Easily Select Multiple Files in Windows 7 & 8

If you have been using Windows for a long time, you probably know how to select multiple files in Windows Explorer. But if you have been using Windows for a long time, you might not be aware of an easier method that has been added. I am not absolutely certain if the feature was added with Windows 7 or if it was available in Windows XP or Vista as well.

First I’ll review the older method, and then I’ll show you a new way to select multiple files in Windows Explorer. If the files you select appear consecutively in the list:

  1. Click the first file
  2. Hold down the shift key
  3. Click the last file in the list

Like this (click on the image to view a larger version in a new window):

Sm_Multi_Files_1

If the files aren’t listed together, you can hold down the Control key and then click on each of the files you want. You will end up with something like this (click on the image to view a larger version in a new window):

Sm_Multi_Files_2

Starting with Windows 7, there is an easier way to accomplish either of those tasks. Instead of having to use keyboard keys to modify the function of the mouse click, you can make a simple settings change. Here is what you have to do. First, in Windows 7:

  1. Open Windows Explorer (Windows Key + E is a great shortcut to that)
  2. Click Organize (this is a drop-down list on the left side of the window)
  3. A dialog box will open. Click the View tab
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the Advanced Settings list
  5. Make sure that “Use check boxes to select items” is checked
  6. Click OK

smWin7Checkbox

It’s even easier in Windows 8,:

  1. Open Windows Explorer (Windows Key + E still works!)
  2. Click the View tab of the ribbon
  3. Make sure that “Item check boxes” is checked

Here is what that looks like:

SmWin8Explorer

You will notice that in the example above, two files have been selected and have check marks in front of their names. Unless it is selected, the check box is only visible when you hover the mouse over the file’s name, by the way. Also notice that there is a check box by “Name” at the top of the list. Clicking this will select all files or (if they are already selected) deselect all files.

Oh, and one last thing… you need to click on the checkbox. If you simply click on the file’s name, you will select only that file, just like older versions of Windows.

I hope you find this useful! If you do, please leave a comment and let me know.

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