Written by Barry Dysert (last updated February 20, 2017)
There are probably times when you want to perform an operation on a set of files all at once, for example, copying, moving, or deleting them. Creating a selection set is easy using Windows Explorer. The thing you have to remember is to use the Shift or the Ctrl key as you make your selection. The Shift key works to make a contiguous selection and the Ctrl key works to make a non-contiguous selection.
For example, say that you had a number of different files listed in a folder, named file1 through file6. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. A set of unselected files.
To select files 2 through 5 you would first click on file2, then hold down the Shift key as you click on file5. All the intervening files are automatically selected and you've created a selection set. (See Figure 2.)
Figure 2. Using Shift to select contiguous files.
On the other hand, if you wanted to select files 2, 4, and 6, you would first click on file2, then as you hold down the Ctrl key, click on file4 and file6. Each file you click as you hold down the Ctrl key adds that file to the selection set. (See Figure 3.)
Figure 3. Using Ctrl to select discontiguous files.
If you want to remove a file from your selection set (a file you previously added), just hold down the Ctrl key as you click on the file you want removed.
This tip (12876) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.
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