Windows Enterprise Desktop

Sep 2 2011   9:49PM GMT

Ed Bott Gets “Invert Selection” Right

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

I’m working on a book about Windows 7 right now for the Microsoft Technology Association (MTA) program, specifically for Exam 98-349 “Windows Operating System Fundamentals.”  And in fact, I’m knee deep in Chapter 4 of that book which takes Windows file management and Windows Explorer as a core topic. That’s why I read Ed Bott’s blog for today “Demystifying Windows Explorer: What ‘Invert Selection’ is good for” with great interest and appreciation.

Headline for Ed Bott’s 9/2/2011 blog

Apparently the appearance of this function in the Building Windows 8 blog earlier this week caused  a tempest in a teapot with some readers, who went off on the continued existence of the function in the Windows Explorer of the future (not to mention the Windows 7 present as well). Pet peeves aside, it turns out that “Invert Selection” is a very nice little function, once you understand what it does. Basically, you can pick a list of things you want to keep unchanged in a folder (especially if it’s shorter than the list of things you want to move, delete, or modify), then use “Invert Selection” to de-select those items and select everything else instead.

For example, let’s say you’ve got a folder full of photos that you grabbed from your digital camera. After reviewing 75 snaps, you decide you only want to keep 5. So you pick them, then  do ‘Invert Selection,’ then right click any of those entries, and pick “Delete” from the pop-up menu. Presto! All 70 unwanted photos are gone, gone, gone. Easy as pie!

In Windows 7  run Explorer (type explorer.exe into the Start menu search bar, or click your favorite icon: I usually use the Folder icon that’s pinned to the Task bar at the bottom left of the screen to launch Explorer myself). Then click the Alt key to show the ordinarily hidden “File Edit View Tools Help” menu bar. The Invert Selection item appears at the bottom of the pull-down menu for the Edit entry in this menu bar. And it works like a champ, too.

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