Exponential growth to file management productivity


Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard is faster than mouse, that's why xplorer² is keyboard happy. All menu commands have keyboard shortcuts, and those that don't can be assigned keys of your choice. This section lists some keyboard shortcuts that help navigating in large folders, and also for tabbing around xplorer² window panes.

The <ALT> key modifier is used a lot in any command that is meant for browsing. So whereas pressing <ENTER> on a selected subfolder name will browse into it, <ALT+ENTER> will browse the folder in the inactive pane — the active will stay put. <ALT> works the same way with mouse-initiated folder browsing, e.g. from the tree.

Most of these commands aren't on any menu bar; the command ID column can be used to find them in the Miscellaneous category of keyboard customization dialog. Some don't have xplorer² command numbers, meaning they are internal and cannot be changed

Table 10. Keyboard shortcuts for navigating contents
ArrowsMove selection to the nearest item in the direction of the arrow key
HomeMove to the first item in a folder
EndMove to the last item in a folder
Page UpMove up one page full of items
Page DownMove down one page full of items
Any letterJump to the first filename that starts with letter
Shift+letterJump to the first filename whose extension starts with letter
SpaceToggle the selection state of focused item
InsToggle the selection state of focused item and move down

Alt+UpMove to the previous selected item without harming the selection32839
Alt+DownMove to the next selected item without harming the selection32838
Ctrl+Alt+UpMove to the first item in the previous group33110
Ctrl+Alt+Down Move to the first item in the next group33109
Ctrl+Shift+LeftCollapse all groups33200
Ctrl+Shift+Down  Move active list item down (temporary)33103
Ctrl+Shift+UpMove active list item up (temporary)33104

Ctrl+EToggle between two equal and one large view pane33032
TabSwitch to inactive folder pane32857
Ctrl+TabSwitch to tree pane32858
Ctrl+Alt+TabSwitch to mini-scrap pane32861
Shift+TabSwitch to address bar32859
Switch to the filter box (addressbar)33250
Ctrl+Shift+TabSwitch to quick preview pane32860
Ctrl+Shift+F6activate next window pane33525
activate previous window pane33526
Ctrl+Alt+LeftSwitch to previous view tab33039
Ctrl+Alt+RightSwitch to next view tab33038

Ctrl+Alt+ZToggle quick filter or quick search mode33542
(customize)Toggle between the Draft and Native tabs of QuickViewer33050
Ctrl+YRepeat last menu command57640
Ctrl+Alt+F10Repeat the last shell context menu command (eg. TSVN submenu)33125
Ctrl+Shift+letterBrowse root drive letter (e.g. C:\)

These keyboard shortcuts are the default assignments, assuming you haven't changed them already!

When it comes to jumping into various panes, there are both direct jump commands e.g. <SHIFT+TAB> jumps to the addressbar, and cycling commands (33525 activate next pane) that jump to neighboring panes in a ring. If you cannot remember the exact TAB shortcut that takes you some place, use cycle a few times to get there!
Press <ESC> key from any peripheral pane to return back to active folder pane.

Stock properties

The modern windows file property system is rich and mature, but things weren't always this way. xplorer² stock properties provide a consistent set of basic and advanced properties, that work in both old and recent Windows OS versions. Moreover they work both in regular filesystem and special folders like compressed zipfolders. So whenever you can, use a stock property instead of the system equivalent, for a consistent browsing and searching experience.

Stock properties appear first in column selection dialog and are recognized by the [S] symbol after their name. The first few are duplicates of basic file properties like name, size and date, but you will find lots of interesting extended properties that are unique to xplorer² like digital signature information for executables.

If you need some other file property not covered by stock and windows columns, have a look at WDX plugins or legacy column handlers — all of which appear with [X] symbol in the column dialog. If you are a programmer it is relatively simple to create your own WDX plugin (much easier compared to a shell column handler) for that special file property you cannot find elsewhere!

