Thursday, March 8, 2012

Preview Your Many Files

Hi, Welcome back, thanks for your patience. I've been teaching a lot of new material and preparing four new 2 hour classes each week has taken a lot of my time. Not an excuse but an introduction to today's topic. 

I don't know if this information pertains to Mac computers at all so apologies there. On PC's, though, I've noticed that most students do not know how to preview their file contents without opening the files. We genealogists tend to accumulate lots of great information and we spend time filing it neatly in well-structured digital files. The problems arise when we are not quite certain what a file contains.

Opening each file becomes a tedious exercise. Using the search function won't help when the object of our search is a picture and we are looking for a specific one. The search function does not help, either, if the picture is embedded in a Word processing file. So - I want to share how to use Windows Explorer's file preview button.

Your PC's (Mac's, too) have a tool for managing your files and folders. On a Windows PC it's called "Windows Explorer." There are many ways to open this program. If you have Windows 7 there is an icon on the taskbar that looks like a manila file folder: that's it - just click on it to open Windows Explorer. Windows 7, Vista, and XP users can also RIGHT click on the "Start" button and click on "Open Windows Explorer."

You will then need to navigate to the folder with the files you want to preview. Depending on how you filed, these files will either be in the Documents or Pictures areas.
And then click the "show preview pane" button. Then, when you click on a file, you will see the contents of the file. This does not work for all files but it sure helps.

Happy Hunting!

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