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Windows 8 : Navigating the Windows 8 Folder Windows (part 1) - Folder Navigation

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1/20/2015 3:45:11 AM

Let’s take a quick tour of the interface features you’ll find in Windows 8’s folder windows. Figure 1 shows a typical example of the species, the Documents library.

Image

Figure 1. The main interface elements in a Windows 8 folder window.

Folder Navigation

Windows 8 implements drives and folders as hierarchies that you navigate up, down, and even across. As you can see in Figure 1, the address bar doesn’t show any drive letters or backslashes. Instead, you get a hierarchical path to the current folder. The path in Figure 1 has three items, separated by right-pointing arrows:

Current folder icon—This icon represents the current folder. You’ll see a bit later that you can use this icon to navigate to your computer drives, your network, the Control Panel, your user folder, and more.

Libraries—This represents the second level of the sample hierarchy. In the example, this level represents all the libraries associated with the current user account. (A library is a virtual folder that displays the contents of one or more folders on your system.)


Tip

If you miss the old pathname way of looking at folders, you can still see drive letters and backslashes in Windows 8 by clicking an empty section of the Address bar. To return to the hierarchical path, press Esc.


Documents—This represents the third level of the sample hierarchy. In the example, this level represents all the folders and files that reside in the user’s Documents library.

This is a sensible and straightforward way to view the hierarchy, which is already a big improvement over earlier versions of Windows. However, the real value here lies in the navigation features of the Address bar, and you can get a hint of these features from the nickname that many people have applied to the Address bar: the breadcrumb bar.


Tip

To copy the full path name (drive, folders, and filename) of the selected file, select Home, Copy Path.


Breadcrumbing refers to a navigation feature that displays a list of the places a person has visited or the route a person has taken. The term comes from the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, who threw down bits of bread to help find their way out of the forest. This feature is common on websites where the content is organized as a hierarchy or as a sequence of pages.

Windows 8 implements breadcrumb navigation not only by using the address bar to show you the hierarchical path you’ve taken to get to the current folder, but also by adding interactivity to the breadcrumb path:

• You can navigate back to any part of the hierarchy by clicking the folder name in the address bar. For example, in the path shown in Figure 1, you could jump immediately to the top-level hierarchy by clicking Libraries in the path.

• You can navigate “sideways” to any part of any level by clicking the right-pointing arrow to the right of the level you want to work with. In Figure 2, for example, you see that clicking the arrow beside the current folder icon displays a list of the other navigable items, such as Computer, Network, and Control Panel. Clicking an item in this list opens that folder.

Image

Figure 2. Breadcrumb navigation: In the Address bar, click a folder’s arrow to see a list of the navigable items in that folder.

 
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