Table 11. Stock file properties
NameDisplay name (may not include extension depending on your folder options)
Full nameActual file name
ExtensionFilename extension (without the dot)
8.3 NameDOS 8.3 short name, guaranteed without spaces
SizeFile size
Size on diskActual size occupied on disk (including compressed/sparse files and sector allocation)
TypeFile type, e.g "Text document"
AttributesFile Attributes
ModifiedDate last modified
CreatedCreation date
AccessedLast accessed date

PathFull path of container folder (not including the file name), useful for search results
MediumData medium information (hard disk label)
ContentsNumber of direct subitems in a folder, can be used to detect empty folders
CharactersCharacter length of full pathname, for tracking extra long names
InfotipExtended file type specific information (what you see in the popup tip but in a searchable column)
LinksNumber of hard links (=1 if there are no associated links)
Shortcut toPath to (real) target object associated with LNK shortcut or junction

ChecksumSimple checksum of contents (xplorer² own flavor)
MD5 hashMD5 digest for data integrity (slow, examines all the file up to a limit)
CommentExtra user information, can be used for all file types
KeywordsDocument related keywords
StreamsAlternate data streams (ADS) counter (=1 if just the contents stream exists)
Stream names  Named streams attached to file (ADS) if any
VersionExecutable program or DLL version
CompanyCompany owning the rights of binary code
DescriptionModule extended information
Signed byAuthenticode digital signature, for secure installers

WidthPicture width in pixels (EXIF) — applies to all image types
HeightPicture height (EXIF)
Picture dateDate picture was taken (EXIF) — only for JPG camera photos
BlurPhoto blur (bad quality probability if greater than 100)

Group IDLogical group identifier (for duplicates)
Color tagIndex in color tag array; numeric equivalent of color border (0=untagged, then 1,2,...)
ProgrammableCombination of file properties (ultimate only)

editor² HTML editing

The internal text viewer and editor is a lightweight notepad replacement, very capable for simple editing — the present xplorer² manual was composed in editor² ! It is a separate program distributed together with xplorer², and handles by default text and RTF documents with File > View menu command in xplorer².

internal viewer
Figure 58. editor² main window

It is a simple program with a menu, toolbar, statusbar and the main editing area. It is quick but surprisingly powerful. It understands all popular text encodings (plain, UTF8, unicode, custom codepages) and adjusts file load and saving accordingly. It is customizable, setting fonts, colors, tab sizes etc with View > Options menu. Here are some handy features for simple HTML and source code editing:

editor² is closely integrated with xplorer² text searches. Whatever you search in xplorer² is communicated to editor² (and vice versa), so if you recently searched for text in files then open one of the hits in editor² pressing <F3>, another <F3> (Search > Find next menu) will locate the keyword you searched in xplorer²!

Sample UI macros

Below you will find some sample macros you can play with. Try running them in debug mode (line by line) to see what they do with xplorer². Observe the inline # comments for extra explanations.

# select files modified before 2017
# ---------------------------------
COMMAND "matching a rule"
COMMAND "add new"
FINDWND property
SELECT modified
FINDCLASS SysDateTimePick32
SETTEXT 0 # clear date
FINDCLASS SysDateTimePick32 # next one
SETTEXT "1 jan 2017"

# copy selected files with filter
# -------------------------------
COMMAND "copy to"
FINDWND filter
FINDCLASS combobox
SELECT "only source" # saved filter
FINDCLASS combobox
SELECT default

# execute Diff command from TSVN context menu
# (operates on active view's selected item)
# -------------------------------------------
CMENU diff
SENDKEY down # select next item

# browse C:\ folder
# -----------------
FINDWND address
FINDCLASS combobox

# show paths for all items in left pane
# -------------------------------------
FINDWND "left pane"
STORE $1 # listview window
GETCOUNT $2 # total items, process in reverse
LABEL loop
POP $1 # restore window
COMMAND "copy names"
WAITIDLE # command finished?
INPUT 0 # import clipboard

# show the last column of the selected item
# -----------------------------------------
COMMAND "copy columns"
INPUT 0 # from clipboard -> $0
# first line is the header, skip it
CHOPSTR \n2 # \n is for newline
# columns separated by tabs

