Sorting and filtering items in an Explorer window

When you select the Details option on the Change Your View pop-up button's slider in an Explorer window, Windows displays column headings such Name, Date Modified, Type, and Size buttons at the top of the display area.

You can use any of these buttons to sort or filter the current contents of any Explorer window. To sort the contents, simply click the button that you want to use in sorting: once to sort the list of folders and files in descending order (Z to A for text and most recent to least recent for dates) indicated by a triangle pointing downward in the middle above the name of the column, and a second time to return the files to their original ascending order (A to Z for text and least recent to most recent for dates) indicated by a triangle pointing upward.

To filter the contents of an Explorer window to just those types of folders and files you want to see, use any of the different buttons (Name through Size) to open the accompanying drop-down menu and then select the check boxes for all the types of folders and files you want displayed.

For example, Figure 2-10 shows you my Documents window after I filtered its contents by limiting the display to those files created between January 2006 and December 2007. I did the filtering by clicking the Select a Date or Date Range check box and then clicking the date in the title bar of the mini-calendar right underneath (to change from days in a month to months in a year) and, finally, dragging through these months in the mini-calendar. As soon as I did that, Windows 7 filtered out all folders and files except for those that I worked with sometime during the period of these two years.

Note that when filtering the contents of a window, you can select settings from more than one button's drop-down menu to refine the results. For example, if I want to see only the Excel workbook files I modified during this two-year period, I would select not only these dates on the Date Modified column's drop-down menu, but also the Microsoft Office Excel 97-2003 Worksheet check box on the Type column's drop-down menu.

To restore an Explorer window to its previous contents after filtering it, simply remove the check marks from all the check boxes on the different buttons' dropdown menus that you selected.

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