tablacus explorer is a file manager with a tabbed interface and a ton of add ons 768x432 - Tablacus Explorer is a file manager with a tabbed interface and a ton of add-ons
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Tablacus Explorer is a file manager with a tabbed interface and a ton of add-ons

We have reviewed many file managers here, the most recent one was an old-school looking one called FAR Manager. Let’s take a look at a different file manager: Tablacus Explorer.

Tablacus Explorer is a portable open source file manager for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft’s Windows operating system. You can run the program after you have downloaded it to the local system and extracted the archive it is supplied as.

At first glance it kind of looks like Windows Explorer but if you observe closely you will see a toolbar and a tab bar. You can use the toolbar to navigate through the folders, use the address bar or browse using mouse and keyboard.

Tablacus Explorer file manager - Tablacus Explorer is a file manager with a tabbed interface and a ton of add-ons

All the usual Explorer functions are available in the program, i.e. click to open a file or folder, drag and drop files & folders, copy/cut/paste, and so on.

So, what’s special about Tablacus?  See that + button next to the word “Desktop”? That’s the new tab button and you can use it to open a new tab to browse through your computer’s folders just like you browse the internet. You can also right-click on a folder to open a new tab. This tabbed interface is a nice approach and a welcome break from dual-pane file managers. Some users may prefer the dual-pane approach when it comes to managing files, others may prefer a tabbed interface instead and that is what this program delivers among other things.

Use the Tools menu to access the program’s options. There are dozens of settings to tinker with here.

Tip: run the original Windows file manager on modern versions of Windows.

Explorer Add-ons

This is Tablacus Explorer’s greatest strength. It has a ton of add-ons which can completely change the way you use the program.  The add-ons  may be divided into two categories:

  • To add extra options to Tablacus (for e.g. Mouse button and gestures, Drag and Drop, Folder settings, etc).
  • To add support for third-party applications that you can access from the interface. (for e.g. Everything Search Engine, TeraCopy, Total Commander, etc)

Tablacus ships with 17 add-ons by default but you can install more as there are plenty to choose from. You may want to install the add-on that’s called “Add-ons updater” to keep your extensions up to date (it’s not included in the default set of extensions).

Some add-ons require other add-ons to be installed, such as the “Recently closed tabs” which depends on the “Undo close tab” extension.

I recommend browsing the official Add-ons Wiki on the GitHub page as it is well organized and informative. You can install add-ons to customize the Tab options and interface or panes, improve search, different views, navigation, file operations, improve preview functionality, and more.

How to install add-ons in Tablacus Explorer

The easy way

  1. Click on Tablacus’ Options > Add-ons > Get Add-Ons.
  2. You can read the description for each add-on on this screen.
  3. Select the add-on you want to install.
  4. The program will enable the add-on, and refresh the interface automatically (when you close the options pane) to apply the changes.

Manual installation

  1. Download the add-on
  2. Extract the archive’s contents to the add-ons folder.
  3. Enable the add-on.

Note: Each add-on has to be placed in its own folder inside the add-ons folder and you may have to restart the program to get the add-on working. Don’t forget to enable the add-on, you can do that under Options > Add-ons.

Here’s a screenshot of Tablacus Explorer with my choice of add-ons (Grouped Tabs, Preview, Inner Search, Striped background, etc).

Tablacus Explorer is a file manager with a tabbed interface and a ton of add ons - Tablacus Explorer is a file manager with a tabbed interface and a ton of add-ons

Closing Words

Tablacus Explorer is an open source application, written in C++. It is a portable program and hence is light on resources. It works on Windows XP and above.

The program’s greatest strength is the add-on system as it provides numerous options to expand the application exactly how you want to.  Need to integrate Everything Search? There is an add-on for that. Want a Clipboard History? Another add-on. Integrate a Favorites system? Improve the look and feel of tabs? You guessed it, there are add-ons for that as well.

Now You: which File Manager do you use and why?

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