File Explorer's Overlooked Selection Tools

Written by Eric Wyatt (last updated August 31, 2020)

I deal with a lot of files; it is not unheard of having a folder with easily over several thousand items inside. At times I have to do things with these files, such as duplicating, moving, deleting, and so on. As I work with these files it's handy to have some shortcuts available to help me out. Fortunately, Windows 10 has some selection-related shortcuts available that I have found helpful. These selection shortcuts are often overlooked, but if you deal with folders with a lot of contents you should stop overlooking them and see if they can help you out, too.

Within the ribbon interface of a Windows 10 Explorer window, you will notice to the right of the ribbon a "Select" grouping. This grouping consists of three quick shortcuts: Select All, Select None, and Invert Selection. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Selection grouping of the Windows Explorer Window.

  • Select All – When you click, Windows selects all of the folder contents of the open folder within the open Explorer window.
  • Select None – When clicked, Windows unselects all of the items previously selected in the open Explorer window.
  • Select Inverse – When clicked, Windows deselects all of the currently selected items while simultaneously selecting all of the items that were not selected in the open Explorer window.

I specifically find the Select Inverse option helpful when working with large files such as with one folder that had over 5,000 items in the folder. It allowed me to quickly copy the folder contents into two separate folders. By first selecting the first half, copying it over, and then selecting the inverse to deselect the first selection and select the remaining items.

Make sure you remember these often-overlooked file Explorer shortcuts the next time you are working with the contents of folders with large amounts of sub-folder items.

 This tip (7780) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...


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