Knowing how to select multiple files and/or folders at the same time is just one of those things that you’ll be glad you took the time to learn.
To select a single file or folder you’d simply left-click on it once. That’s pretty straightforward. Sometimes though, you’ll want to perform the same action on several files and/or folders at the same time.
Selecting multiple files/folders in Windows 10 isn’t difficult at all, it just takes a little practice. Let’s have a look.
4 ways to select multiple files in Windows 10.
There are many ways in which you could select more than one file or folder at the same time on a Windows 10 computer.
These are the 4 most commonly used methods. They’re easy to learn and use and will get most jobs done for you.
1. Click and Drag.
Click and drag, also known as drag-select, is probably the easiest method to get started with.
Move your pointer into an area of free space.
It will need to be as close to the first file that you want to select as you can get, but not touching any files or folders.
Hold down the left mouse button and move the pointer over the files that you want to select.
Each file That you drag the mouse pointer over will be included in the selection and will become highlighted.
Release the mouse button when you’re done.
Using click and drag is easy and quick, but it can take a little practice to get right. Especially when the files are packed together tightly.
The important thing to remember when using click and drag is that you need to have the pointer in a bit of free space to begin with.
If your pointer is touching a file or folder when you hold down the mouse button, Windows will assume that you’re trying to move that file/folder using drag and drop, rather than selecting multiple files.
2. CTRL + Click to select multiple files.
This is my favourite method of selecting multiple files and folders in Windows 10.
It’s precise, easy and very quick to do when you only want to select a few items.
Select your first item by left clicking on it once.
The usual highlight will appear around the file or folder.
Now that you’ve got that first selection made, you need to select the other items. It’s called “adding to the selection”. And you do that by holding down the CTRL (Control) key on your keyboard.
Whilst holding down the CTRL key, continue left clicking on all the files and/or folders that you want to “add to the selection”.
Note that you only left-click once on each item (file or folder).
As you click you’ll see the selection highlight appear around each file and or folder, showing that it’s been added to the selection.
Using CTRL + click is very precise. Only items that you actually click on will be selected.
Also, you don’t need the files and folders to be grouped in any way for this to work. You can jump around the screen.
You can even scroll up or down. The only proviso is that you need to hold down the CTRL key each time you click on an item.
Unlike the click and drag method, where you’re casting a net over the items, so you need them to be close together.
3. CTRL + A – Select All.
Of course, sometimes you’ll want to select all the files and folders that are in a particular folder.
To select everything inside a folder, hold down the CTRL key and then press the letter A on your keyboard.
Every file and folder will instantly become selected.
Now you could easily select all the items by using the click and drag, or CTRL + click methods. Both would work.
But CTRL + A works instantly. And it has the big advantage that it will select everything in the folder, even the files that aren’t actually on the screen.
4. Shift + Click.
The final method of selecting more than 1 file at a time in Windows 10 is the SHIFT and click method. You’d use Shift and click when you’ve got several files or folder in a continuous line.
Let me show you and you’ll see what I mean.
If you wanted to select a group of files and/or folders that are in a continuous line, you could click and drag over them.
Or you could use CTRL + click to select them individually.
Or better still, use SHIFT and click.
To use Shift and click, left-click once on the first file or folder that you want to select.
It becomes highlighted as usual.
Now hold down the SHIFT key on your keyboard and then left-click once on the last file or folder that you want to be selected.
Every file and folder between the first and last file/folder will be become selected.
The items don’t necessarily have to be on a straight line for this to work for you.
They simply need to be in an unbroken sequence from the first file to the last.
How to de-select a file in Windows.
There is just one last thing I want to share with you on the subject of selecting multiple files in Windows 10, and that is, how to deselect a file or folder.
When you’ve got multiple files/folders selected, you can de-select any number of them by holding down the CTRL (Control) Key and then left-clicking once on them.
When you use CTRL + click on a selected file or folder, then that file or folder will be deselected.
Selecting multiple files/folders – Summary.
Whether you want to delete, move, copy or whatever selecting multiple files and or folders just makes life that little bit easier.
- Click and Drag – casts a “net” over a group of items to select them
- CTRL + Click – to add items to the selection
- CTRL + A – to quickly select everything inside a folder
- Shift + A – to select items in a continuous line or group
- CTRL + Click – to de-select a previously selected item
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