After the disaster that Windows 8 was, Microsoft got a lot of things right with the launch of Windows 10. Both users and developers seem to be happy with the current iteration which keeps getting better and better with each new update. File Explorer also got a boost with some nifty shortcuts and options hidden in plain sight for users to explore. It is no longer boring and just a way to browse the files saved on your system.
In today’s guide, we will take a look at some cool File Explorer tips and tricks that will help you use it like a pro. A handful of shortcuts to get the job done. Ready? Let’s begin.
File Explorer Tips and Tricks
1. Handy File Explorer Keyboard Shortcuts
I use the keyboard shortcut, Windows+E all the time to opensFile Explorer window from anywhere. But it’s not the only shortcut I use. Here are some of the best File Explorer keyboard shortcuts that you need to remember or note somewhere.
- Shift+Del: Deletes the file completely bypassing the Recycle Bin
- Ctrl+N: Opens the same folder you are browsing in a new File Explorer window
- Ctrl+F: Moves the cursor to the search bar
- Alt+Up arrow key: This will move to the parent folder in File Explorer
- Alt+right/left arrow key: This will navigate the folders in the sidebar
- Ctrl+Shift+N: Creates a new folder
- Ctrl+W: Closes current File Explorer window
- Ctrl+Shift+Z: Un-delete last deletes file in the folder
- Ctrl+Shift+Y: Re-delete the files that were recently restored using the above shortcut
- Shift+right-click: Reveals hidden context menu options
2. Recent File History
Do you work with the same files again and again? Much like Mac’s Finder, File Explorer also comes with a nifty feature that will remember all the files that you have recently opened and worked with. While this can be a time saver, not everyone is comfortable using this feature. It can be worrisome if you are working on confidential documents and are worried someone might see or worse, access it.
To turn this feature on or off, open File Explorer, click on File and select change folder and search options.
Under the General tab, you can click on Clear to remove all recently opened files history. You can toggle the feature on or off next to the Privacy tab. This works for both files as well as folders.
3. Invert File Selection
Working with too many files? Here is a neat shortcut to invert selected files. Say, you have 100 files but want to delete just 90 of them. You will select the 10 you don’t want to delete and then press Invert Select option under Home. This will select the remaining 90 files that you originally wanted to delete.
Here is the keyboard shortcut to achieve the same effect: Alt+H+S+I.
4. Rotate Pics Left/Right
Smartphones have made it incredibly easy to click pictures on the go. Sometimes, these pics are not in the right angle. This can be true for images downloaded from the web too. I work with images all day long and have found this shortcut really handy. Select the image/s and under the Picture Tools, click on Rotate left or Rotate right option to turn the images.
Also works with images selected in bulk. Nifty, eh?
5. Recycle Bin Shortcut in File Explorer
I don’t like to have the Recycle Bin shortcut on my desktop. It’s ugly. In fact, I have very few folders and files on my desktop. If you are like me and don’t want to Recycle Bin on desktop but still need a handy way to access it, you can create a shortcut to the same right inside File Explorer.
Open-File Explorer, right-click on empty space to reveal a hidden menu and select Show all folders here. You can now access Recycle Bin right inside File Explorer.
6. Replace Quick Access with This PC
When you use the Windows+E shortcut to open File Explorer, by default, it always opens in Quick Access. While this is not a big deal as there are plenty of handy shortcuts in the sidebar to access folders, you may want to open File Explorer in This PC instead. Old school, huh. Me too!
Launch the File Explorer. Right-click to select Options and under the General tab, select This PC from the drop-down menu next to Open File Explorer to option.
7. Customize Quick Access Shortcuts
Quick Access is a new feature that made its way to File Explorer with the launch of Windows 10. A handy list of shortcuts to different folder locations. You can edit this list to add more folder shortcuts if you want. It supports a drag and drop interface which means you just have to select the folder and drag it to Quick Access to stick it there.
