Folder View: access your favorite folders from (literally) anywhere

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Folder View is a free utility that provides access to your favorite folders in multiple locations on your machine, including the toolbar of any open folder, the system tray, the windows open/save dialog, the left/side placesbar on the open save dialog and from a shortcut on your desktop.

It also installs two context menu entries that make it easy to move or copy files to your favorite folders or alternately to quickly add folders to your list of folder favorites.

I’ve come across many programs that provide shortcuts to favorite folders in various places; what sets Folder View apart is that is sets out to make your favorite folders available pretty much everywhere you can imagine.

Specifically, Folder View can be accessed from (1) Windows’ Folders Toolbar, (2) the normal open/save file dialog, (3) through an icon in the System tray, (5) the left hand placesbar on the open save dialog, and (5) from a shortcut on the desktop.

Another nice function is the easy copying or moving of files into your favorite directories from the context menu.

Note that you can (mostly) pick and choose where you want your favorites folders to be displayed. You can easily remove Folder View from the Windows folders toolbars, you can remove the shortcut from the desktop, and you can remove it from the open/save dialogs through the settings. However, it does not seem that you can remove it from the tray icon or remove the Folder View entries from the contextual menu. Here are more notes on this program:

  • Folder view context menu (add folder)How it works: the first thing you will do is point Folder View to your main folder that you work with and it will grab all subfolders as folders shortcuts. The best thing to do in my opinion is to point it to a blank folder somewhere (say on the root directory) then add shortcuts to your desired folders inside that folder. You can add any folder from within explorer by right clicking on it and using “Add to Folder View” in the context menu (see image to the right).
  • Browse recent folders: aside from your favorite folders, Folder view desktop shortcutFolder View will always provide an browsable entry for any recently accessed folders, which can come really handy. Note that you can disable this in the settings if you do not want it.
  • Access in folders’ toolbars: this is my favorite (see first screenshot above). Open any windows folder and your defined favorite folders will be embedded as buttons in the toolbar (you will have to enable this the first time you use it though either from the program options or by right clicking on a folder toolbar and checking “Folder View”). What is cool is that hovering over the folder buttons will make them open, cascading menu style, and allow you to navigate the directory structure. Note: although this is the case here it does not seem possible to do this cascading menu folder browsing in the other places Folder View installs itself.
  • Folder view open save dialog Access in open/save dialogs: another place where accessing your favorite folders can be really valuable. Works anywhere where the default Windows open/save dialog is used, which should be approx 75% of applications (not MS Office open/save dialogs, unfortunately). It can also add your favorites on the left hand placesbar column, but you will have to enable that in the settings; this will ensure that your favorite folders are uniformly added everywhere although for myself I prefer to customize the placesbar separately with an app such as Melloware Placesbar Editor.
  • Folder view in the system trayAccess in the system tray: a nice place to access favorite folders. Unfortunately it does not let you browse your folders cascading-menu style from there (although it seems like a very good place to have that ability).
  • Access from a desktop shortcut: self-explanatory, this one. This is pictured above in the “browse recent folders” bullet point.
  • Folder view context menu move/copyMoving/copying files to favorite folders: this can be done from the context menu using cascading menu-style folder browsing and is very cool. I always used Send to Toys to do this personally but will consider switching to this for the sake of favorite-folder uniformity.
  • Memory consumption: approx 10 megs, which seems reasonable for all that this app can do for you.

Wish list:

  • Customizing Folders View so that is shows in the open/save dialog of MS Office (other apps provide plugins for MS Office).
  • Providing the ability to browse directory structures in cascading menu style from the system tray, the open/save dialog, and the desktop shortcut. Currently you can do this from the folder toolbar only.
  • Providing a browsable favorites entry in the context menu (similar to Folder Guide). Not that they don’t provide favorites in enough places as it is but if they’re covering all other conceivable places they might go for this one.
  • The ability to remove the context menu entries and the Folder View system tray icon.

The verdict: while there are a lot of different freeware apps that provide favorite folders in open save dialogs (e.g. FlashFolder, DM2, CFD Button), and freeware such as Filebox Extender and Folder Guide provide favorite folder access to open windows and the context menu, respectively; what I like about Folder View is that it can use a single list of favorite folders and provide it to the user in a wide variety of places. The copy/move files in the context menu is also a very nice added bonus. Overall a very nice app that can be very useful. The program can be better (see wish list) but as it is it is very good indeed. Try it you will like it.

Version Tested: 2.1

Compatibility: Windows XP/2000/ME or 98/95 with Internet Explorer 5 or above installed. No info on VISTA.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 1.12 megs).