Windows File Explorer has been a great tool, which allows navigating to different folders and files with an easy UI. Though the windows shows as File Explorer, many call it as Windows Explorer. File Explorer in Windows 10 is similar to Finder in macOS. Understanding the File Explorer helps Windows users to get the task done faster and save lots of time. You can also customize it and make it more personal while looking for your files. In this article, we have come up with many tips to customize Windows File Explorer. Try out these tips and improve your productivity!
10 Tips to Customize Windows 10 File Explorer
- Show or hide ribbon
- Toggle sidebar navigation pane
- Change layout
- View hidden files
- Hide files and folders
- File Explorer menus
- Connect to media and network server
- Customize Quick Access
- Changing Quick Access toolbar
- Customizing search box
1. Show or Hide Ribbon
Ribbon is a full length bar containing all menu icons and text below the top navigation menu. Most of the Microsoft applications like Office packages and File Explorer has ribbon. This occupies the top portion of your File Explorer and some people may feel this disturbing. You can right click on the ribbon and check ‘Minimize the Ribbon’ option. This will minimize the size of it. If you uncheck this option then it will maximize the ribbon.
You can also click on the small arrow button showing on top right corner just below the close (X) button to toggle the ribbon display.
Alternatively press ‘Control + F1’ shortcut keys to toggle ribbon in File Explorer.
2. Show or Hide Sidebar
Similar to ribbon, you can also easily show or hide the navigation sidebar in File Explorer. Go to the ‘View’ tab and click on ‘Navigation Pane’ option. Check or uncheck the ‘Navigation Pane’ option to show or hide it. When you wanted to view many folders on the File Explorer, hiding navigation pane will allow you to have more space.
3. Change Layout
Under the ‘View’ tab, you can also change the layout view of the icons shown in File Explorer. You can view the content as large/extra large/medium/small icons or view as list/titles/content/details view. Simply hover over the view and preview the look of the display before choosing the layout.
4. View Hidden Files
Under ‘View’ tab, check or uncheck the ‘Hidden items’ box to view or hide the hidden folders and files on your PC. You can also click on the ‘Options’, select ‘change folder and search options’ and choose ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives’ under ‘View’ tab.
5. Hide Files and Folders
Besides view or hide already hidden files, you can also hide normal folder and files. First, enable the ‘Item check boxes’ option under ‘View’ tab. Then select them folder and files you want hide and click on the ‘Hide selected items’.
6. Understanding File Explorer Menus
The beauty of File Explorer is that it has dynamic menu items vary based on the selected folder or file type.
|Tab||Menu||Appears When Selecting|
|Computer||This PC from navigation pane|
|Application Tools||Manage||Executable application files|
|Picture Tools||Manage||Image files|
|Video Tools||Play||Video files|
|Drive Tools||Manage||This PC or Drive partitions|
7. Connecting to Media and Network Server
Open ‘File Explorer’ and select ‘This PC’ from the navigation pane. Under the ‘Computer’ tab, you can access media by connecting to a media server. You can also map a network drive or connect to FTP server and add a network location.
8. Customizing Quick Access
Microsoft introduced Quick Access in Windows from the past few years. It shows the most recently visited folders/files and pinned folder. You can also easily customize the Quick Access option.
- To fast access the ‘Quick Access’ feature, you can always use the left-side ‘Navigation Pane’. Click on it and it will show you the recently accessed folders and files right there.
- To pin any folder into ‘Quick Access’, go to any folder, right-click on it and choose ‘Pin to Quick access’ option. To remove it from quick access, simply click on the ‘Pin’ icon again.
- From the left-side menu, right-click on the ‘Quick Access’ and choose ‘Options’.
- By clicking on the ‘Clear’ button, you can be able to clear the file history of the explorer.
9. Quick Access Toolbar
On the top left corner side of the Windows File Explorer, you will see a small Quick Access Toolbar. Many people never use this useful toolbar and you can actually customize that too. Click on the small downward arrow and it will show you many options there. You can add these options to the toolbar for the quick access. You can add a new folder, undo, redo, delete, properties, rename option to the top quick access toolbar.
For example, you can simply click on the ‘Undo’ icon to restore the deleted file in the same location. Also you can right click on the toolbar icons to remove them and set the position of this toolbar.
10. Customizing Searching
The most important thing in the Windows File Explorer is its powerful search box. This will let you search your files in the selected folder. Type any file name you are looking for in the search box and press enter. File Explorer will show an additional ‘Search Tools’ tab at the top with ‘Search’ menu.
- This tab will allow you to make your search more specific.
- You can save the current search for the future use also.
- If the file you are looking for appears in the search, then by right-clicking on it and select ‘Open file location’. It will open the location of the file for you from there.
- Go to the search tab, click on ‘Advanced option’ and choose ‘Zipped (Compressed) folders’. This will extend your search and find the files in zip folders also.
- If you are looking for the specific file (date wise), then click on the ‘Search’ tab, select ‘Date Modified’. Choose from the given option and it will show you results accordingly.
How do you change the default search. I want it to show in “Details” instead of “Content”.
Files in one of my folders suddenly switched from being listed in alphabetical order to a reverse alphabetical and numerical order. I want the original alphabetical order back but don’t know how to do it. Need instructions on how to get the a-z order back, not z-a. Help please. Thank you.