Windows 11 could get a shiny new feature to share files and links with QR codes, because apparently copy and paste is so last year

Windows 11’s Share menu is getting a new feature – the ability to share links as QR codes that a smartphone or other suitable device can scan (you can check out our guides on how to scan QR codes with an iPhone or with an Android).

The Share menu isn’t the most widely used, especially outside of Microsoft’s own apps and services, but Microsoft looks like it’s hoping to boost its popularity by making the sharing of web pages more seamless, especially across different devices. 

This feature is part of a new preview version, Windows 11 build 26212, available to Windows Insiders through the Canary Channel. The build saw the introduction of a button that generates a QR code within the Share menu dialog box, which will apply to Microsoft Edge and other supported apps. People can generate QR codes for URL addresses and cloud files in the Windows 11 Share menu, which is opened in most apps by clicking the share button in the app’s toolbar.

Once you have the preview build installed and you follow the process to generate a QR code, you can then open the Camera app or dedicated QR scanner on your device, and hold it up to the screen. 

A man holding a smartphone and pointing his finger

(Image credit: Shutterstock/pongsuk sapukdee)

More about the new Share window

Writing in a blog post publicizing the development, Microsoft explains that the Share menu will not close if you accidentally (or deliberately) click outside of it. To close it, you’ll have to click the close button in the top right corner.

There’s also an added provision if you use your Gmail address for your Microsoft Account: you can send yourself an email from the share window and receive it in your Gmail inbox (instead of just Outlook/Hotmail accounts).

A similar process already exists in Windows 11 for people who have Phone Link set up on multiple devices. These users can send a link via the Share menu, but this development makes it even easier to share things across devices as you don’t have to log in or set up anything after installing the preview build. 

We’ll have to see if this makes the Share menu more popular with users, as most people are used to the clipboard functions in Windows for moving information from one place to another, or they just save the data to the device they’re currently using to retrieve when they need it.

This development isn’t a dramatically big change, which means it can be easy to adopt, but also easy to miss. It’s also still in the testing stage, so we’ll have to wait and see if and when Microsoft chooses to fully adopt it in a future Windows 11 update.


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