Grouping and Stacking

Windows 7 not only comes with more powerful searching tools but more powerful organizational tools as well for sorting and filtering files.

In Details view in Computer or Windows Explorer, the top of the Content pane that displays files in your search results list includes column headings that double as filter controls, enabling you to filter the files in the Content pane. When you hover the mouse pointer over a column heading, a down-arrow button appears on the right. Just click the arrow button to display filter information in a small window underneath the button. Figure 5.33 shows an example.

Figure 5.33

The window for filtering files by a specific date.

Figure 5.33

The window for filtering files by a specific date.

The filter criteria are available when searching or when simply browsing libraries or folders, and they change depending on the location you're in. Some of the criteria you can sort by include

• Name, in three different categories (A-H, I-P, and Q-Z)

• Date modified, which lets you filter by a specific date you can select from a calendar, as shown in Figure 5.33

• Type, which may include the ability to filter by compressed folders, file folders, documents, images, registration entries, and so on

• Size, which lets you display objects by categories of size, such as Medium (100 KB-1 MB), Large (1-16 MB), Huge (16-128 MB), or Unspecified

Additional criteria may include folder path, contributing artists, album, title, tags, rating, and many more, all with subcriteria that let you focus on specific information you want to see. These filtering windows also let you use the options described in the "Customizing File and Folder Views" section earlier in this chapter for browsing your files and folders. For example, to view your files in a stacked arrangement, such as pictures taken in a certain month, right-click on a blank area of the Content pane, select Arrange By, and then select Month. Windows 7 takes all these pictures and combines them into stacks based on month, as shown in Figure 5.34.

Stacked files behave like folders, so you can open up the stacked file and see what's inside. So what's the big deal? Stacks are a quick way to collect content that meets your criteria and put them all in one place. And stacks have no physical location on your computer, so they don't take up space on your computer as a folder does—stacks are just another representation of your content based on your filter criteria.

Zipping and Packing Files

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