List View

In windows that contain a lot of icons, list view is a powerful weapon in the battle against chaos. It shows you a tidy table of your files’ names, dates, sizes, and so on. Very faint alternating blue and white background stripes help you read across the columns.

You get to decide how wide your columns should be, which of them should appear, and in what order (except that Name is always the first column). Here’s how to master these columns.

Sorting the List

Most of the world’s list-view fans like their files listed alphabetically. It’s occasionally useful, however, to view the newest files first, largest first, or whatever.

When a desktop window displays its icons in a list view, a convenient new strip of column headings appears (Figure 2-9). These column headings aren’t just signposts; they’re buttons, too. Click Name for alphabetical order, Date Modified to view newest first, Size to view largest files at the top, and so on.

It’s especially important to note the tiny ▾ or ▴ that appears in the column you’ve most recently clicked. It shows you which way the list is being sorted. When it’s ▴, then the oldest files, smallest files, or files beginning with numbers (or the letter A) appear at the top of the list, depending on which sorting criterion you have selected.


It may help you to remember that when the smallest portion of the triangle is at the top (▴), the smallest files are listed first when viewed in size order.

To reverse the sorting order, click the column heading ...

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