Displaying All the Files in a Folder using Explorer

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 17, 2018)

13

Occasionally, you may need to display all the files that a folder contains. One way to display all the files a folder contains is by using Windows Explorer (Windows 7) or File Explorer (Windows 8 and Windows 10). The easiest way to launch an Explorer window is to hold down the Windows key on the keyboard and press E. (The Windows key is on most keyboards these days; it has the Windows logo on it.) (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Windows Explorer.

The Explorer window is split into two vertical panes. The pane on the left contains a navigation tree—a series of folders and subfolders organized in a "tree" fashion for easy navigation. The pane on the right shows you the files and subfolders contained in whatever folder is selected in the navigation (left) pane.

You can navigate deeper into the tree (i.e., display subfolders) by double-clicking a folder in the navigation pane or by clicking the arrow just to the left of the folder's name. (The arrow appears when you hover your mouse pointer over a folder.) Regardless of how deep you go, by clicking the folder name in the navigation pane you can see the files contained within that folder by looking in the right pane.

A quick way to display all of the subfolders at once is by navigating to a folder (select that folder in the navigation pane) and then pressing the asterisk key on the numeric keypad. This expands the selected folder in the navigation tree to display all of its subfolders and their subfolders (and their subfolders, etc.) as deep as it goes. To quickly collapse a folder in the navigation tree, select the folder you want to collapse and then press the minus key on the numeric keypad.

 This tip (12025) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Listing All Styles in the Style Drop-Down List

Want to see all the built-in styles in the Style drop-down list? Here's the quick way to do it.

Discover More

Fixed-Width Settings when Converting Text to Columns

The Convert Text to Columns capabilities of Excel are very helpful when pulling apart information. When working with ...

Discover More

Specifying Print Quantity in a Cell

When you print a worksheet, you can specify in the Print dialog box how many copies you want printed. If you want the ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Displaying Details about an Audio File

Audio files have additional attributes that other files don't have. This tip describes how you can display these ...

Discover More

Using Robocopy to Copy Entire Directories

It's simple to use Robocopy to copy entire directories. Dealing with directories is what it does best! This tip shows you ...

Discover More

What are the Limits on File Names?

It's good to know what the limits are when naming files, although in most cases the limits are sufficiently high that ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 5 + 3?

2018-09-04 09:24:32

Allen

Alan,

That is what you should see--Windows Explorer. Double-click on one of the drives (drive C: or F:) and start exploring.

-Allen


2018-09-01 15:38:48

Allan poe

i am using W7. When I hold the Windows Key and press E I get My Computer. See attachment.
(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. 


2018-08-31 10:22:15

Davida F

Unfortunately, I am looking for how to view all files (as in the title) in a folder, not all subfolders, which is what I read in the article - unless I missed something. Can you provide guidance on how to accomplish that? Thank you.


2018-06-20 01:37:24

Erik Noguera

Using the numeric keypad doesn't work if you're on a laptop without a numeric keypad. Any suggestions for that situation?


2018-04-19 12:37:49

Vivian Weseloh

David, Thanks for explaining the Mozy green arrows. I use MS OneDrive Cloud, and their arrows are similar.


2018-04-19 10:37:56

Vivian

Okay, I will begin over and try to do this correctly. I should mention that I use the Classic Start button instead of the regular Win button. Maybe that makes a difference? When I press the Windows key with the E key, it comes up with My PC -- not Quick Access. Try as I might, I cannot get a screenshot saved of what shows up when I combine Win key with E key. So, do I need to begin with the Win 10 start button?

As I stated previously, I have Windows 10, and I also use One Drive. None of those cute little green arrows show up either in the navigation pane or the pane on the right. I would appreciate your advice. I did not do the fig option this time because I could not find the screenshot!


2018-04-18 12:54:41

Vivian

Okay, I will begin over and try to do this correctly. I should mention that I use the Classic Start button instead of the regular Win button. Maybe that makes a difference? When I press the Windows key with the E key, it comes up with My PC -- not Quick Access. Try as I might, I cannot get a screenshot saved of what shows up when I combine Win key with E key. So, do I need to begin with the Win 10 start button?

As I stated previously, I have Windows 10, and I also use One Drive. None of those cute little green arrows show up either in the navigation pane or the pane on the right. I would appreciate your advice. I did not do the fig option this time because I could not find the screenshot!


2018-04-18 12:49:58

David H.

Vivian,

I not certain, but I believe the green check marks in the screenshot above are a feature of the cloud backup service, Mozy. I use this service and my files also contain these green check marks which simply indicate that the files have been successfully backed up. Obviously, if you do not use Mozy you will not have these check marks. This image is taken from Mozy's Knowledge Base.
(see Figure 1 below)


Figure 1. From Mozy's Knowledge Base




2018-04-17 12:39:41

Eric

Suzanne,

Pressing the plus (+) or minus (-) key will open or close the folders one at a time. Pressing the asterisk key (*) opens the folder and all the sub-folders with in that folder.

–Eric


2018-04-17 12:29:38

Suzanne

"A quick way to display all of the subfolders at once is by navigating to a folder (select that folder in the navigation pane) and then pressing the asterisk key on the numeric keypad. "

Don't you mean the plus key? Plus to expand, minus to collapse. That is how it is working for me.

Good article.


2018-04-16 16:25:38

Allen

Vivian,

You are using a 2 left braces, followed by "fig", followed by a right brace, followed by a right bracket.

You should be using left bracket, left brace, "fig," right brace, right bracket -- as indicated in the info just below the comment entry box.

-Allen


2018-04-16 15:00:21

Vivian Weseloh

Allen,

{{fig}] This did not work, either, for me to submit a screenshot for you to view. Sorry. What am I doing wrong?


2018-04-16 14:57:53

Vivian Weseloh

Allen,
Following your instructions above, (Windows key + E) does not take me to Quick Access as your Figure 1 shows. I have Windows 10, and I also use OneDrive. None of those cute little green arrows show up either in the navigation pane or the pane on the right. I would appreciate your advice.

{{fig}]


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.