Libraries make one of the most useful file organization features in Windows 10. Libraries are simply logical containers that store shortcuts to the original folders or files, which can be originally stored in the local disk or a network drive. They bring together related files or folders under a central view and within a single click in file explorer. The Windows system comes with at least four default libraries, mainly the Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos. However, you can add or remove locations from the default libraries as well as create custom libraries for your folders. This post guides you on how to use File Explorer library function in Windows.
Accessing Libraries in File Explorer
- To access the shortcuts in the library, open the file explorer by either:
- Clicking the file explorer icon in start menu
- Double click the file explorer shortcut on the desktop
- Press the “Win + E” shortcut keys on the keyboard.
- On the left pane of the window locate and double click the yellow “Libraries” icon.
- The libraries will display on the main explorer window. You can now double click each library to view the content.
- The library works the same as folders but they are not the actual folders. Each default library is linked to its specific user folder and optimized for a certain type of files.
1. Enable/ Disable Library Function in File Explorer
You can view the libraries on the left pane of the file explorer.
- If you cannot locate the library folder on the left pane, go to the “View” tab.
- Click the arrow under the “Navigation pane” to expand the menu and click the “Show libraries” option.
- The libraries will now appear in the left pane of the file explorer.
- To disable, repeat the same process and click “Show libraries” to remove the tick against it.
- You can also delete the libraries by right clicking the library and then select “Delete” from the context menu. You need to confirm the prompt to delete permanently.
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2. Add or Remove a Folder Location to a Library
You may want to include a certain folder location to a library to allow quick access to your files while working with your Windows 10 PC. The library will fetch files from folders that have been included.
- To include a folder location, right click the target library and click “Properties” at the bottom of the resulting menu.
- Below the “Library locations” section, click the “Add” button.
- Select the new folder from the pop-up window that appears and then click the “Include folder button.
- Now click “Apply” and “Ok” to save the changes. Files stored in the newly added location will be accessible from the library.
- An alternative method is to right click the actual folder, choose “Include in library” from the options and then select the target library.
The library function also allows you to remove a folder location that is linked to a library.
- To do so, open the library properties window and in the “Library location” section, click the location you want to remove.
- Click the “Remove” button under the section and then the “Apply” and “Ok” buttons.
- This will only remove the folder but your files will remain in the actual storage location.
- On the other hand, if you have accidentally removed a default library, you can restore it using the “Restore Defaults” in the properties settings.
3. How to Create a Custom Library in File Explorer?
Apart from the Windows default library, you can create your own library. A custom library may be necessary when you want to create a shortcut to a folder that contains a unique type of file when you don’t want to mix them in the ready-made options.
- The first option is to right-click the “Libraries” icon on the left pane of the explorer window.
- Expand the “New” submenu and select “Library”. Type the name of the new library and press enter on your keyboard.
- The second option is to open the libraries folder and click the home tab at the top of the window.
- Click the down facing arrow next to “New item” to expand the options. Choose “Library”, enter the name for the library and click on a blank space in the window.
- Once you have created a custom library, you can follow the steps in point 2 above to include a folder to the custom libraries.
4. Modify More Library Properties
You can further customize the library properties to enjoy a more personalized experience. Follow the following options to modify the properties settings for a specific library.
Optimize Library for a Specific File Type
Every library is optimized for a particular file type such as images, audio files or a document. This optimization affects the file arrangement options available in the library.
- Right-click the folder you want to optimize and click the option to open the “Properties”.
- Expand the “Optimize this option for” menu and select the file type from the displayed list.
- Save the change by clicking “Apply” and the “Ok”.
Set Default Save Location for Library
The default save location specifies the location where a file is stored when moved, saved or copied to the library.
- To set or change the save location, open the library properties page.
- Select the library location where you want to set as the default save location and click the “Set save location” button.
- Click “Apply”, “Ok”, and files moved to the library will be saved to the specified folder.
Change Library Icon
- To set or modify the library icon, click the “Change library icon” button.
- A new window will show up with a list of icons to choose from. Choose an icon that best represents the files on the library and click the “Ok” button.
- You may also uncheck the “Show in navigation pane” box to hide a library. To unhide, click the checkbox to enable the option.
The Windows 10 library function is a productivity tool that enables users to access related files from different storage locations or network from a central place. The libraries do not store the data but are just shortcuts that help you to gather data from linked folders. The above guide will show you how to use the library function in file explorer to organize your file for better productivity in Windows.