Windows From the Keyboard Tips, File Explorer – Folder Options, March 4, 2020

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.


Windows File Explorer – Folder Options

The following are suggested settings for the folder options of your computer’s file system. I believe setting these folder options will make browsing files on your computer safer and easier especially if you do not use a mouse.

  • Begin by opening the Documents folder.
  • Press Control+Spacebar to ensure no files are selected in the Documents folder.
  • Press the Applications key which is beside the right control key on most keyboards. Shift+F10 can also be used if you don’t have an Applications key. Pressing Applications key will open a context menu for the folder.
  • The first item on the menu should be View submenu. Press Right Arrow to open the View submenu and arrow down to the Details item and press Enter if Details is not checked. The details view mode ensures your files are listed in a vertical list with details such as date modified and file size displayed beside each file. The icon view modes are more difficult to use because they are shown in a grid meaning you must arrow in all four directions to browse the files in a folder. For keyboard users, it’s easier to display the files in the vertical details list so you only need to browse in an up/down direction.
  • After you have pressed Enter to check the Details view mode you will be returned to your Documents folder. Press the Applications key to again open the folder context menu.
  • Press Enter to check the Name choice. This causes the files to be listed alphabetically by name.
  • Now press the Windows logo key to open the Windows Start Menu search box and type “folder options” without the quotes in the search box. “File Explorer Folder Options Control Panel” should appear in the search results. Press Enter to open it.
  • TAB through the general and View tabs setting the items of interest. In the General Tab be sure to choose “This PC” as the default place for File Explorer to open. Also, in the Advanced Settings tree view of the View tab be sure the item to “hide known file extensions” is off. You press spacebar to toggle the on/off status. This ensures filetypes such as txt, DOCX, MP3 etc. will appear in your list of files.


That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.