TidyTabs brings order to your chaotic desktop

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What’s the collective noun for all those windows cluttering up your desktop? A clutter of windows, maybe, or perhaps even a chaos of windows? If you’re wondering how to bring some semblance of logical organization back to your Windows desktop, you need TidyTabs 1.2.

TidyTabs gives away what it does with its name. It takes inspiration from the web browser revolution that saw dozens of separate, unmanageable website windows gathered together into a single, multi-tabbed window and takes it to the next level.

TidyTabs treads a path worn by others -- Office Tab for Microsoft Office comes to mind -- but adds some innovative touches of its own.

First, the basic premise: TidyTabs cleverly combines multiple windows into a single tabbed window, with the tabs displayed semi-translucently across the top of the main window -- just click on a tab to bring it into focus.

Here’s the thing, though: whereas Firefox is concerned with browser windows, and Office Tab can only manage multiple documents for individual Office applications, TidyTabs doesn’t simply allow you to tabulate multiple windows from a single application, it allows you to mix and match application windows too.

For example, perhaps you’re writing a report, while researching it on the web and editing some images to include in it. TidyTabs lets you drag each separate program window on top of each other to provide you with a single, tabbed window with everything you need at your fingertips. Once you’re done, either close each window or drag them off each other to split them apart.

The free version of TidyTabs -- which is for personal use only -- allows you to manually group up to three windows together by clicking and dragging the tab of one window on top of another. You have limited options for customizing the tabs appearance in terms of transparency and the size of the preview window when clicking and dragging a tab. You can also set up exclusion lists to ignore specific applications and automatically hide tabs when only a single window is open.

The Pro edition takes things even further -- it removes an arbitrary limit of three tabs per window, allows you to automatically group windows by application (so all your Word documents automatically appear in a single, tabbed window), plus lets you reorder tabs, rename them with a double-click, and close individual tabs with a middle click. You also get control over tab colors with additional options: none, custom or Windows theme (the default colors them according to the application’s own theme).

TidyTabs 1.2.0 is a free-for-personal use download for Windows 7 or later. The Pro license costs just $9 per computer, but you can road-test these extra features for up to 60 minutes at a time thanks to its clever trial (once expired, you can either go back to free functionality only, or quit and restart the program to restart the trial in turn).

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