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No matter if you’ve just begun to use Windows 7 or you’ve used it for a while, you will no doubt have noticed the Libraries Function. The Library-function let you combine several folders into one. You can combine folders from different locations such as hard drives, shared network locations, HomeGroup etc. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how the use of libraries can prove to be a productive and useful tool in your daily work or play.

Let’s get started.

Windows 7 comes with 4 default libraries, giving you easy access to your Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos. The Library can be accessed in several ways. The easiest access is in the left pane of your Explorer window. By hovering your mouse over the word Libraries you will see a small expand/collapse arrow next to it. Clicking on the arrow will expand the contents of that Library in the Left pane. Clicking on the word: Libraries will open the contents in the right pane.

Make a custom Library

  1. To create your own custom Library, Right-Click on an empty area in the right pane and choose New Library. Name it whatever you like, and press ENTER.
  2. Now you need to connect folders to your new library. This is a very simple task all together. Find the folders you want to combine in Explorer. You can open local folders, shared network folders or even HomeGroup folders. Right-Click on the selected folder and choose Include in Library from the Context menu.
  3. Repeat this step until you have located all the folders you want in your library.

Now you can access all files in your library from one place. But as far as I’m concerned: If I cannot put this into use in my daily work – I have no use for it. So with that in mind, lets continue.

Default Save Location

I sell products for a living and at the end of each day I have to generate orders and reports. I create these reports in Excel and save them into PDF-documents. The reports are saved in one specific folder and it’s quite tiresome to tell Excel where to save the finished PDF-document each and every time. With a small tweak to my library I can tell Windows which folder I want to store my documents in.

  1. Right-Click on the library
  2. Choose Properties from the Context menu
  3. In the Properties window mark the correct folder and Click: Set Save Location
    (you may also Right-Click on the folder and choose: Set as Default Save Location)
  4. Click on Apply to save the changes.

The next time you save a document and choose your Library from the Save Dialogue, Windows will Collapse all folders in it except your Default Save Location folder. Click on the open folder and press SAVE.

Changing the display order

Libraries display your folders in the order they’re added. You can of course override this behavior:

  1. Right-Click on the library
  2. Choose Properties from the Context menu
  3. In the Library Locations list, Right-click a folder and choose Move up or Move Down
  4. Click Apply to save your settings

Easy Access

When you double-Click on a Library, Explorer will show you all the files and folder. This list can be daunting and ever so long. So how do you make it easy to use ? If you look closely you’ll see the name of each connected folder as a row heading. Double Clicking the folder headers will expand or collapse the folder view. You can also right-click on a heading and choose Expand all Groups or Collapse all Groups from the Context menu.

Sharing or collaborate using Libraries

The use of Libraries go further than your personal computer.  Every computer that connect to the same HomeGroup as you can share your Libraries. In stead of using several shared network resources or folders you can get away with sharing ONE.

  1. Right-Click on the library
  2. Choose Share With from the Context menu and choose one of the options being displayed.

You can set read and write permissions and you can even decide which specific persons who get access to your Library.

Backup Files and folders using Library

making backups or copies of your files has also gotten a lot easier when you use Libraries. It used to be a big pain in the B**t remembering which files were stored where, which files you really shouldn’t forget and so on. Well not so anymore:

  1. Right-Click on the library
  2. Choose Send To from the Context menu and choose your destination. If you want to Burn the content on a disk choose your CD/DVD drive and windows will guide you through the steps.

Removing folders from a Library

After reading all of this you’ll probably realize that removing folders from a Library is also a very easy task. At the very top of the Library Window you will find a link saying: Includes: 5 locations where ‘5’ is the number of connected folders.

Click on that link and you will see the Content Behavior window.

In this window you can add, remove and also set a folder as the default Save Location.
Click on the desired folder and choose your action. It is a simple as that.

I hope this quick tutorial have shown you what a great utility the Library can be – when used correctly. When you have got the hang of it I am sure you’ll ask yourself:  How ever did I manage without it ?

See This Article on how to customize you Libraries further,  By Stu



About Thomas

Computer geek from the age of 7, which amounts to 30 years of computer experience. From the early days (when every computer company had their own OS) of DOS, Windows 1.0 through Seven...

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