What a Drag, Man!

A Manilla Folder, containing some Files.

Drag-and-Drop explained

One tool we haven’t touched on yet in these articles is “Drag and Drop”. Or any of the uses of “dragging”. So, here we go:

“Dragging” is to place the mouse-pointer over something, hold down the button, and then move the pointer. Release the mouse button to “Drop”.

There are several uses for this, and we shall be looking at a few of the more common ones.

Moving Windows

You can move a window around the screen by dragging its Top Bar. To try this:

  • The "File Explorer" Icon
    The “File Explorer” Icon

    Open a File Explorer window.

  • Make sure it is “Restored”, rather than “Maximised” (Click the “Squares” button in the top right, until it does not fill the whole screen).
  • Now, place the mouse pointer somewhere near the top of the window, in the middle. You will want to be just a couple of millimetres from the top of the window.
  • Hold down the left mouse-button.
  • Keeping the mouse-button held down, move the mouse around the screen (Drag).
  • You should see the window Follow your mouse, as you Drag it around!
  • Let go of the Mouse Button (Drop). The window will now stay where you leave it!

Try dragging a window to the edge, or top of the screen! Notice how it does something slightly different? Dragging windows to the sides will resize them to exactly half of the screen, leaving room for another window in the other half. Dragging to the top will “Maximise” the window, filling the whole screen, just as if you had pressed the “Squares” button (top right).

Moving Files

While we have File Explorer open, lets see what we can do with Files.

Go into your Documents folder. Hopefully you have a file or two in here. Choose one to run this exercise with.

Hover the mouse pointer over the file. Hold down the left button, and then move the mouse. You should see the file, or a “Shadow” of it, follow your pointer.

For now, move back to where you began, and release the button (drop), while we look at what we can do with a Dragged file:

Drag and Drop
Drag and Drop
  • If you have a sub-folder in your Documents Folder, you can drag files into them by dragging them ‘over’ the sub-folder, and dropping them. This is useful for organising files. If you have several related files, you can create a New Folder, and drag all of the files into it.

You should see the “Tool Tip” appear, alerting you to what action will be taken when you Drop. Here, we see it will “Move to House Files” (the sub-folder).

  • You can also Drag onto the Navigation Pane. Maybe you saved a photo into Documents, but realise that you would like it in Pictures. Drag and Drop it there!
  • If you have more than one File Explorer window open, you can drag files from one window to another. This can either be done with “Restored” windows (partly filling the screen), or “Half-windows” (by dragging to the edge of the screen, as noted above).

Moving Icons

Desktop Icon
Icons, grouped as I like them

On the Desktop, you can Drag you Icons around, organising them in groups of similar Programs.

Opening With Paint
Opening With Paint

You can also drag a data-file (such as a photo, or text document) over the Icon for a program, and Drop it on that Icon, to open the file using that program. This can be useful if you have more than one program (e.g. I can edit photos using Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, or Paint).

So There We Have It

Several uses for Drag and Drop.

If you find Dragging difficult, you can practice by using the Microsoft Solitaire Collection to play some card games, as these require you to Drag cards around to play the games! You may think you are wasting time, but you are actually learning!

Now you can arrange your desktop, and organise you files!

Let me know what you find Drag and Drop useful for!

2 thoughts on “What a Drag, Man!”

  1. I didn’t know about Moving Windows, so thanks for that.
    I find Drag And Drop useful for putting sub-folders into main folders, both in Documents and in Pictures. For instance, I have a picture folder titled “Flowers, Cultivated”, which contains every one I have a picture of, in alphabetical order. And I have a document folder titled “Recipes”, which contains every recipe I have printed.
    I used to be nervous about Drag And Drop, not trusting the computer. I would always use Move To, which was very time-consuming.

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