[xplorer˛] — Paste with bells and whistles
home » blog » 10 August 2008

Managing files with drag-drop is easy. The next most natural method to shift documents around your hard disk is select-copy-paste (or cut then paste). Such commands are available from xplorer˛ Edit menu like most windows programs. But there are some weird commands in that menu, especially under Paste special. What are these for?

Most of the time you move or copy folder hierarchies. You take a folder complete with all its subfolders and files at various levels and you reproduce them verbatim somewhere else on your storage media. Special paste commands allow you to play with this basic theme.

We'll use the simple folder hierarchy shown on the right for our tests, under c:\temp, which includes one file and two subfolders, each containing a further single file.
sample hierarchy

The first game is creating a clone of this folder hierarchy without the files. First copy the root c:\temp folder (select it and hit <Ctrl+C> key) then go to your target folder and execute the menu command Edit > Paste special > Folder structure. This will create empty folders reproducing exactly the original folder structure. When would you want to do this? I don't know, but I'll leave it to your imagination (:

Now select c:\temp and pick the command File > Browse flat. A scrap container will open containing just the three files (file1.txt and the rest). If we select these files, copy them and them paste them somewhere e.g. on D:\NewFolder we will end up with the original hierarchy destroyed, all files will be in a single folder.

Selections from scrap windows do not necessarily end up flat when pasted. Remove one file from the collection, e.g. hit <DEL> on summary.xls (this will not delete the file, only remove it from the scrap window). Select the remaining two files, hit <Ctrl+C> then go to the target folder D:\NewFolder and use Edit > Paste special > Structured scrap clips. See what happens? The relative folder structure is recreated, leaving the copied files in the same storage path relationship as before. Only folderA will be created in this case. It's like you hand pick parts of the hierarchy and copy only those.

Arguably you don't need such paste commands every day, but it's good to know they exist just in case! Remember how we used Multi paste command to duplicate folder settings? Imagination is a good thing.

ps. There's a slight chance that the world will end shortly or we'll all turn into cheese so it's a good opportunity to reflect and take stock of events that made an impact in the technology years.

Post a comment on this topic



What would you like to do next?

Reclaim control of your files!
  • browse
  • preview
  • manage
  • locate
  • organize
Download xplorer2 free trial
"This powerhouse file manager beats the pants off Microsoft's built-in utility..."

© 2002—2008 Nikos Bozinis, all rights reserved