3 things you can do with the Quick Access toolbar from File Explorer

If you use Windows 10 or Windows 8.1, then you are also using File Explorer more often than not. The built-in Windows file manager is easy to use and offers plenty of features and tools to work with. However, there is a big chance that you often use just a few tools, like creating new folders, renaming folders or undoing things. That is what the Quick Access toolbar from File Explorer is all about. If you want to know how to do things faster with File Explorer, read this article:

How to find the Quick Access toolbar in File Explorer

Before anything else, you must know where to find the Quick Access toolbar from File Explorer. Start the File Explorer - a fast way to do it is to click/tap on its taskbar icon, or simultaneously press the Windows logo + E keys on your keyboard.

The Quick Access toolbar is small and unassuming and will likely be overlooked by many users. That is a shame because it is a useful tool. Take a look in the top-left corner of the File Explorer window to see it in all of its minimalistic glory.

Now let's see what you can do with the Quick Access toolbar from File Explorer:

1. Customize the Quick Access toolbar and choose what actions you want it to display

Initially, the Quick Access toolbar will only have a few buttons to choose from. They are Properties, New Folder and Redo. If you click or tap on the down arrow next to these buttons, you see that there are a few additional options to select.

Click the space to the left of one of the following options to add it to the bar:

  • Undo - Rolls back the last change you made to the active window.
  • Redo - Redoes the previously undone action.
  • Delete - Sends the selected file or folder to the Recycle Bin.
  • Properties - Opens the selected file or folder's Properties dialog.
  • New Folder - Creates a new folder in the active window.
  • Rename - Highlights the name of the selected file or folder allowing you to type a new name.

The options you select are added to the Quick Access toolbar.

2. Change the position of the Quick Access toolbar

While the bar defaults to the extreme top-left corner of the File Explorer window, you can choose to move it below the ribbon, if you prefer. To do this, click the Down arrow to the right of the Quick Access toolbar and click or tap "Show below the ribbon."

The new position places it just under the ribbon on the left side of the window. There is not a tremendous amount of flexibility as to the position of this toolbar, but the two options make sense. You will find that the lower position is easier for mouse users who want to keep the bar close to the files to minimize the amount of mouse movement required between clicks.

Touchscreen users will likely opt for the higher location to keep it out of the way since their fingers can tap either location without any difference in time or effort.

3. Minimize the ribbon in File Explorer

While you are moving the Quick Access toolbar above and below the ribbon, you might find that you would rather hide the ribbon and keep the Quick Access toolbar in the open. This is easily accomplished by selecting "Minimize the ribbon" from the Quick Access toolbar's customization menu.

The ribbon will recede into itself freeing up screen space.

Do not worry about losing the ribbon completely though; you can still access it by pressing a tab. Click or tap a tab name to extend the ribbon and view its tools.

If you find you miss the ribbon interface staying open, you can maximize it again using the Quick Access toolbar's customization menu or by clicking or tapping the down arrow on the top-right corner of the File Explorer window.

That is it!


This Quick Access toolbar may not seem like a hugely important tool - indeed users with mastery over Windows' keyboard shortcuts will likely not find much use for it - but it does make things easier for everyone else. Mouse reliant users and touchscreen users alike will find that this saves time over right-clicking or long-pressing a file, waiting for the context menu to load then selecting an option. It may only be a second or two of time savings, but that adds up for a user who spends a lot of time in File Explorer.