on this feature for almost 10 years now since KDE4 on OpenSUSE linux. Interestingly Paul's warning about accidentally grouping with Drag&Drop is addressed in KDE by using the middle mouse button by default for drag-group and drag-ungroup options.

    As Paul notes, it's obscenely good and obvious for spreadsheets. In fact, when my wife moved back from Linux to Windows, the lack of Tab spreadsheets was a big complaint.

    My only observation about Groupy is that it appears to double the height of the title bar area, which may be a limitation of being 3rd party. I love my vertical space, and the great thing about the KDE (and rumored native Win10) implementation is that it used the otherwise largely empty normal titlebar.

    Will give it a try!

  10. hrlngrv

    Exquisitely apt for Excel. MSFT abandoned MDI going from Office 2010 (Windows 7 era) to Office 2013 (Windows 8 era) apparently in order to clutter the taskbar. In that sense, Groupy does considerable violence to MSFT's grand vision. Good for Groupy. More developers should undo, bypass and overcome all MSFT's design mistakes. MSFT won't.

  11. Darekmeridian

    Wow! I was just self-debating renewal of my Object Desktop subscription at the beginning of the month. I kept it mostly for Fences, Object Dock, and WindowsFX. It's been a while since they have added something interesting on the Object Desktop side, Stardock seems to be more concentrated on the gaming end of the business. So glad that I decided to stick it out for another year.

    Thanks Brad for surfacing this it's super useful!

  12. ErichK

    Dang it! Why couldn't I think of this. Might be worth a purchase. I know I pine many times for tabs in file explorer. To have tabs *anywhere* is that much better.

  13. ianhead

    What ever happened to the tabbed window management Microsoft was toying with that got reported on all the way back in April?

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