8. Edit Send-to Option
When you right-click on any file or folder, there is an option called Send to that you can use to do a couple of things like sending a file via Bluetooth, create a compressed zip folder and so on. Most options here are useless and other important shortcuts are simply missing.
Press the Windows+R keys on your keyboard to open the Run prompt and type the below command before hitting Enter.
This will open a new folder where you can delete useless shortcuts and create new ones using the Shortcut feature by right-clicking anywhere in the folder and selecting New.
You can create shortcuts to folders, files, and ever apps and software using the Shortcut feature in this particular folder. One example can be creating a shortcut to your favorite image editor. You can also rearrange the order of the shortcuts here to replicate it when the Send to menu is launched.
9. Quick Access Toolbar
The Quick Access Toolbar is hidden by default but you can make it visible easily. Just right-click on any item in the ribbon style menu and select Show Quick Access Toolbar option. Once you have it visible, you can go on to edit it by adding useful shortcuts from the ribbon-style menu to the toolbar following the same method.
Simply right-click on any option that you want to add and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar. Some handy shortcuts can be pane view, share options, or even picture tools like rotate left and right options.
Also Read: 10 Ways to Share Files between Two Computers
10. Advanced Search Operators
Some of you may be aware of advanced search syntax like boolean operators and parameters that you can use in search engines like Google. Did you know that you can also use similar search operators in File Explorer? Either click on the search field or use the keyboard shortcut I shared above (Ctrl+F).
In the above example, I searched for all documents containing the word CV in them. In this way, you can search for documents, music, video, and other file types and adding keywords before them. You can also search inside specific folders if you remember the folder name. Here is a list of all search operators that you can use in the File Explorer search. Play around a little to get the hang of it. It can save so much time.
11. Save Searches
I get it. some of you might find it difficult to remember these search queries and that’s OK. This is why Microsoft has another nifty feature. You can now save these searches so you can repeat the search commands with the click of a button.
Once you have found a search parameter that you are happy with and want to use again in the future, just click on the Save search option in the menu and give it a name. That’s it. You can now use that search parameter using the handy name you just gave it.
12. Group Files
When you create files and save them in a folder, there is no particular order to it. Mostly, they are saved by name but you can change that and more. There is an option called Group by using which, you can group files inside any folder by type, date, name, tags, dimension, and more.
Just click on the Group by option and choose how you want to organize the files inside that particular folder. You can have different settings for different folders too. In the above example, I have grouped them by type so images are under one heading and folders are under another. Neat, huh?
13. Open Websites
What? Yup. You can actually open any website or web page right from inside the File Explorer. All you have to do is type the address or URL of the website in the address bar and hit Enter, and the site will open in your default browser.
14. Access Network Files
You can also use the Windows File Explorer to push files from Computer to other devices on your network like Android TV or NAS.
For example, I often use it to push files to my Nvidea Shield TV from my PC. Here is a detailed guide on how to do so, but in general, you need to first enable ‘Storage Access’ on the Android TV first, next head over to your Windows PC on the same WiFi network and type ‘\\SHIELD’ in File Explorer. And you’ll be able to access your Android TV file manager from your PC.
15. Dark theme in File Explorer
If you haven’t already noticed from the screenshots above, yes, you can change the File Explorer theme to dark mode in Windows 10. All you have to do is go to Settings > Personalization > Colors, scroll to the bottom of the page and change the default app mode from Light to Dark.
P.S – For this to work, you should be running Windows 10 October 2018 Update, which you can check by going to Settings > System > About, where it should say Version 1809 or higher.
File Explorer Tips and Tricks
These were some of the best File Explorer tips and tricks that you can use on a daily basis to get more done within a short period of time. Some of these tricks can save a lot of time. For example, I love the keyboard shortcuts because using a keyboard is a lot faster than using a mouse when you know the correct shortcuts. I also like to use the search operators to find that one file I saved long ago in a sea of files in my Google Drive. I don’t use hard disk anymore.
So, do you have any File Explorer shortcuts of your own? Share them in the comments below.