Did you know: You can FILTER by file type (and it is better than sorting)?

The Need

Let us say you have 250 files in a folder and you only want to see CSV files. Naturally, we will use SORT by type. But that will not help you. Because even after sorting, you still see all 250 files. The files will be arranged in alphabetical order. You still have to scroll to find the area where the desired files are.

The Solution

The solution is simpler than you think. You need to FILTER rather than sort the files. And the solution is right there in the Type header. Open that dropdown.


It is very smart. Windows goes through all the files in the current folder and builds a list of all file types. You can then select the one you want. Now it FILTERS only those files. So we see a subset of files – only those you need.


Simple and Effective. Of course this dropdown exists for size, date and all other columns. Try it out and see how smart and useful it is.



What did I learn today: Reorder taskbar icons as per work at hand

Read the previous article to understand how to Pin commonly used programs to taskbar. But recently, I went beyond this. I thought – the order in which these icons are pinned should also matter. You can easily drag them around to rearrange – that part is easy. But why would I want them in a particular order?

I solved that problem recently. I had to create the quiz for the Microsoft and Economic Times productivity competition. I had to create many quiz questions and associated images. During this process, I had a very repetitive activity to be done. I would create an image in Camtasia Editor, save it to file system (File Explorer), Save it to my blog (in IE), then preview it in another browser (chrome), add it to my database (Excel), find related article (IE) and then update it in Excel.

After doing this few times, I realized that the order of all the icons is not optimal. So I arranged them in the order I just described – as per my work flow.


And then it became extremely easy for me to do that repetitive work. Moreover, if I forgot exactly which step I was on, I just had to look at the currently active application – look at its icon and then the next icon was my next step – a visual progress indicator on task bar.

There is one more thing. If you want the first icon application press Windows 1, for second one Window 2 and so on.. at least till first 9 applications it is good. (Thanks Khushnood for the inputs). In the above screenshot, Windows 1 will START the first application (SnagIt). Windows 2 will NOT open another File Explorer instance – but it will show existing instances – if there was only one instance, it will open it. If there were multiple instances, it will show all of them just above the taskbar so that you can choose the one you need.

Try it out next time you are performing repetitive complex operations like the way I just described. Enjoy.

Put commonly used items on the taskbar

The technical term is called PIN. Right click on any application that is running and choose Pin to Task bar. Also notice that the commonly used files appear there. You can PIN commonly used files as well so that you can open them in just one click. Browsers, Office applications and all other applications you use commonly should be pinned to task bar.

SNAGHTMLb1122a7                  SNAGHTMLb168f05

What else can be pinned? Even common web pages can be pinned. Drag from the icon in the address bar and drop it on the task bar – as shown above.

Also notice the right click menus – apart from showing recent files, these have interesting options as well.

image    image

Are you applying updates to Windows and Office?

I have never talked about patching and updates on this blog before. But I though I must address this because it is a very important security lacuna which must be plugged.

Follow the instructions in this article to ensure your PC / Laptop is being updated with the latest security patches. In the context of security, you don’t trust anyone – including yourself! You have to assume that everything will go wrong and then protect against those risks proactively. No choice.

This article is written for non-technical users.
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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…

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