How To: Improve File Searching in Windows Explorer using Listary
Windows 7 is by far the most advanced version of the Microsoft operating system in both looks, usability and features - but, let's face it, searching for files hidden deeply on your hard drive using Windows Explorer is still a lengthy process that doesn't seem to have improved much in the decade or so since Windows XP was released. There is still a lot of fruitless clicking through the same folders each time you open a new Explorer window, and the search facility is still painfully slow.
Listary is a tool that significantly enhances the native Windows Explorer dialogs and offers a lightning fast, intelligent search facility. Using Listary, it is possible to get immediate access to specific files and folders, with the minimum of clicks. The application is lightweight and integrates into the Windows shell, so its functionality can be accessed at any time via hotkeys or the additional buttons and fields it adds to the Windows interface.
Access the related download link for this article and grab the installer file for Listary. Once this has finished downloading, locate the executable file in your downloads folder and run it to start the installation process. Follow the on-screen prompts throughout installation.
Once installed, Listary begins running automatically and integrates itself into Windows. This means it is always ready for you to use, with no need for you to launch it. The most obvious place to use Listary is when using the Open File dialog of Windows Explorer, which is activated whenever you click File and Open inside an application, such as Microsoft Word or Excel. By default, Windows always opens the My Documents folder when choose this option, which is often not ideal. With Listary installed, you can quickly access files anywhere on your hard drive in the Open File dialog, using the toolbar that it adds to this window.
Open any Windows application that you use regularly using the associated desktop shortcut or entry within the Windows Start Menu.
Click File and Open and the standard Open File dialog appears. Note the bolt-on Listary toolbar on the underside of the Open File dialog - this is just one way of accessing Listary's superior file-hunting functionality and it comes in particularly useful when searching for files to open within any application that utilises the standard Open File dialog.
In the Search field, type the name of the file you wish to open. Unlike with Windows Search, which mostly involves staring at a slow progress bar, matches are returned instantly and the results displayed in real time in the main panel. Click any file to open it in the application you are currently using.
Tips & Advice
- There are two hotkeys available in Listary whilst the Open File dialog is open that make locating recently viewed files and folders much easier than it is with the default Windows behaviour. If you have recently found a folder in Windows Explorer and you now want to open the same folder inside an application without trawling through the same path again, the Quick Switch option allows you to do this by pressing CTRL + G when viewing the Open File dialog. This will instantly open the last viewed folder location, with no further clicks necessary.
- Similarly, this feature can also be accessed via the Smart option on the Listary menu when viewing the Open File dialog.
- Quick Switch also works for files. When viewing the Open File dialog, press CTRL + O and the last highlighted file in Windows Explorer will be opened in the application you are currently using.