Skip to Main Content

Organizing Your Digital Media: Using Windows

How to organize and work with digital media files (images, videos, audios) on your Windows or Macintosh computer

Created by Health Science Librarians

Working with folders and files on Windows

Using Windows

Microsoft Windows Explorer (not to be confused with Internet Explorer) is the file navigation user interface for Windows. It is similar (though not identical) to the Macintosh Finder interface. This section covers Windows Explorer, including these topics:

About Windows Explorer

Explorer allows you to view and manage folders and files. It provides several viewing options.

List view displays a list of files and their properties. A toolbar appears at the top of the window.

Change the view of the list by clicking the file view icon at the top-right of the window (indicated below by a magenta ellipse), and a popup menu appears with View options. Icon views (thumbnails) are useful for image files. 


Adjust options for the overall window layout by clicking on Organize in the toolbar and choosing Layout. 



If the Menu bar isn't currently checked, choose Menu bar so that it will appear above the toolbar. 

File Properties

File Properties

Select a file and choose File > Properties to see more information about the file.  


You can view metadata by clicking on on the Details tab. You can rate a photo by assigning it one to five stars. 



To change the default program used to open a file, go to the General tab of the properties menu. Alternatively you can right-click the file, choose Open with, and Choose default program.



Click OK to close the Properties dialog box.

The Photo Viewer

Photo Viewer

If a file is a jpeg (.jpg) image file, you can preview it in the photo viewer by selecting it and clicking on Preview in the toolbar at the top of the window.



From the Photo Viewer, you can open the file by clicking on the Open menu item.


Windows Libraries and Searching

Windows Libraries and Searching


The left pane of the window provides access to locations on your computer or connected to it. The Libraries section allows you to quickly search a groups of similar items, such as documents, music, or pictures, that may be from multiple locations (libraries do not actually contain the files but point to them).


The Libraries section can be customized so that you associate any folders you wish to a particular libraray. You can also create libraries in addition to the default libraries. (For more information, see Working with Libraries on the Microsoft website.)

You can quickly search a folder or library by selecting it and then entering search terms in the search box in the upper-right corner of the Explorer window.  Search terms are highlighted in your search results as they appear.  You can also add search filters to modify your search.

For more information about libraries and searching (including a video demonstration), see the following page on the Microsoft website: