How-To Geek

How to Search in Windows File Explorer by Just Typing


By default, when you open File Explorer in Windows and start typing, it will scroll down to folders that begin with the letters you key in. This can be handy, but if you prefer you can change this behavior so that typing brings you up to the search box instead.

In any open File Explorer window, click the File menu and then select “Change folder and search options.”


In the Folder Options window, switch to the View tab and then scroll down to the options under “When typing into list view.” Click the option “Automatically type into the Search Box” and then click OK.


And that’s it. Fire up File Explorer and just start typing to perform a search. It’s a super simple tip, but to take advantage of it, you kind of have to know it’s available in the first place.

Walter Glenn is a long time computer geek and tech writer. Though he's mostly a Windows and gadget guy, he has a fondness for anything tech. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Published 03/9/16
  • Keith R. Starkey

    What version of Windows is this? I'm using Win 7, and its set to "Select the typed item in the view," but it opens with me being able to type right off the bat, and there's no scrolling.

  • Walter Glenn

    The screenshots in the article are from Windows 10, but this works in Windows versions going back to Vista. I just double-checked Windows 7 Pro.

    The "Select the typed item into view" option sets it so that if you open File Explorer and start typing, it navigates to items in the window with that name. So, for example, if I type "Do" Windows would select the Documents folder for me.

    The "Automatically type into the Search Box" option changes it so that if you open File Explorer and start typing, what you type appears in the Search box.

  • Keith R. Starkey

    Ah! Well, that's where I got a bit lost. I've never referred to either the Computer icon (which brings up a window called Computer) or to Windows Explorer (which brings up a window called Libraries) as File Explorer, all of which are now set, according to your tip, to automatically type in the box. I was using Win+F for searching the computer, and that types automatically in the Search box regardless of the setting...confusion is as confusion does!


  • Preston

    @Walter_Glenn That's a great tip! Thanks for posting this short and informative article.--P

  • James

    Hi Guys. Saw this Thread, got confused, so jumped in. I have been searching via the "start" globe with the windows icon. To open windows explorer I right click the "start" globe wherein the search window opens. Does this change you talk about change any accessing at all? :grinning:

  • Walter Glenn

    @JamesEJ No, this won't change the Start menu functionality at all. This only controls where your typing focus is by default when you open a File Explorer window.

  • James

    Yeah, good to know but I did not really ask the right question in my confused state. You said "File explorer" so I said to myself what the H is that? Well its the same as "windows explorer" in my Win7 x64. Duh! with that frame of reference, I got the idea down from your thread & the HTG article. Sooo on my way to stable search inputs!!!

    Thank really a bunch, Jim

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