Windows 11 preview brings the Photo app’s ‘gallery’ view to File Explorer

Microsoft is making it easier to view your photos in File Explorer. The latest Windows 11 developer preview rolling out today includes Gallery, a new feature that lets you view the Photos app’s image library while browsing files and folders.

The Gallery view, the shortcut to which is found in the File Explorer’s navigation panel, arrives in Windows Insider Build 23435. After selecting Gallery, the main file-browsing window will show thumbnails of the same images from the All Photos view of the Photos app. Microsoft says it’s optimized for accessing your most recent photos if you have OneDrive Camera Roll Backup activated on your phone; they’ll display right up top.

It should also make it easy to find content from specific folders. “You can choose which folders are shown in Gallery through the Collection dropdown,” Microsoft’s announcement reads. “You can also add subfolders of existing sources to filter to a subset of your content, such as desktop backgrounds and SD card/camera imports.” In addition, Gallery will appear as an option in the file-picking dialog, which should simplify attaching images to emails, PowerPoint presentations or social posts.

Screenshot of the Windows 11 file picker, showing the Gallery highlighted in the navigation panel (left side of Explorer window), with an array of image thumbnails in the main window. Microsoft Paint (the app calling up the file-picker) is open behind the picker window.
Gallery in the Windows 11 file-picker view


Microsoft says the feature is rolling out gradually and won’t be available to all Dev Channel Insiders immediately. Instead, the company will “monitor feedback and see how it lands before pushing it out to everyone.” Although it seems like a feature that will make its way to future stable releases, it’s still in beta and could (theoretically) end up on the cutting-room floor if the company receives negative feedback or changes course.

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