Document Management Improvements: Vertical document tabs are here!

Stephanie Su

Demonstration of Vertical Tabs

We are excited to announce that the first preview of Vertical Document Tabs is available as part of Visual Studio version 16.4 Preview 2. Vertical tabs give you the option to better utilize horizontal screen space and at the same time gives more vertical space for your code. It lets you see more of your open document tabs and gives an intuitive and flexible way of ordering them.

Enabling Vertical Document Tabs

Vertical Tabs in Tools > Options

To try out vertical tabs, enable Vertical document tab layout feature by going to Tools > Options > Environment > Preview Features. Once the feature is enabled you will be able to see additional settings for vertical tabs under Tools > Options > Environment > Tabs and Windows and to easily change tab layouts between the three orientations (left, right, and top) with the document tab’s right-click context menu.

Two ways to change tab layout

What’s New in the Vertical Layout

While designing for the vertical layout, we took the opportunity to improve on today’s document management experience.

Easily Change Layouts

Easily switch your tabs to the left, to the right, and back to the top as needed with the right-click context menu.

Right-click context menu to change layout


Take control of how your tabs will be opened. In addition to the default alphabetical sort, we’ve added the ability to have your tabs open via most recently opened as well. While alphabetical sort has a fixed order, most recently opened will allow you to rearrange the order of your tabs after opening them.

Change tab sort order

Vertical and Horizontal Document Groups

Vertical and horizontal document groups are also easily manageable with just one vertical tab well.

Vertical document groups with vertical document tabs

What’s Next?

Vertical Tabs

This is the first peek at the work we are doing in bringing vertical tabs to Visual Studio. For next steps, we will be monitoring all the feedback to identify any key missing features or enhancements needed for the feature.

Document Management

The Vertical Document Tabs feature is just one step in a larger effort to improve the document management experience in Visual Studio. We will be looking at other features that will help boost productivity like grouping, adding more sort types, and improving today’s horizontal tab experience. For a full list of suggestions we are tracking, take a look at this Developer Community ticket.

Try it out and let us know how we did!

Answer our survey here or through the Give Feedback link listed under our feature in Tools > Options > Environment > Preview Features > Vertical Document tab layout to help improve the feature.