# search in selected folders
# --------------------------
STORE $1 # browser window
# create comma separated list of selected paths
# SENDKEY alt+ctrl+C # easy way; let's do it hard!
COMMAND "selected only" # hide unselected
POP $1 # restore window
GETCOUNT $2 # total items, process in reverse
LABEL loop
POP $1
COMMAND "copy names"
INPUT 0 # import clipboard
POP $3
COMMAND "find file"
WAIT 1000 # 1 sec, dialog appeared?
# now add search criteria

# remove duplicate tabs (same folders)
# ------------------------------------
STORE $1 # tab window
LABEL restart
GETCOUNT $2 # total tabs
DECR $2 # exclude close button
LABEL loop
POP $1 # tab window
STORE $3 # path to find
POP $1 
LABEL inner
POP $2
JUMPOK skip # skip current tab
POP $1
POP $1
COMMAND "close tab" # close duplicate
POP $1
GOTO restart # tabs changed
LABEL skip
JUMPOK inner

# property control (options) scripting
# ------------------------------------
COMMAND 32974 # Options
# select tree category
SELECT General
# select option and use SETTEXT to change
SELECT 1 # save settings
SETTEXT "windows registry"
SELECT "plain menus"

# flip Error beep option
# ----------------------
COMMAND 32974 # Options
store $1
select beep
getitemtext 0 # this is 0 or 1
equal 1
jumpok untick
pop $1
settext 1 # tick
label untick
pop $1
settext 0

All menu commands

Here you will find all main window menu commands with brief explanations of their use and cross linking with sections in the manual where they are explained in more detail.

