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Viewing Contents

Changing How the Contents of a Window Are Displayed

You can view the contents of a window in a variety of ways. By default, Windows uses large icons to display the contents of a window. If you want to see more of a window's contents at one time, you can change the view to Small Icons. You can also display such details about an item as its type, its size, and the date it was last modified. Changing the way a window displays its contents can make it easier to find what you need.

The View command affects only the current window. Windows will retain this view in that particular window until you make a change.


  1. In the window you want to change, click the View menu and then select the view you want.
  2. The window displays the contents in that view (in this case, the Details view).

Sorting the Contents of a Window

You sort the contents of a window so that you can more easily find the files you want. Windows enables you to arrange the files in a folder by name, type, date, and size. Sorting the files is even easier if you choose to view them by the file details first. You can sort files viewed as large or small icons or as a list.

You can also sort by name in alphabetical order, by file type, or by date from oldest to most recent by choosing the appropriate command from the View, Arrange Icons submenu. You can also click the column header in Details view to sort by that column.

If you are working in the My Computer window, you have different options for arranging the icons. You can arrange by type, size, drive letter, or free space.


  1. Open the window you want to sort and change to the view you want. In this case, the window is displayed in Detail view so that you can see the results of sorting by different columns.
  2. Click View, select the Arrange Icons command, and choose the sort order you want (in this case, by Size).
  3. Windows sorts the files in the selected order. For instance, this view shows the files sorted by size from the smallest to largest.

Changing the View Style

You can choose to display the contents of a window as links, which makes working with that window similar to browsing the Internet or an intranet (an internal network set up like the Internet). With a single click, you can open files, folders, or drives.

To return to the Classic style, open the View menu and choose the Folder Options command. Choose Classic style and click the OK button.


  1. Click View, and then select the Folder Options command.
  2. Click the Web style radio button.
  3. Click the OK button.
  4. The contents of the window are displayed in Web style, so working with the window is similar to browsing a Web page. The folders and files are displayed as links.

Working in Web View

In Web view, you can single-click an item to activate it. You can also view more information about the window contents in two separate panes.

To go back to the Classic style, open the View menu and choose the Folder Options command. Choose Classic style and click the OK button.


The Web Page command under the View menu is turned on automatically.


You can customize the view to your own settings. Click the View menu, select the Folder Options command, and choose Custom. Click the Settings button, and then make your selections. After you're satisfied with the selections you've made, click the OK button.


  1. After you've selected Web view (see the preceding task), the contents of the window should look similar to a Web page. Click any of the folders once.
  2. The left pane displays information about the selected item. The right pane displays the contents of the selected folder.