That is, the left-hand Menu, in File Explorer
If you remember our earlier Article, you will recall the sections of the File Explorer window. Here we will examine the left-hand menu, or “Navigation Pane”, to give it its proper title.
So, open your File Explorer, Maximise it (the “Squares” button at the top right) to fill the screen, and take a look at the Navigation Pane. If you do not have the left-hand menu, try clicking “Navigation Pane” on the View Ribbon, and ensuring the entry “Navigation Pane” is ticked!
Now, What you will see is a list of Folders and Locations. From this list, we can easily navigate to any area of our File Structure that we wish!
So, let’s have a look at what we have:
At the top will be “Quick Access”. This lists your Main Folders (Desktop, Documents, etc), plus your most recently accessed Folders. You can add or remove folders from this area, but for now, we can leave it as-is.
We then have One Drive, the Microsoft online Cloud Storage. This will be discussed elsewhere.
And then, “This PC”. Here, again, we have a list of the Main Folders, and then any Disk Drives attached to the computer. “C:” is your System Drive, and may be titled “OS” (for Operating System), or “Windows” (for that is the Operating System you are using), or some other label. You probably have a DVD Drive, which will be shown here (Mine is the H: Drive, and currently has “The Settlers IV” Game CD loaded). You may also have other drives, such as USB Flash Drives, or External Hard Drives.
Network and Homegroup are for if your PC is connected to other computers on your network.
So what can we do?
I’m glad you asked!
The main use is to navigate quickly from one location to another. Try clicking on “Pictures”. You should notice that the Main Window now displays your Pictures Folder, and the Navigation bar (above the Main Window) shows “This PC > Pictures”. Now Click on “Documents”. And “Pictures” again.
We can also explore sub-folders. Move your mouse over the “This PC” section, and you should see some “>” tags. These show you that the Folder has Folders inside (beneath) it. Clicking a tag will show you these subfolders!
My Music collection is not very extensive, but this shows the structure of my Collection. My Music includes some audio from the BBC (namely Dr Who episodes), some Heather Nova, and a whole bunch of sound effects!
The keen-eyed amongst you will have noticed that tags of folders that we can see inside (such as “Music”, and “bbc audio”, in this case) are pointing downwards, and also their contents is slightly indented.
That’s All Folks!
That is pretty much all there is to the Navigation Pane.
It is a useful tool for moving around your folders.
If you prefer to recover your screen real-estate, you can switch it off using the View Ribbon > Navigation Pane button!
Do you find it useful? Which folders do you use it to jump between? Let us know!