Lecture 4 Working with Files and Folders

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1 Lecture 4 Working with Files and Folders Creating and managing your documents will be much easier if you understand the importance of keeping your files and workspace organized. Files and Folders The basic storage unit for computer data is a file. Any item or application on your computer is a file. Files may include images, sounds, videos, and saved work from a software application (such as Word, Excel, and Access), etc. Files stored on the computer are organized into folders (much like in a filing cabinet). Therefore, folders are an organizational tool for storing and managing your files. A folder stored within another folder is called a subfolder. This arrangement creates a folder hierarchy. In order to access a file, you need to know its name and location, also known as its path. Ina path, file and folder names are separated by backward slashes (\). For example, the path c:\my folder\my file represents the file named my file stored in the folder my folder at the root of the c: drive. It is very important that we learn how to properly manage files and folders. By learning the general concept we can then apply it to other objects. For example, a file (icon, picture, shortcut, etc.) can be created, opened, deleted, copied, cut, and pasted/moved. A folder can also be manipulated in the same manner as a file. Creating a New Folder To create a folder, right-click on any space on your desktop not occupied by an icon. On the menu that pops up go to New > Folder. In Windows 7 and later versions, there is a New Folder button in the upper left side of the Libraries window: Page 1 of 10

2 No matter which option you use in creating a new folder, an icon will be placed on your window. You will see your cursor flashing in it. Simply type the name for your new folder and press Enter. Now, it will be a folder that you can use to store files. Naming Conventions: file and folder names can contain spaces and any characters except the following: \ / : *? < > Renaming a Folder To rename a folder right-click on the folder you want to rename, select Rename from the menu, and type in the new name of your folder. Page 2 of 10

3 Opening a Folder or File To open a folder, double-click on the folder you want to open. The folder will open and you will see its name in the path, as well as what it contains. If the folder is empty, your window will be blank. To open a file, double-click on the file you want to open, and it will open using the proper application. Moving Files using Drag and Drop Organizing files may require moving files from one folder to another. To do this you can rightclick on any file, select cut from the menu, move to the folder you want the file moved to, and right-click > Paste the file. Page 3 of 10

4 Another option is to Drag and Drop the file. To drag and drop a file click on the file you want to move with left mouse button and hold it down. While you have the file selected you can drag this around your Desktop or Window. When the file is where you want it, let go of the file (Drop) on the folder or in the location of your choice. This will move the file into that folder. You can also try dragging files out of a folder onto the Desktop or from one folder to another. Deleting a Folder or File To delete a folder or file you can either drag the folder or file you want to delete into the Recycle Bin, or right-click on the folder or file you want to delete and select Delete from the menu. You can delete files from your folder without opening the document. The files will be then be placed in the Recycle Bin (the computer s trash can) until you delete everything from the Recycle Bin. You can also restore deleted documents from the Recycle Bin in case you accidentally deleted a document. The Recycle Bin resides on your desktop. Page 4 of 10

5 To restore a document, select the document in the Recycle Bin and click Restore Document. Copying, Cutting, and Pasting a File or Folder These three functions are what you use to copy and move files and/or folders to different locations (for example, from the Documents folder to your Pictures folder). You can move one file and/or folder at a time or several files and/or folders at a time; we will learn how to select multiple files and/or folders later in the section. When a file or folder is cut or copied, it must then be pasted in the destination location. Even if you decide to not paste the file/folder at that time, that command is held in memory and you can paste at a later time or place (restarting the computer erases this process). Copying a File or Folder To copy a file or folder, either right-click the file or folder and select Copy, or single-click the file or folder, select the Edit Menu, and select Copy. Cutting a File or Folder To cut a file or folder, either right-click the file or folder and select Cut, or single-click the file or folder and select the Edit Menu and select Cut. Page 5 of 10

6 Pasting a File or Folder To paste a file or folder, either right-click on the desired location (must be a blank area of the window) and select Paste, or click the Edit Menu in your destination window and select Paste. Selecting Multiple Files and Folders There are several methods to select multiple files or folders: Option #1 Use this option for adjacent (next to each other) files: Highlight the icons by using the drag feature of your mouse. Page 6 of 10

7 Option #2 Use this option for non-adjacent files: Click the icon (so it is highlighted), hold down the CTRL key, and then select additional files in any random order. Option #3 Use this option for adjacent files: Select the first file you want by clicking the icon for that file once. Hold down the Shift key and select the last file you wan to include. This will automatically select all files and folders in between. (By using the Shift key the files cannot be selected randomly.) Option #4 Use this option to select all files in a folder: Select the Edit Menu from the active window and click Select All (keyboard shortcut Ctrl+A). Ways to Organize Files and Folders Organizing files into folders will require moving files from one folder to another. To do this you can right-click on any file, select Cut from the menu, move to the folder you want the file moved to and right-click > Paste the file. Another option is to Drag and Drop the file as we discussed earlier. By dragging a file or folder to another location on your computer it will be moved (not copied, unless the files are on a CD or DVD). When dragging a folder which has items inside of it, the contents of the folder will be copied as well. You can also drag a combination of files or folders into folders but obviously a folder or file cannot be dragged into a file. Browsing / Finding Your Files and Folders The main window used to browse (look for) and manage files or folders is My Computer (for older versions of Windows) or Libraries (for Windows 7 and later versions). Page 7 of 10

8 My Computer can be located under the Start Menu or on the desktop: The Libraries folder is located at the bottom left side of your taskbar: My Computer or Libraries is the central management tool for your computer. It displays files, folders, menus, preview panes, shortcuts, buttons, and many other helpful items. Most importantly, My Computer is where You will find you flash drive, floppy drive, CD-ROM drive, and other resources (such as cameras and network drives) in My Computer or Libraries > Computer (see image on p.10). Buttons in both, My Computer and Computer, are very similar: Moves back to the previous folder. Changes how the contents of the folder are displayed. Moves forward to the last subfolder. Moves back or up to the previous Search for files and folders on your computer or on the network Page 8 of 10

9 Searching for Your Files and Folders The Start Menu provides you with a simple way to search for any files and folders located in your computer. The best part about this search feature is that the built-in search function automatically indexes the location of all your files and folders. This means that search results are displayed instantly, within the Start Menu itself. Alternately you can click on the See More Results link to view the entire list of items matching your search terms. The simple two step guide below will show you how to use this simple yet powerful tool to quickly locate files and folders in your computer. 1. With the Start Menu open, type the search word (your query) into the search box. The Start Menu will switch to display results of your query (results will be grouped by type; Programs, Pictures, Files, etc.) 2. Click on the See more results link to view the results in a separate window which will enable sorting, saving of searches, etc. You could also search for files and folders using the search box in the Libraries window. Page 9 of 10

10 Using the Search Companion (in Windows XP and older) Search Companion is a convenient tool that enables you to search for files and folders, printers, people, and other computers on your network. The Search button is located on the Menu bar when you open any folder. Using the options available in the Search Companion pane, you can specify several search criteria. For example, you can search for: Files and folders by name, type or size. Files containing specific text A file based on when you last worked with it The search results display in the right pane. If you know part of the file name, you can use * for the part of the name that you don t know (the * is called a wildcard). Page 10 of 10

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