Table 12. Main window menu commands
BrowseBrowse folder or launch item
Clone+browseBrowse the focused item in a new window
Enter archiveTry to browse archive item as folder (requires WCX plugin)
New tabBrowse the focused item in a new tab
Column modeBrowse folder trees using side by side (Miller) panels
Browse flatOpen a scrap container for selection (folder or cida) and add all contents recursively (<CTRL> to reuse an existing window)
Send to scrapPlace selection in the nearest scrap container window
ViewView file contents as text
EditEdit file contents as text
Shell editExecute the edit shell verb on the selection (type specific)
PropertiesDisplays the shell properties of the selected item(s)
RenameRename the selected item in place
Change typeRename an item including its DOS extension
Mass renameChange selected filenames in bulk using name templates
DeleteSend selected items to the recycle bin (<SHIFT> for permanent deletion)
CloseClose this window
ExitQuit the application (all open windows)
Go to
Up a levelBrowse one level up from the current folder
BackReturn to the folder browsed before
ForwardAdvance to the next folder in list
Find targetFind target item pointed to by this shortcut file (resolve link)
Select driveGoto a local disk
Recent folderSelect among folders recently browsed in this pane
Drop targetFolder where you last drag-dropped or pasted something (helps undo accidental drops)
Special folders ►
    My documentsContains personal files
    My picturesDigital photographs
    My musicAudio files (MP3 etc)
    DownloadsFiles recently downloaded
    Recent itemsDocuments and folders accessed (opened or saved) recently
    Recycle binDeleted documents
    DesktopNamespace root
    RootRoot drive of current folder, e.g. C:\
    My computerLocal and mapped drives (This PC)
    NetworkComputers near this
    Control panelComputer settings
    PrintersAvailable printers
    Start menuFolder representing the Start button
    StartupPrograms that start every time you logon
    CD burningFiles waiting to be written to CD (XP or later)
    Send toTargets appearing in the Send To shell context menu
    Compatibility filesRedirected folder for legacy applications (Vista or later)
Quick bookmarkGo to the folder bookmarked earlier
Set quick-markSet quick-bookmark on the current folder
Frequent ►
    (...)Browse this frequently used folder
Mirror browsingIf checked, the panes follow each other as you traverse the folder hierarchy
Mirror scrollingAutomatically scroll the inactive pane to reveal items matching the active focus
Same folderForce inactive pane to the same folder as the active one (<ALT> for the inverse)
Swap panesMutually exchange the contents of the two panes
Dual ►
    Add currentAdd left/right folders in the dual bookmark list
    OrganizeRename, delete or reorder dual bookmarks & assign shortcut keys
    (...)Restore these two folders
    MoreSelect folders from the complete dual bookmarks list
Add currentAdd current folder in the bookmark list
OrganizeRename, delete or reorder bookmarks & assign shortcut keys
(...)Go to this folder
MoreSelect a folder from the complete bookmarks list
Internet FavoritesGo to the folder holding internet explorer's favorites
Explorer FavoritesFavorites (links) folder as included in windows explorer
Select AllSelect all items
Unselect allUnselect all items
All foldersMark all items that are assumed folders
Sticky selectionToggle sticky item selection mode (like checkboxes, unaffected by clicks or keys)
Use checkboxesTick items to be processed instead of using selection status
Select groupSelect items that match a wildcard filter
Unselect groupUnselect items that match a filter
Invert selectionSelect unselected items and vice-versa
Select rangeSelect a number of items below the active one
Total sizeMark items whose combined size approximates a given total byte size
Synchronize panesSelect items that differ among the panes, using date information
Sync wizardSynchronize panes with tailor-made options
Check buildMark items according to file transformation rules (e.g. compilation)
Containing textSelect files that contain some specified text string
Matching a ruleSelect items whose properties match a complex rule
Quick searchSelect items with text in either filenames, columns or file content
    StoreRemember the selected items for later use
    SelectSelect all items stored earlier in the selection clipboard
    UnselectUnselect all items stored earlier in the selection clipboard
    CombineCombine the existing and saved selections in a boolean AND fashion
    ShowBring selected items into view
CutCut the selection and put it on the Clipboard
CopyCopy the selection and put it on the Clipboard
Copy toTransfer selection robustly to another folder (<ALT> for last target)
Move toMove selection to another folder (<ALT> for last target)
Queue statusExamine and organize the queued transfers
PasteInsert Clipboard contents
Paste LinkCreate shortcuts to the items held in the clipboard
Paste special
    Folder structurePaste all and only subfolders without any files they contain
    Structured scrap clipsPaste items (sourced from a scrap container) recreating the original subfolder structure
    Multi pasteInsert clipboard contents on all selected folders
    Hard linkCreate hard links for the items held in the clipboard (NTFS only)
    Folder junction ►
        PasteCreate a junction here pointing to the folder in clipboard
        DeleteRemove folder junction without harming the target folder
    Symbolic linkCreate symbolic links for the items held in the clipboard (Vista or later)
