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Customize File Explorer look and feel in Windows 10

In this article we will show you how to customize File Explorer look and feel and use it in a most effective way. First we will start with Navigation Pane. Navigation pane is the left pane of File Explorer window. It is usually used to quickly navigate between folders, Quick Access items, Library or OneDrive. If you want more space in File Explorer window you can hide Navigation pane by selecting Navigation Pane in View tab and clicking on Navigation pane menu item there. To get Navigation Pane just follow these steps again.

If you want to see all folders within items in your navigation pane you need to select “Show all folders” menu item in a Navigation pane dropdown within View Tab.

Right pane in File Explorer is used to display files or folders inside an item which you selected in Navigation pane. You can easily customize how this pane looks by choosing Medium Icons/Small icons/List/Details/Tiles/Content in View tab.


There is also a third pane available in File Explorer which not many users are aware about. This is details pane. To open it click on Details pane in View tab. You should see Details pane as on the screenshot below. If you don’t see Details pane it is possible that size of your File Explorer window is too small to display it and you need to increase it.


Instead of Details pane you can also use preview pane which shows content of the file currently selected. It is very nice feature to have when you need to quickly find a photo or specific document in a large folder. What is great about Preview pane is that it will automatically open Microsoft Office documents without launching Microsoft Office. This is very handy when you need to scan through multiple complex documents. Loading them one by one in Microsoft Office could take considerable time but previewing in File Explorer will be much quicker. Also note that this feature works in your OneDrive folder so you can preview your OneDrive files too.

To sort or group by items in a folder you need to select Sort by icon in a View tab as displayed below.


When you’re in Details on Content modes of File Explorer you can also choose which columns you want to display by clicking on “Add columns” item in View tab and by choosing specific columns.

If you don’t like selecting items in File Explorer with mouse you can choose “Item check boxes” option in View tab. It will make checkboxes appear in front of every item of File Explorer right pane. You can use these checkboxes to select and then manipulate specific items without using mouse selection.