Tips: Organizing file Folders on your computer

When you save something, say a letter you have just written in a Windows application such as MS Word or MS Office, the file will automatically be sent to the “My Documents” folder on your computer Desktop (unless you tell it to go somewhere else). That is, when you click on Save or Save As, My Documents is the default folder used by the Windows operating system to store your documents.

This means that your My Documents folder can become a crowded mess. It’s a bit like keeping all your office files in one folder in one filing cabinet. Pretty soon it’s hard to find the specific information you want.

The simple solution is to turn My Documents into a personal filing system, with many folders to help sort your files

My Documents generally shows up as an icon on the Desktop screen of your computer. The icon looks like a file folder. If there are documents (files) inside this folder it will look as though it is partly open.

Double-click on the icon and the folder will open fully as a window, titled My Documents, and any files you have in there will show up as icons with the name of the file and, usually, a symbol which indicates what sort of file it is (.txt, .log, .doc, etc.).

At the top of the My Documents frame there is a menu bar with several options, including View. Click on View. This is where you can change how you see the contents of your folder by selecting Small Icon, Large Icon or Details. Experiment.

If you have a lot of documents, you can organize them by creating new folders. Move the mouse pointer over the My Documents window and click using your right mouse button. A short menu screen should appear.

Using the mouse pointer arrow and the left mouse button, select New. An extended menu screen will appear. Select Folder with the left mouse button. A new folder will be created in the My Documents window, usually called New Folder.

The name of this folder will be highlighted and you can now type in a new name for this folder. You might want folders called Personal Letters, Business Letters, Recipes, for example. Try Letters as a start.

Folders can be renamed at any time by highlighting the name area and typing the new name.

You can move folders by dragging them into other folders, onto the Desktop or another open window. In this way you can group your documents by type or project in a way that makes sense to you. For example, you could have a folder called Letters, with folders inside this folder called Personal and Business.

Your can move documents from My Documents or the Desktop by left clicking on the document icon, holding your finger down and dragging it to the place you want it. Drag it on top of the folder icon and release the mouse button. It will be placed in the folder.

To see it again, double click on (open) the folder. To get back to the original view and folder go to the top of the window menu bar and press Back or Up.

You can have more than one window open at a time to help you move and arrange your documents.

Open My Documents by double clicking on the Desktop icon. Double click on any folder you have in that window. Now size that window smaller by dragging on a corner of it. (Move the pointer arrow to the edge of the window until you see an arrow with two points. Left click and hold down the button. Drag the edge in the direction you want the window to move. Release the button.)

Move the pointer back to the Desktop and open My Documents again, and then open another folder. You now have views of two different folders, and you can drag and move documents and folders from one to the other.

You can repeat this process until every folder inside My Documents is open on your Desktop. These will be stacked on top of each other, and you can shuffle from one to the other by holding the Alt key down and pressing the Tab key (it could be labelled Tab or simply have two arrows on it, usually near the top left of your keyboard) until you get the window (folder) you are looking for.

You can now rearrange your files/documents by dragging them out of one folder and onto the Desktop, bringing the folder you want to the front by using Alt-Tab, and then dragging the file/document from the Desktop into that folder.

Now that you have a many-layered filing system you must take care when you do more work on existing files/documents and save new files. If you are not careful you can inadvertently create multiple versions of the same file in different folders, or save a new file in a location you had not intended.

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