Your File Explorer is home to your photos, videos, documents,
spreadsheets, and more. On both Windows 10 and Windows 11, we
can view some of those files quickly and easily without having
to open their linked apps. This is possible with File
Explorer’s preview panel which appears on the right side of the
For those unaware, you can try the preview pane in the Windows
File Explorer by clicking on the “View” tab. When you’re in the
View tab, you need to select the Preview pane and then click on
a file you wish to view. If the file format is supported, you
will be able to view the preview of the file within the
With PowerToys, Microsoft has been testing add-ons for File
Explorer to extend the default capabilities of the preview
pane. The existing PowerToys extension adds the ability to
preview SVG and markdown files, which is particularly handy for
programmers and web developers.
Microsoft is now planning to take the File Explorer preview
experience to the next level with a new extension.
Right now, File Explorer has limited support for text file
formats. There are many text files that cannot be previewed in
the Preview pane and this particularly affects the files used
As you can see in the above screenshot, Microsoft is planning
to integrate Monaco editor’s file preview capability into the
File Explorer’s preview pane. For those unaware, Monaco is a
popular code editor for VS code and PowerToys will be using it
to easily apply the text preview to a large number of file
Thanks to the collaboration between independent developer
Aaron Junker and Microsoft,
this feature is already under development.
This would allow you to preview nearly all popular text-related
file formats in the File Explorer of Windows 11 or Windows 10.
Additionally, Microsoft is planning to add right-click menu
item “Use text preview for files of this type” to Windows. For
developers, Microsoft says it will use VS Code for previewing
service to allow for syntax highlighting.
Beyond helping you preview your own files, this new PowerToys
module could pave way for advanced Preview panel integrations.
At one point, you will be able to view unknown files, which is
particularly helpful when you don’t know which Windows apps
include support for such a file.
In addition to the new File Explorer extension, Microsoft
PowerToys recently received support for a utility that lets you
easily mute and unmute your mic/camera with a keyboard
Microsoft is also experimenting with
Windows 11-like design for different areas of PowerToys.
Tools like Power Rename and PowerToys settings have already
received the makeover, and additional design improvements are
expected in the next major release.