Keyboard Ninja: Toggle File Extension Display With a Shortcut Key in Windows

Have you ever wanted to be able to easily toggle the visibility of file extensions? We’ve shown you how to toggle hidden files before, and now we’ve come up with a similar solution for file extensions.

If hotkeys are your game, be sure and check out our 21 keyboard shortcut articles.

Toggle File Extensions

Once you’ve downloaded and run the application, all you need to do is hit the Win+Y shortcut key while you have any folder open:

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And you’ll immediately see the file extensions, or won’t see them – the point is that it will toggle between the two settings.

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Using the same hotkey sequence you can bring the file extensions back.

Installing the Hotkey

To make this run at startup, you have to save and extract the downloadable file, and then create a shortcut in your startup folder, which can be accessed by putting the following into the location bar:

shell:startup

You’ll notice the ToggleFileExt item that I added into the startup folder.

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There’s no UI for this application, and it’ll run completely in the background with fairly low memory usage.

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Using the AutoHotkey Version

If you are already an AutoHotkey user and would like to just add this to your current script, the full source code is here:

; WINDOWS KEY + Y TOGGLES FILE EXTENSIONS

#y::
RegRead, HiddenFiles_Status, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced, HideFileExt
If HiddenFiles_Status = 1
RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced, HideFileExt, 0
Else
RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced, HideFileExt, 1
WinGetClass, eh_Class,A
If (eh_Class = “#32770” OR A_OSVersion = “WIN_VISTA”)
send, {F5}
Else PostMessage, 0x111, 28931,,, A
Return

Note: If the script doesn’t work for you, you can grab a text version here.

This isn’t the type of utility that I would end up using all the time, but it works great as part of my regular AutoHotkey toolkit.

Download ToggleFileExt Hotkey Application

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.