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Windows 11 File Explorer Tricks: 15 Essential Tips to Boost Your Workflow

These 15 transformative Windows 11 File Explorer tricks will skyrocket your productivity. Whether you’re navigating through files or managing projects, these tips will revolutionize your workflow. Let’s dive in!

1. Instant Access with Windows Key + E

Begin with the basics: quickly open File Explorer by pressing the Windows key + E. This shortcut is your gateway to efficiency, offering the fastest method to access your files.

Windows 11 File Explorer
File Explorer in Windows 11

2. Customize Your Folder Icons

Give your projects visual priority by customizing folder icons. Right-click a folder, select Properties > Customize, and then choose Change Icon to select a new image for your folder. This personal touch not only makes navigation intuitive but also adds a layer of organization to your workspace.

Customize Folder Icons
Changing Folder Icons in Windows 11

3. Change Explorer’s Default Open Location

Optimize your File Explorer’s default opening location to save time. Navigate to Folder Options (three dots menu > Options) and, under the General tab, select your preferred folder in the Open File Explorer to: dropdown. This adjustment ensures your most-used folders are just a click away.

Change Default Location of File Explorer
Changing the Default Location File Explorer Opens To

4. Expand Your Folder Hierarchy

Gain a comprehensive view of where you’re located in the file structure with a simple shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + E. This expands the folder tree in the navigation pane, providing a clear overview of where the current folder is located.

Folder Hierarchy in File Explorer
Expanding the Folder Hierarchy in File Explorer

5. Master Quick Access & Favorites

Streamline access to frequently used folders by pinning them to Quick Access or dragging them to Favorites. This trick keeps your go-to locations at the forefront, enhancing your productivity.

Quick Access Pinning
Pinning Folders to Quick Access in Windows 11

6. Integrate the Recycle Bin into File Explorer

Did you know you can drag and drop the Recycle Bin into Quick Access or Favorites? This integration facilitates easier file management and cleanup.

Recycle Bin in Quick Access
Adding the Recycle Bin to Quick Access Items

7. Efficiently Rename Files

Batch renaming becomes a breeze with the Tab key. Simply right-click a file, rename it, and then press Tab to move to the next file. This method is a game-changer for managing multiple files.

Bulk Renaming Files
Bulk Renaming Files in Windows 11

8. Rotate Multiple Images Quickly

Need to adjust the orientation of several images? Select them, right-click, and choose Rotate Right or Rotate Left. This trick saves you the hassle of using third-party software.

Bulk Rotate Images
Bulk Rotating Images in File Explorer

9. Discover More with View Show Options

Explore detailed file information by toggling the Details Pane or Preview Pane from the View menu. These options provide a richer understanding of your files at a glance.

Details Pane File Explorer
Viewing the Details Pane in File Explorer

10. Select Files with Ease

Forget about Ctrl-clicking to select multiple files. Enable Item Checkboxes under the View menu for a straightforward selection process, enhancing your file management efficiency.

Selecting Files with Checkboxes
Selecting Multiple Files Using Checkboxes

11. Use Multiple Tabs

Like in a web-browser, you can now have multiple tabs open at once in File Explorer simply by clicking on the + icon at the top. This allow for easy access to commonly used folders and file locations.

12. Display File Extensions

For better file identification, enable the display of file name extensions via the View dropdown. This setting is crucial when working across various file types, offering clarity at a moment’s notice.

13. Full Path Display

Navigate to Folder Options (three dots menu > Options > View tab) and activate Display Full Path in Title Bar. This visibility ensures you always know the exact location of your files.

Displaying Full Path of Files
Displaying the Full Path of Files in Window Title

14. Single Click to Open

Adopt a browser-like interaction with your files by enabling Single Click to Open under the General tab in Folder Options. This feature streamlines how you engage with File Explorer, saving valuable time.

Single Click to Open
Enabling Single-Click to Open in Windows 11

15. Enhance Privacy

Maintain your privacy by removing recent files from the Explorer home window. Visit the Privacy section in the General tab of Folder Options and deselect the option to show recently used files, ensuring a cleaner workspace.

Remove Recent Files from Quick Access
Removing Recent Files From Quick Access

There you have it—15 Windows 11 File Explorer tricks to take your productivity to new heights. Experiment with these tips to find what best suits your workflow, I’d love to read your favorite features of File Explorer in the comments section on YouTube! Happy organizing on Windows 11!

Anson Alexander

I am an author, digital educator and content marketer. I record, edit, and publish content for AnsonAlex.com, provide technical and business services to clients and am an avid self-learner. I have also authored several digital marketing and business courses for LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com).

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