Open files and folders with a single click
By default, you must double-click to open a document or a folder—not a huge deal, mind you, but potentially a pain if you’re sifting through files and folders all day.
Want to try opening folders with a single click rather than two? Here’s how:
- Open the Windows Start menu, click Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, then “Specify single- or double-click to open” under the Folder Options heading.
- You should now be looking at the Folder Options window; look for the “Click items as follows” section, click the “Single-click to open an item” option, and click the “Apply” button.
- Now, hover your mouse over any item, click once, and voilà! The document or folder should open instantly.
- Want to go back to double-clicking to open? Just retrace the steps above, then select “Double-click top open an item” rather than single-click.
Simplify your folder view
Windows 7 adds all kinds of bells and whistles—for better or worse—to the standard folder view.
To the left, you’ve got a “navigation pane” that shows you where a given folder sits in your system’s folder hierarchy; to the right, a preview pane with a thumbnail-sized view of a selected file or folder; below, a pane with details on a selected item; and at the top, a header with details on the folder you’re currently viewing.
All in all, very nice—or very cluttered, depending on your point of view.
Want to get back to the basics? Here’s how:
- Open a folder—any folder—and click the Organize menu item in the top-left corner, then move your mouse down to the Layout option.
- You’ll now see a new menu with five options: a Menu bar, the Details pane, the Preview pane, the Navigation pane, and the Library pane.
- If you want the most basic folder view possible, go ahead and uncheck each of the five items. Of course, you can also pick and choose any combination of layout options.
Make folders open into their own windows
Back in the day, opening a folder in a folder window spawned a new, second window—and if you opened another folder in the second window, you’d end up with a third window.
On a new Windows PC, however, opening a folder in a folder won’t make a new window spring open; instead, the contents of the new folder will stay in the same window, replacing the contents of the folder you were previously viewing.
That’s handy if you want to keep your desktop as clean as possible, but not so great if you’d rather keep an eye on all the folders you just opened.
Want to go back to the old way of opening folders—with each folder getting its own window? Here’s how:
- Go back to the Folder Options settings in the Control Panel (or just open any folder, click Organize, then select “Folder and search options.”
- Under the “Browse folders” option, select “Open each folder in its own window” rather than “Open each folder in the same folder.”
- Click the Apply button.
Now, trying opening a folder within an existing folder—and when you do, a new folder window will open, just like the good old days.
Looking for more Windows tips? Click here!