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Sort / Filter / Group Files and Folders in Windows 7

The Teacher

Today, we will learn about Files and Folders, Viewing options, that how you can easily organize and find your files, using these options.

First let’s talk about the “User Profile Folder”, which is available on your Desktop. You can access many of different types of files through this single folder. Like, Pictures, Videos, Music, and Downloads are all available as sub-folders of your profile folder. So, you don’t need to search or access them from different locations. Double-click on My Documents folder, to open it, and here you have all the documents, that we had saved in our previous exercises. Click the drop down arrow, beside the “Change Your View” button, to see which view type our folder currently have. The default and current view for documents folder is, “Details” view, with four columns heading, which are, Name of File or Folder, Date Modified, File Type, and Size. A small up arrow on the “Name” column heading is indicating that, the sorting method of this folder is, Name wise, and showing you the list in, Ascending order. This means, you are first seeing in all the sub-folders in alphabetically order from “A to Z”, and then you have all the documents, in same order.

By clicking on the same Column Heading, you can switch between the sorting methods, like either you want the list in Ascending, or Descending Order. You can also sort the list according to date, type or size, by clicking on the appropriate column headings.

Sorting helps you to find your files quickly in a folder, with a bunch of files. Like, I have “Other Documents” folder on my desktop, with a huge list of files. The view type of this folder is “Medium Icons”, and you don’t have any column headings on top. Here I am looking for a file name, “Help Care”. As I scroll through the list, you can notice that, the list is not in alphabetically order, and finding a document in this huge unsorted list, could be a tough task. I don’t want to change the current view, but want to have the list in alphabetically order.

To do this, right-click on an empty area, and move your Mouse Pointer over the “Sort By” option. The current sorting method is “Date modified” in “Descending” order. Here I click on “Name Wise”, and windows will then automatically select “Ascending” order, to display the list from “A to Z”. Now, I can quickly see through the list in alphabetically order, and can find my document easily.

After sorting the list, you can even have a different view style. Like, if you want to have more documents on your screen, then you can change the view style to, “Small Icons”. The “Large Icons” and “Extra Large Icons” options are useful, when you are viewing a folder with pictures. It does not make sense to have a larger icons view for documents, until you have accessibility problems. If you choose, “Small Icons”, or “List” style, then you will not notice any change in icon size. But there will be a change in list display style. In “Small Icons” you have to scroll the list in vertically, and if you choose “List”, then you need to scroll the list “Horizontally”.

If you choose “Tiles”, then the icon size will automatically changed to medium size, but now you also have the some extra information along with the file name, like, the File Type, and File Size.

In “Contents” view, you have a tabular style view of list, but you also have the “Date Modified”, and “Author” name along with File Size.

In my opinion, the best viewing option is “Detail”, when you are looking into a folder, with a bunch of files. The first reason behind this is that, you don’t need to right-click to “Sort” the list. You can easily sort the list by clicking on Column headings. For instance, if I need to sort the list by file size, then I can easily accomplish this by clicking on “Size” column heading. You can change the sorting to Ascending, or Descending order, by clicking the same heading button again. Suppose, I am looking for a file, which has been created in Microsoft Excel, but I don’t exactly remember the file name. Instead of looking into the entire list name, size, or date wise, I can sort the list, “Type” wise. This way, all the files will get separated according to their programs, and I don’t need to scroll through entire list. Now, I have a separated list of my excel sheets.

Every sorting method has its own advantage. For example, recently I had created a new document, but I forget, what file name I had given to my document. So, I can easily find that file by, sorting the list into “Date Modified”. Now, I have my most recent modified files, on the top of the list.

In Windows 7, you can also see the preview of your document, without actually opening it. To do this, click “Show the preview pane” button. Now, select a file from the list, and you have the preview of the file in right side pane. This feature is very helpful, when you don’t exactly know, which file to look into. So instead of opening and closing the documents, you have the preview as you scroll through the list.

To view your files more easily, you can also “Filter” the results. For instance, if I only want to have those files, whom name starts from letter “I”, to letter “P”, then I can accomplish this, by pressing the Drop Down arrow, alongside the heading, and then make a check mark on “I to P”. I can also assign more than one filters. Like, in this list from “I to P”, I further want to see only the “Microsoft Word Documents”. Then from the “Type” drop down menu, I can make a check mark on “Microsoft Office Word Documents”. I can also have more than one file type at once. You can also include “File Size”, and “Date Range” filters as well.

If you have “Pictures” inside your folder, then the best view is to see them in, “Medium”, “Large”, or “Extra Large Icons”.

Hold down the Control key from your keyboard, and scroll up or down from your mouse, to set the icon size accordingly.

If you right-click on an empty area of your folder, then you can also access all the commands from the context menu, like, different view, and sorting options. But here is one more option that you can configure through context menu is, Grouping. You can view your files in different groups. Like, you can view your list in “Name”, “Type” or “Date” grouping. You can also choose a different view, while viewing your files in Groups. To turn off “Item Grouping”, click on “None”.

If you are using “Detail” view, then you can also add some extra heading columns in the list. To do this, right-click on any heading, and make a check mark on appropriate column you want to have, or you can also click on “More” button, to see the entire list of available fields.

As you can see that there is no “Menu Bar” on the top side of the folder, where as in previous version of Windows, like in Windows XP, a permanent Menu Bar was always available, to consider more viewing options. In Windows 7, Menu Bar is hidden by default. You can also access the Menu Bar in Windows 7, by pressing the ALT key once from your keyboard. In View menu, you also have, all the same Viewing, Sorting, and Grouping options available.



The Teacher / Author & Editor

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