How to change the Explorer behavior when you type in an open window

When you type something in File Explorer, by default the item with a name that begins with the letter or number that you typed in the currently open folder or drive will be selected. For example, if you are exploring C:\, you can press Pro to jump directly to C:\Program Files. It is possible to customize this behavior in Windows 7 and Windows 8 so instead of the file getting selected, a search is performed. File Explorer offers two choices which can change the behavior of the Explorer window after your keyboard input. In this article, we will see how to access and change these options.


To change the default action when you start typing in an Explorer window, use the Folder Options applet in Control Panel.
Follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel
  2. Go to the following path:
    Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Folder Options
  3. The Folder Options window will open, switch there to the View tab.
  4. Scroll down the options list until you will find the item called When typing into list view.
    folder options
  5. If you set this option to "Select the Typed Item in the View", Explorer will jump to the item in the folder whose name you typed in the open window.
    For example, see the result when I type "pic" in the following screenshot:
    select item when typing
  6. If you set this option instead to "Automatically Type into the Search Box", Explorer will send your keyboard input to the Search box in the title bar and start searching for what you typed immediately.
    For example, this is the result when this option is enabled:
    search when typing

That's it. By default Explorer uses the option "Select the Typed Item in the View". You can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+E to move the focus into the search box.


1 thought on “How to change the Explorer behavior when you type in an open window

  1. MDJ

    Nice, I didn‘t know that you can type a phrase instead of a single letter.


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