In our first Article, we learnt what Files and Folders are, and how to navigate File Explorer to see where they are being stored.
I am going to expand on the Navigation, to make sure we are confident in moving around the File System, before continuing on to explain about Moving files.
Open your File Explorer, buy clicking the yellow Folder icon at the bottom of the screen. This will open a Window, showing your Files and Folders. Go into your Documents Folder by double-clicking the Documents Icon (should be near the top somewhere)
We learnt the main sections (Ribbon, Location Bar, Navigation Pane, Files and Folders Section), and now I want to show you a couple of other useful bits.
At the left of the Location Bar, we have the “Back” and “Up” buttons.
“Up” will move you from the current folder you are looking at, and take you to it’s Parent Folder (the folder it is inside of). For example, if we go from Documents into the Addresses folder, we can then click “Up” to return to Documents.
“Back” works in a similar way, but takes you to the Folder you were previously in.
These may sound the same, but there is an important difference.
“Up” will always move you to the Parent Folder. “Back” will move you to the previous Folder. These will often be the same, but if yo have used the navigation Pane to move around, they may not be. Lets look at an example:
Back And Up
Go into your Documents folder, and then into one of the folders inside Documents.
Click “Back”, and you return to Documents. Go inside a folder again, click “Up”, and we are back at Documents!
BUT! If we go into a folder, and then, using the left-hand navigation Pane, click on Pictures, where will these buttons take us?
“Back” will take us to the Folder we were previously in (e.g. Documents > Addresses). But “Up” will take us to “This PC”, as that is the Parent Folder of “Pictures”.
Try this a few times. Become confident with navigating your way around.
To help explain how this Hierarchy of Folders works, I have prepared an Image (everyone likes pictures, don’t they?)
We see here the “nesting” of Folders. “2017” is inside “Tax Returns”, which is inside “Documents”. “Glam” is inside “Heavy Metal”. which is inside “Music”. We sometimes refer to “Inside” as “Under”, which is why we go “Up” to the Parent Folder. If we go “Up” from “Holiday 2015” we get to “Pictures”.
Using the Navigation Pane, we can jump directly from wherever we happen to be to another Location. e.g. we can be looking at our 2015 Tax Returns (Documents > Tax Returns > 2015), and decide we are bored, and want to reminisce about a walk in the Park we went on. In the navigation Pane, we click on Pictures, and then A Walk in the Park. We then realise that we really have to get our tax Returns done, and go “Back”. Previous to A Walk In The Park, we were in Pictures, so “Back” takes us there. Clicking “Back” again takes us to Tax Returns > 2015, and we can complete our work. (The computer has remembered the chain of where we were previously. You may have seen a similar behaviour when browsing the Internet, and gone “Back” to a page you were previously viewing)
The “View” Menu
And eventually we get to the “Ribbon”!
At the top of your File Explorer Window is a section called The Ribbon:
You can see that there are some “Menus” (File, Share, View) at the top. These change which part of the Ribbon we can see. Depending upon which Ribbon we are looking at, there will be different Tools available.
We will not be using the “Share” Ribbon today.
The File Ribbon contains lots of useful tools for moving, copying and deleting Files and Folders. We shall come to these later. The first part I would like to show you is the View Ribbon.
We have noticed, while moving around our Folders, that sometimes the Files and Folders will be displayed differently. This can be controlled from the View Ribbon.
The central Section of the Ribbon has a block with several “Layout” options (Note that each Block has its title underneath).
Hovering over each of these Layouts will Preview the display for that layout.
Clicking on a Layout will set the Folder to that Layout.
Have a go at changing the layout of a Folder. Don’t worry if you do not like the new Layout. You can always change it back!
First, change your View to “Large Icons”.
You will recall that we do this by clicking on the View Menu (Top Left) to see the View Ribbon, and then clicking on “Large Icons”.
The main section of the Window should now show your files and folders as large Icons, with previews of some of them (Which ones are previewed will depend on exactly how your computer is set up and what programs you have installed).
Now, click on the “Sort By” Icon, to the right of the icon-size area. Notice that this has a small down-pointing triangle by it.
The triangle indicated that the Icon has a sub-menu associated with it. When you click, a menu will appear next to your mouse pointer.
Have a look through the options. You may sort the files and folders by Date, or name, or type, or size … NOTE: This does NOT change the way the files and folders are stored. It only changes the way they are displayed on screen!
Usually the files and folders are arranged by Name, with all of the Folders displayed first, and then all of the Files.
Try arranging them by Type. (click “Sort By” and then click “Type”). You will see that all Files of the same Type (e.g. Photos, Letters, spreadsheets) are grouped together.
Talking of File Types, I would like to take a moment out to check your File Type Display Settings. This may sound a little daunting, but is actually very simple, and we will not dwell on it.
When you see your Files, do they have a three-letter Extension on the end of their name? (NOTE: Folders never have this. The computer knows they are Folders, and there are no “types” of Folders, so they do not need an “extension”).
If your file-names have Extensions (e.g. “letter.doc”, “P01284.jpg”, “ThankYouCard.pub”), then all is well. You could skip the rest of this section, but I would ask you to read it anyway.
If your file-names do not have Extensions, then I would like you to switch on Extension View. Simpy follow these instructions:
- Make sure you are on the View Ribbon.
- Click “Options” (far right of Ribbon). This will either open the Options Dialogue Window (if you clicked the higher part of the Icon), or produce a sub-menu, with only one item on it (if you clicked lower). If you get the sub-menu, click on it to open the Options Dialogue Window!
There should be three “tabs” at the top of this Window. General, View, and Search. Click View. (Notice that these “titles” look similar to the “tags” at the top of Index Cards. In computer terms, we call these titles “tabs”)
- You should now see a list of options, with tick-boxes. Look for the one called “Hide Extensions for known types”.
- Click the box at the left of this, to ensure that there is NO tick in it. This box should be UN-TICKED. EMPTY. Click it until it is EMPTY. NO TICK.
- Click OK, at the bottom of the Window.
You should now have all Files displaying their extensions, and can get back to our Tutorial.
Now that we can see the File Extensions, we can see more clearly how the Sort By Type displays files of the same Type (same extension) together!
For now, set the Sort By back to Name. All Files will be displayed in alphabetical order, regardless of type.
Now that you know how to do this, you may choose to display your files in which ever order you prefer. Remember, this does NOT affect how they are stored, just how they are displayed.
Remember that we are thinking of Files and Folders as pieces of paper inside Manilla Folders. There may be photos, receipts, letters, and business cards. by choosing to “Sort By Type”, you are saying “put all of the photos together, and all of the receipts together”. If you sort by Date, you are saying “Don’t worry what Type they are, put the newest on top”.
The computer neither knows nor cares what “order” they are in. It just knows that these papers are in that folder, and can display them to you in any order you choose!
The End … For Now …
Practice moving around your Folders, using the Navigation Pane (left hand side) and the main Section. Become familiar with the Back and Up buttons. Change the View of your folders, and Sort By different features.
If you need to, review this post, and have another read of Part One.
You should now have Folders that are easy for you to see, and find content within.
Next, I shall be looking at Organising your Files and Folders!