how to enable compact view windows 11 file explorer
how to enable compact view windows 11 file explorer

how to enable compact view windows 11 file explorer


Greetings, readers! Embark on a detailed journey to customize your Windows 11 File Explorer experience with the compact view feature. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of compact view, its benefits, and a step-by-step guide to enable it. Whether you’re a seasoned Windows user or a newcomer, this article will empower you to streamline your file exploration and maximize your productivity.

Benefits of Compact View

Compact view is a nifty feature in Windows 11 File Explorer that condenses the file display, providing a more efficient and space-saving browsing experience. It offers several advantages:

  1. Improved File Visibility: By reducing the space occupied by navigation panes and toolbars, compact view enhances file visibility, allowing you to view more files simultaneously.

  2. Efficient Space Utilization: If you frequently work with numerous files and folders, compact view optimizes screen real estate, providing ample space for previewing and organizing your files.

  3. Streamlined Workspace: Compact view declutters the File Explorer interface, eliminating unnecessary elements and distractions, fostering a more focused and productive work environment.

How to Enable Compact View

Enabling compact view in Windows 11 File Explorer is a simple and straightforward process:

Method 1: Toolbar Option

  1. Open File Explorer by pressing "Windows Key + E."

  2. Locate the "View" tab in the menu bar.

  3. Under the "Layout" section, uncheck the box labeled "Navigation pane."

  4. This action will condense the File Explorer window, enabling compact view.

Method 2: Ribbon Option

  1. Navigate to the "Ribbon" section in the File Explorer menu bar.

  2. Click on the "View" tab and select the "Compact View" option.

  3. The File Explorer window will adjust to the compact view layout.

Method 3: Keyboard Shortcut

  1. Open File Explorer and focus on the navigation pane.

  2. Press the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl + N."

  3. This shortcut will toggle between compact view and normal view.

Tips for Using Compact View

  1. Customize the Navigation Pane: Right-click on the navigation pane and select "Options" to customize which folders and libraries are displayed.

  2. Use Quick Access Toolbar: Access commonly used folders and drives quickly by adding them to the Quick Access toolbar located at the top of the File Explorer window.

  3. Utilize the Details Pane: Expand the details pane by clicking the "Details" button in the View tab to display additional file information, such as file size, modification date, and file type.

Compact View Settings Table

Setting Description
Navigation Pane Can be enabled or disabled to toggle compact view.
Column Width Adjustable to customize the width of file and folder columns.
Details Pane Can be expanded or collapsed to display additional file information.
Quick Access Toolbar Customizable with frequently used folders and drives.


By enabling compact view in Windows 11 File Explorer, you can enhance your file management experience, optimize screen real estate, and boost productivity. Whether you’re working with large files or simply want to streamline your workflow, this guide has equipped you with the knowledge and techniques to utilize compact view effectively.

To further explore the world of Windows 11, we invite you to check out our other articles on optimizing file management, customizing the taskbar, and unlocking hidden features. Stay tuned for more insightful guides and tips to enhance your Windows 11 experience and unlock its full potential.

FAQ about How to Enable Compact View in Windows 11 File Explorer

How do I enable compact view in Windows 11 File Explorer?

You can enable compact view by clicking the "View" tab in the File Explorer ribbon and then selecting "Compact View" from the "Layouts" drop-down menu.

How do I make the File Explorer window smaller using compact view?

Compact view minimizes the size of the File Explorer window by removing the ribbon and navigation pane, allowing more space for file viewing.

Can I customize the compact view layout?

Yes, you can customize the compact view layout by clicking the "View" tab and selecting "Customize Ribbon." From here, you can add or remove commands to the Quick Access Toolbar and change the layout of the ribbon tabs.

How do I change the size of the File Explorer window in compact view?

To change the size of the File Explorer window in compact view, hover your mouse over the edge of the window and drag it to the desired size.

Can I hide the compact view toolbar?

Yes, you can hide the compact view toolbar by clicking the "View" tab and unchecking the "Compact View Toolbar" checkbox.

How do I open multiple folders in compact view?

To open multiple folders in compact view, select the folders you want to open and then press the "Ctrl" key while clicking on one of the folders.

Can I use keyboard shortcuts to enable compact view?

Yes, you can use the "Ctrl" + "Shift" + "1" keyboard shortcut to enable compact view.

How do I disable compact view?

To disable compact view, simply click the "View" tab and select "Medium" or "Large" from the "Layouts" drop-down menu.

Where is the compact view option in Windows 11 File Explorer?

The compact view option is located in the "View" tab of the File Explorer ribbon, under the "Layouts" drop-down menu.

Is compact view available for all folders in Windows 11 File Explorer?

Compact view is available for all folders in Windows 11 File Explorer. However, some folders, such as the Control Panel, may not display properly in compact view.