Make use of libraries

Make use of libraries

Struggling to keep tabs on where your documents, photos and other files are kept? Libraries help bring order to chaos – here’s how to use them.

It doesn’t matter how organised you try to be with your files, you can still waste precious time rooting around in various folders to find photos, music or documents. Libraries make the process a lot easier by giving you one place in which to gather items of a similar type without actually moving the files concerned. They're like an easy-to-use index and are a breeze to set up and customise for your individual needs in both Windows 7 and Windows 8. Why not become a natty librarian and never lose an important file again?

1. Create new library
From the desktop, click the folder icon on the taskbar and choose the Libraries link in the navigation pane of the folder window. In Windows 7, click New library in the toolbar at the top of the Windows Explorer window. In Windows 8, switch to the Home tab and then select New item > Library. Next, give your library a suitable name.

2. Set library type
Right-click your new library and choose Properties. This opens a new window that enables you to set up the library type. Use the dropdown list marked Optimise this library for... to select the kind of items that you want to place in this library.

3. Add new folders to the library
Click Add in Windows 8, or use the Include a folder… button in Windows 7 to browse for and select a folder to add to the library. Repeat for all the folders you wish to include in the library. You can also remove unwanted folders from here by selecting them and clicking Remove.


4. Add/remove from Navigation pane
By default, your library will be shown in the File Explorer’s Navigation pane, which appears to the left of the window. You can show or hide it from view in the Library Properties window – simply tick or untick the Show in Navigation pane box.

5. Customise your library
When saving to a library you can set the default folder within the library's collection that files will be saved to. Again, from the Library properties dialog, select the folder that you want to use at the default and click Set save location. You can also drag and drop folders to rearrange the order in which they appear in the library from here.

6. Change the library icon
In Windows 8 you can change the library’s icon to make it more visible. In the Library Properties window, click the Change library icon... button, which appears towards the bottom of the pane. Now browse through the available icons and select the one you want. Click OK followed by Apply to finish.