Customizing Windows Explorer

Perhaps one of the most overlooked features of Windows 7 (or any recent version) is the ability to customize the default view of Windows Explorer and how it displays files to make file organization easier. Let’s take a closer look.

For instance, new to Windows 7 is the ‘Content’ view which displays a vertical list of objects, and for each object it displays the object’s icon, name, last modified date, size (files only), and any metadata associated with the object, such as author names and tags; the album name, genre, and track length for music; and the dimensions and date taken (for photos). Note that the new Content view provides lots of information, but the object properties that you see aren’t customizable.

If you want more information within the Explorer window, then ‘Details’ view is what you want.

Did you know that:

  • you can change the order of the property columns by dragging the column headings to the left or right?
  • you can sort on a column by clicking the column heading?
  • you can adjust the width of a column by pointing the mouse at the right edge of the column’s heading (the pointer changes to a two-headed arrow) and dragging the pointer left or right?
  • you can adjust the width of a column so that it’s as wide as its widest data by double- clicking the right-edge of the column’s heading? To adjust all the columns so that they’re exactly as wide as their widest data, right-click any column header and then click Size All Columns to Fit.
  • you can add (or remove) the details shown by right-clicking any column header? See the image below (click to enlarge). Note the More… at the bottom of the right-click list. This will give you access to about 300 more details you can add to the Windows Explorer view. Of course, some choices will pertain to certain types of files only such as music files, digital images, etc.

Take a closer look at Windows Explorer and experiment with the different ‘looks’ you can get. It may make navigating your files easier and lead to a better desktop experience!