A Detailed Guide in Using the Options Under File Explorer’s View Tab (Part 3)

Windows Explorer is one of the most unchanged tool that is built-in with all of the Windows operating system versions that have existed in the past. It is also considered as one of the most used tool in every Windows machine and without it, searching for files from the folders and libraries that are built-in or saved in your computer is virtually impossible.

In Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, this tool has been modified for the better and since these Windows operating system editions pioneered the combined Desktop and Mobile environments, the name of its built-in file management tool has been changed from Windows Explorer to the new File Explorer.

In our previous File Explorer tutorial series, we’ve discussed how the ribbon-based options that are found under the “Home”, and “Share” tabs are used and we’ve also touched about the options under the “View” tab in Part 1 and Part 2 but there are still 2 more groups of options that needs to be covered and that’s what we’re going to talk about in this third part of our File Explorer’s “View” tab tutorial series.


How to Use the Options Under the Current View Group

As we move on with the ribbon-based options under the “View” tab, we will start on the options next to the “Layout” group which is labeled as “Current view”. Now, from the name of the group alone, you should already have an idea on what it is all about but in order for all users to understand including those who are just starting to know Windows, here are the the options under the “Current view” group and their uses.

Sort by- The files and all the other stuff that are stored in your computer are arranged according to a certain sorting rule and if you want to customize this rule in order to find a specific file, folder or any other stuff that is stored in your computer then you can simply click on the “Sort by” option and you will be able to see a drop-down options box containing all the available sorting rule for the folder or library that is currently open in File Explorer.


From these sorting rules, all you need to do is click on the one that you want to apply to the items that are being displayed on File Explorer’s Contents pane and these items will automatically follow the sorting rule that you have selected.

Group by- Now, if you want to apply another layer of sorting rule which will now create groups according to the setting that you choose then you will simply need to click on the option that says “Group by”. After this option is clicked, you will again see a drop-down options box where you can choose from a set of grouping rules like “Name”, “Date”, “Type”, “Size”, “Tags” and others as you can see on the screenshot below.


While it is true that sorting the items that are stored in a folder or library according to the rules under the “Sort by” option is really helpful, grouping them further will make it a lot easier for you to search for files and finding them should take only a few seconds!

Add columns- Remember the “Details” layout option that we talked about in Part 2? You will need to apply it so that the “Add columns” option would be clickable. If you are on other layout options aside from “Details” then the “Add columns” option will be grayed-out as shown on the screenshot below.


Notice that the layout that is selected is “List” and as a result, the “Add columns” option is grayed-out as we have pointed out earlier but if the “Details” layout is selected, you will notice that the “Add columns” option will now become clickable as shown below.


Clicking on this “Add columns” option will then open a drop-down box which contains all the available columns which you can add to the ones that are already being displayed on the Contents pane of the File Explorer Window.


Size all columns to fit- Lastly on the “Current view” options group is another simply tweak that you can do when you are on the “Details” layout setting. This tweak is labeled as “Size all columns to fit” and when you click on it, you will see that the columns which are displayed on the Contents Pane of the File Explorer Window will automatically be adjusted so and become equal in size to give way to any additional columns that you might want to add. Again, this option is only available when you are on the “Details” layout the same as the “Add columns” option which we have talked about earlier.


How to Use the Options Under the Show/Hide Group

So we now come to the last option group that is found under the “View” tab which are labeled as “Show/Hide”. Again, the name of this options group alone should give you an idea of what it is all about and just so you’re well informed, here are some detailed descriptions of each one of them.

Item check boxes- By default, File Explorer just displays an icon for a file and as well as its file name. If you selected other layout options like “Details” or “Contents” then you will be able to view some other information about the files and folders that are stored in your computer and of course, selecting them is pretty simple especially if you’re trying to highlight some items that are arranged one above the other. However, if the files that you want to select are not arranged in sequence and they are far away from each other on the Contents Pane then you can simply activate the “Item check boxes” option by clicking on the check box that is located on its left.


Activating this option will make it a lot easier for you to select items that are spread away from each other on the contents pane since you will simply need to click on the check box of each item as shown on the screenshot below.


The check boxes only appear whenever you point the mouse on the item that you want to select and it also appears not just in the File Explorer Window but also in other locations such as the Desktop screen.

File name extensions- Now, if you are trying to find a specific file in an effort to delete a virus then activating the “File name extension” option would be a big help. Just click inside its check box and all of the files that are showing up in the Contents pane should display their file name extensions such as “.doc”, “.jpg”, “.png”, “.img” and many others!


Hidden items- Hidden items are mostly system files that ordinary users don’t really have something to do with. However, you might also need to view them especially when a certain kind of virus that hides files infects your computer and thankfully, you can just make them show up in an instant by enabling the “Hidden items” option.


Hide selected items- Lastly, if you’re trying to conceal certain files from other people who have access to your computer, you can easily do so by clicking on “Hide selected items” but of course, in order to make this option clickable, you will first need to select all the files that you want to hide.


Be More Productive with File Explorer’s Ribbon Based Options

As you have seen in this three part tutorial, the improved version of Windows Explorer which we now know as File Explorer has really been loaded with very useful tools and options that are all geared towards improving your productivity many times over. But that’s not the end of our tutorials that talk about these awesome tweaks yet. In our future tutorials, we will tackle more about some additional tabs that appear in special cases and even more towards Windows 10 especially now that it has already been released as a free upgrade for everyone!