Get started with File Explorer
1 Reveal the Ribbon
You may not be able to see the Ribbon when you first open a File Explorer window. If that’s the case, either click on the down arrow on the right side of the window, or press [Ctrl] + [F1]. You should now see four tabs: File, Home, Share and View. Select View to reveal the different ways you can change how a File Explorer windows contents are displayed.
2 Change the view
Under View > Layout you’ll see a range of options, including Large Icons, Small Icons, etc. Mouse over each one to see how it changes the way contents are displayed. To make each change more permanent, click the option you want to use. Now if you close the window, then reopen it again, you will see the change you have made has stuck. You can change the view at any time.
3 Take a sneak peek
Head to View > Panes and click Preview Pane. You’ll now see a preview of the currently selected file or files (useful for pictures and video) without having to open it in a compatible application. You can resize the Preview Pane for a closer look by clicking and dragging the grey border to the left (the cursor will change to a double-arrow). Double-click to open the file in the relevant app.
4 See more details
If you want to know more about a file, go to View > Panes and select the Details Pane. This reveals further info, including EXIF data in any photos. As you mouse over some of the details you’ll see a grey outline appear around them. This means you can edit them. Double-click to change the current selection. You can add titles, tags, star ratings and other info right in File Explorer.
5 Sort your stuff
By default, File Explorer displays items in alphabetical order. To change this go to View > Current View and click Sort By to reveal a drop-down menu. You can view items by name, date, tags or any one of seven other options, as well as in ascending or descending order – handy if you’re trying to find the latest version or are trying to save space by weeding out the largest ones.
6 Form a group
You can sort also files and folders into groups. Again this is handy for identifying certain kinds of file, such as any images you have tagged. To do that, go to View > Current View > ‘Group by’ then choose from your options. You’ll see the window layout change to reflect your selection. If you select by File Type, for example, you’ll see files are listed under File Type headings.
7 Customise your columns
Another way to get at-a-glance info is to customise the columns File Explorer shows. In Layout > ‘Details and Current View’ > ‘Group views’ you’ll see default columns, but you can change these. Go to Current View > Add Columns and select Choose Columns. A ‘Choose Details’ window appears. You can now choose the columns you want to see. Click ‘OK’ once done.
8 Share files and folders
File Explorer makes sharing easy. Go to Ribbon > Share > Send > Share to upload files to apps and services such as Mail and Facebook. Select Send > Zip to compress them, or use the options in the next column to print, fax or burn them to disc. To share items on a local or public network, select Share With > ‘Specific people…’. Then choose your options from the window that opens.
9 Other File Explorer options
While you can select multiple files and folders by clicking and dragging or [Ctrl] + clicking, there is another option. Go to View > ‘Show/hide’ and select and check the ‘Item check boxes’ option. Every item will now have its own check box, making it easy to select them quickly. This section also lets you to show or hide file extensions and show or hide individual files and folders.
10 Customise Quick access
If you regularly access certain items, Quick access can help. It enables you to pin them to its menu, which sits in File Explorer’s sidebar. Select the ‘Quick access’ menu itself and you will see your favourites on top with recent files below. To add an item to ‘Quick access’, select it, then go to Home > ‘Pin to Quick access’. To remove it, right-click it and select ‘Unpin from Quick access’.