DuplicateCreate a copy of the selected item(s) in the same folder
Copy path namesCopy the full path names of the selected items to the clipboard (<SHIFT> for short 8.3 paths)
Copy filenamesCopy selected filenames, without the folder path
Copy previewCopy item's preview image as bitmap
Copy columnsCopy selected items' column text as it appears in the active pane (for printing etc), <ALT> for highlighted column only
Extract textExtract unformatted text from selected document to a new file
Export CSVExport view contents in CSV text format for Excel
Dual paneToggle single/dual folder pane mode
Tile horizontallyAlign dual panes left/right (untick to align up/down)
RibbonShow the ribbon UI or a traditional menu bar
Quick viewerShow or hide the quick previewer pane
Lock viewerIf checked the previewer will stop following the active item, freezing on the last item
Peek previewPopup preview of the focused item (click both mouse buttons)
Toolbars ►
    All toolbarsShow or hide the toolbars' container (rebar)
    Status BarShow or hide the status bar
    Info barsShow or hide detailed information bars for the active item (file)
    Lock dock sitesFix dock panes to prevent their rearrangement (toggle)
Details paneShow or hide the item details pane
Pane style
    Large iconsDisplays items using large icons
    Small iconsDisplays items using small icons
    ListDisplays items in a list
    DetailsDisplays detailed information for each item
    ThumbnailsDisplays preview icons for items
    Mini thumbsDisplays smaller previews for items
    Detailed thumbsDisplays item details and a thumbnail preview
Select columnsOrganize columns for detailed view mode
Arrange by
    NameSort alphabetically by name
    SizeSort by size, from smallest to largest
    DateSort by modification date, from most recent to oldest
    TypeSort by filename extension
    OtherSort by a non-standard column (through header row click)
    UnsortedDo not sort items; display them in the order read from disk
    AscendingToggles sorting from smaller to largest
    ManuallyArrange icons using the mouse (desktop-like)
    RandomlyItem positions picked at random
    Show in groupsGroup items in the window by the sorted property
    Custom groupsGroup items using a complex filter for each category
Autosize columnsAdjust column widths to fit all items (<SHIFT> to use headers)
RefreshRefresh pane contents (usually done automatically when changes are detected)
Hold autorefreshTemporarily suspend the active pane's autorefresh sensor, useful for slow or fast-changing folders
Raw contentsBrowse a virtual folder exactly as it is stored on disk (bypass explorer); try it on the system Fonts folder to see what it does.
Show TreeShow or hide the folder tree pane
Locate in treeLocate the browsed folder within the tree hierarchy
Mini scrapShow or hide the temporary item hold area (drop box)
Visual filter ►
    WildcardConstrain item visibility according to supplied wildcard
    Rule basedShow only those items whose properties match a complex rule
    Auto-filterShow only one file type from those present in this folder
    On/OffToggle the wildcard- or rule-based filter on/off
    Hide foldersHide all folders from the active pane (toggle)
    Selected onlyHide all items that aren't selected
    Same filterForce the same visual filter to the inactive panel
Show allCancel all visual filtering modes, showing all items
New fileCreate a new (empty) file
New FolderCreate a new folder
Set commentSet, edit or clear item's comment, if possible
    View streamsShow any alternate data streams contained in the selection
    Split streamsExtract secondary streams from the active item
    Bundle to goPack all (selected) file information for transport, including ADS comments etc
    Unpack bundleRestore file information from an existing bundle
Change attributesChange dates and DOS attributes of the selected items
Sync-TouchSynchronize modification dates of matching items (from active to inactive panel)
Change datesVarious operations on file dates (shift, touch etc)
File propertiesChange text file properties (Author etc) in bulk
Split fileSplit the selected file into smaller chunks
Merge filesCombine selected items into a single file (in the order shown in pane)
ShredTotal annihilation of the selected items
Save settings nowSave all current settings immediately
Export settingsExport program settings in a .REG file that can be reused in another PC
Import settingsRestart xplorer2 to import settings saved earlier
Folder settings
    SaveSave settings for this folder, including pane style, columns and sort order
    ClearClear all stored settings for this folder
    SuspendTemporarily ignore all custom folder settings for this view pane (toggle)
    DefaultShow all folders like this one; untick for variable folder view settings
Run commandStart any windows (GUI) program
DOS commandRun a command that requires the DOS interpreter (dir, ren, etc)
Run HistorySelect a command from the history list
Repeat commandQuick-repeat of the last command executed
Command scriptCreates a script (batch file), applying a command template on each selected item
Find filesLook for files and folders that match a filter
Fast searchQuick search using windows indexing server, under current folder
Check duplicatesExamine items under current folder for possible duplicates
Compare subfoldersCompare pane contents considering all subfolders
Map network driveAssign a drive letter to a network resource
Backup copyCopy newer and changed files only, to inactive pane (with subfolders)
