Changing the view in Windows Explorer in Windows 8

Changing the view in Windows Explorer (File Explorer) is a frequent task. Views are different arrangements of files like large icons, detail and so on.

The keyboard shortcuts used in Windows 7 do not work in Windows 8. Here is a good set of keyboard shortcuts you should know for Windows 8. There are 8 shortcuts.
Ctrl Shift 1 to 8. Let us explore this a little more…

Starting Windows Explorer

I hope you know that Windows key and E will open explorer.


Different Views available

Windows offers various views so that we can see the files in different ways.

change view in windows explorer - Dr. Nitin Paranjape

Changing views in Windows 7

Windows 7 have a View dropdown menu. The shortcuts were like Alt V D for Detail view and Alt V L for list view.

ALT V X = Extra large icons
ALT V R = Large icons
ALT V M = Medium icons
ALT V N = Small icons
ALT V L = List
ALT V D = Details
ALT V S = Tiles
ALT V T = Content

These shortcuts do not work in Windows 8 as the menus have been replaced with Ribbon.

New shortcuts in Windows 8

Open Windows Explorer in Windows 8, go to a folder containing lot of files and try these shortcuts. Shift Ctrl 1 to 8 and see how the views change.

SNAGHTML577b224 Extra Large Icons


This view is useful for images and videos. Use this for choosing the right image when multiple similar images with minor variations exist.

Other documents do not look good in this view. All you see is very big logos…



SNAGHTML57921e1 Large Icons


This shows more images in the available space and the detail is still visible.


SNAGHTML579a142    SNAGHTML57a2b71 Medium Icons


Still shows image thumbnails but no detail. Good for selecting images from a large collection. This view occupies less space per item so that you can see many more files in one view.


SNAGHTML579a142[4]    SNAGHTML57a5446 Small Icons


File names are shown in multiple columns. This view fits maximum number of files in available space. But it does not show any details about the file. The thumbnail is also not shown. It just shows the file icon. Good for quick search by name.

Often the files are on the modified date. That sorting is not useful here. In fact it is confusing. Sorting on filename is useful in this view.


SNAGHTML579a142[6]    SNAGHTML57a7694 List


This view is similar to the small icons view, the only difference is that only one column is shown. I rarely use this view.


SNAGHTML579a142[8]    SNAGHTML57a995e Details


For looking at and searching for files, this is a very nice view. This is one shortcut you should remember.  Shift Ctrl 6 = Detail view.

Add more columns

In detail view, you can add more useful columns by right clicking on the column header and choosing the additional columns(s) required.


Also notice the Size all Columns to Fit option. Very useful to auto-fit the width to avoid file names being cut off. I myself noticed this feature just now – while writing this blog Smile


SNAGHTML579a142[10]    SNAGHTML57abdbe Tiles


A more stylish view. Like the detail view – multicolumn – but shows thumbnails. Good for pictures – also shows some additional details.


SNAGHTML579a142[12]    SNAGHTML57adf6f Content

Shows one file per row. With additional Details.


Depending upon the type of file, the Content view shows additional details.
For example, here is the detail view for video files.


Maximize the explorer window

While looking for files, maximize the explorer window so that you can see maximum number of files and maximum level of detail.

Explore the Explorer

We use Windows Explorer every day. But have you explored it ?

Instead of me writing an article about every feature available there, why don’t you explore the explorer for few minutes – while this article is fresh in your mind?

I am sure you will find many useful things. Enjoy the journey   Princess   Hot smile  Light bulb

Comments? Suggestions? Wish list?