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Use Folder Checkboxes To Manage Files More Productively

This lesser-known feature in Windows 7 makes it easy to organize your workflow into folders & track them as you complete them

If you work with lots of large folders in Windows 7, here's a little trick that can help you manage them more easily. Buried in the Folder and search options menu of Windows 7's Explorer file browser, you'll find a checkbox labeled "Use check boxes to select items." Enable it, and you'll get a really useful tool for selecting multiple folders as you work.

To enable this feature, open Windows Explorer in Windows 7 by either clicking the icon in your Taskbar or hitting the Windows key and typing "windows explorer" into the search field and hitting enter (Windows Explorer should appear as a selected item long before you finish typing it). In Windows Explorer, click Organize and then Folder and search options.

In the Folder Options menu that appears, click the View tab and then scroll down in the Advanced settings menu until you see "Use check boxes to select items." Check that box and click Apply. Close the Folder Options window by clicking OK.

Once you close the Folder Options window, you should find that a little checkbox appears in the upper left corner of any file or folder icon that you hover your mouse over. Click a checkbox to select an object, then hover over and click the checkbox on another icon to add it to your selection. You can check as many boxes as you like within a folder to select multiple objects. Once you have a bunch of icons checked, you can perform an action on all of them at once, just as you could if you'd selected them all by holding the Ctrl key while clicking them.

In addition to adding some simplicity to dealing with multiple files or folders, you can also use this feature in an organization strategy. For instance, if you move all of the files you need to work with today into a single folder called Today's Files, you can check off the boxes for each file as you finish working with them. Then, when you're done with all of them, you can move them all to an archive folder or e-mail them all out at once. It's a handy timesaver that helps you track the files and folders you're working and avoid mistakenly moving the wrong documents around.

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