Windows ME: Toolbar tips

The Toolbars in Windows Explorer are aligned with shortcuts and functions to boost your productivity when managing or browsing your files. A standard window can have up to three toolbars on display: Standard Buttons, Address Bar and the Links toolbar. If you don't see any of them, you can activate them through the Toolbars options from the View menu.


When you first activate your toolbars, you may find that they are all over the place and possibly even overlap other toolbars. This is easily remedied by placing the mouse pointer on the name of the toolbar, clicking (the pointer should turn into a multi-headed arrow) and dragging the toolbar to another location. The vertical bar to the left of the toolbar's name can also be dragged to resize the toolbar, and double arrows are shown if the toolbar has more features than can be displayed on the screen. Simply click on the double arrows to view a drop menu of items.

If you find that you can't add - let alone resize or move - your toolbars, you may have the locking option enabled. To rectify this, right-click anywhere on any of your toolbars and make sure that there isn't a check mark next to the "Lock the Toolbars" entry. Conversely, if you have just spent time fixing and manipulating your toolbars to your liking, you can enable this option to keep your toolbars in their current positions.

From the View menu, you will find that your toolbars can be customised. Click this option if you want to add more functions or shortcuts. This is also the place to come if you want to change the look of the toolbar buttons: you can display smaller or larger icons as well as add or take away their text labels. You should use the latter once you have memorised the functions of each button, as this will save screen space.


Now that you have your toolbars in place it's time to start making them work for you. In particular, the Standard buttons toolbar contains navigational aids in the form of Back and Forward buttons that work in very much the same way your Web browser does, while the Up button can be used to jump up one level at a time in your folder hierarchy.

The next three buttons on your toolbar pertain to the portion of your window that displays your folders' tree structure and lets you navigate all the drives on your computer. It is called the Explorer bar and it isn't limited solely to displaying your folders. Click the Search button on your toolbar and the Explorer bar will quickly morph into the Windows Search utility, helping you search for files without even leaving your current window (see FIGURE 2). The Folders button next to it will take you back to your folder view once your search has completed, while the History button can be used to peruse previous days' Internet links as well as local files.

The next two buttons on the Standard toolbar are perhaps overlooked when it comes to copying and moving files, but they are extremely useful for getting files from one location to another without ever leaving your current window. Just select the files you wish to copy or move, then click the appropriate button from the toolbar. A dialogue box will pop up in which you can browse to the location where this file will be relocated or duplicated. You can use the tree structure to navigate and you can even create a new folder. Click OK when you're done. No dragging and dropping nor navigating through menu commands needed.

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Elias Plastiras
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