Free spaceCheck the free space in the disk(s) being browsed; refresh views if necessary
Subfolder sizeCalculate total size occupied by folders and their subfolders
Folder statisticsDisplay statistics for this folder and its subfolders
OptionsConfigure options for the program & this window
Advanced optionsOpen an external program to tweak advanced program settings
Scrap containerOpen a scrap container for temporarily holding items from various folders
ListList all windows controlled by this application; optionally switch among them
AdministratorStart an elevated xplorer² window to bypass UAC (access permissions)
Close tabClose the active folder tab
Close all tabsClose all folder tabs except for the active one
Reopen tabReopen the most recently closed tab
Find tabSearch and locate a tab by its path
Activate tab ►
    (...)Switch to this tab
CloneOpen another explorer window like this one (runs in its own thread)
Save layoutStore the present window layout and history settings
(...)Browse the active item in a new window using this saved layout
OrganizeAssign shortcut keys for or delete window layouts
More layoutsClone a window from another saved layout (not showing in the above list)
Toolbars ►
    Add newAdd an extra toolbar
    OrganizeRename or delete extra toolbars
    (...)Add or remove buttons from this toolbar (right-click on it for text options)
Column sets ►
    Add currentAdd the current column set to the list
    OrganizeRename, delete or reorder column sets & assign shortcut keys
    (...)Restore this column set
    MorePick a column set from the complete list
User commands ►
    Add newAdd a command template to the user menu
    Add currentAdd the currently selected executable program as a user command
    OrganizeRename, delete or reorder user commands & assign shortcut keys
    (...)Execute this command
    MorePick a command from the complete list
Folder groups ►
    Add currentAdd the current folder group (tab set) to the list
    OrganizeRename, delete or reorder folder groups & assign shortcut keys
    (...)Restore this folder group
    MorePick a folder group from the complete list
    StartupRestore original folder tabs present at program startup, to recover previously unavailable network folders
Custom groups ►
    Add currentSave the current view categories in the list
    OrganizeRename, delete or reorder custom groups & assign shortcut keys
    (...)Restore this custom group
    MorePick a custom group from the complete list
Macros ►
    Record macroRecord new macro command (<CTRL> to repeat last macro)
    Edit macroStart the macro editor
    OrganizeRename, delete or reorder macros & assign shortcut keys
    (...)Run this macro
    MorePick a macro from the complete list
Programmable ►
    Add newAdd a new programmable column
    OrganizeRename, delete or edit programmable columns & assign shortcut keys
    (...)Show this programmable column
KeyboardChange keyboard shortcuts to menu commands
Keyboard useView assigned and available keyboard shortcuts
Color codingCustomize item appearence according to file type
Quick startIntroductory guide to xplorer² (shows this document)
Tip of the dayTips & tricks for maximizing your exploring experience!
How do I?Show or hide the on-board tutorial pane with demo videos (requires internet connection)
Command finderLocate a menu command by matching a keyword
Activate with keyUse the registration key you purchased to unlock the program
Register programUpgrade and/or obtain a license to use the pro version without restrictions
Upgrade to ultimatePower up your xplorer² experience getting the ultimate edition
DonateSupport the development of this program by making a voluntary donation (free lite version only)
Check for updatesGoto the website for the latest program build
Online supportGet connected to the online customer support centre
TranslationToggle english translation on/off (assuming you added a language during installation)
Last errorShow the last error message again
Crash informationLocate the crash minidump file; email as attachment to customer support
About xplorer²Display program information, version number and copyright
Licence agreementRead the terms & conditions associated with using the program
What's new?See a list of recent changes and added features
Tell a friendRecommend xplorer² to a friend — thanks for spreading the word!

Scrap container windows have almost the same menu commands, except for those special in the table below

Table 13. Scrap window special menu commands
BrowseLoad the selected items into a regular folder pane (open container)
RemoveRemove selected items from this pane (real files not affected)
ClearEmpty all pane contents
Sync-o-pasteEnforce deep synchronization results, copying selected items to their respective target folders
Arrange by ►
    PathSort by the parent folder's path
Load contentsOpen CIDA content file written earlier
Write contentsSave active pane's contents in a file for later retrieval
Recent File ►
    (...)Open this CIDA document
Import clipboardInsert items from clipboard names (one full path per line)
Search statusView a log of an ongoing or past find files command
Save searchSave last search parameters to a file, to repeat later
Recent search ►
    (...)Repeat this search
Reveal uniqueReveal items hidden as a result of a duplicates check (like View > Show all menu)
Find similar photosGroup JPG pictures according to their similarity
Fuzzy groupsGroup items according to a similar name, or other text attribute
Extract groupsCreate folders out of group or date information

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