Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Does Windows Explorer in Windows 7 have a keyboard shortcut that hides or shows the navigation pane?

It's pretty annoying each time to click Organize|Layout|Navigation pane...

share|improve this question
Great Question! +1 – brandstaetter Sep 16 '09 at 7:20

14 Answers 14

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I don't believe there is a keyboard shortcut (I just tried all the ctrl/alt + alphabet keys, and none of them opened the navigation pane)

share|improve this answer

Here is how I do it:

1) Alt+D (puts the focus in the Address bar, so works wherever it was before)

2) Tab, Tab

3) Space

4) L

5) N

This is optimized for speed of typing; you can save a Tab if you use Ctrl+E or Ctrl+F to put the focus in the search box instead.

If you've just opened the window, three presses of Tab will get you to the Organize button in step 3.

share|improve this answer

Here is how I do it:

1) Shift + Tab

2) Shift + Tab


4) L

5) N

Hope this helps!

share|improve this answer
1) and 2) should probably be "shift+tab until you see a bounding box around 'organize'". tab & Shift+tab will cycle through all fields/controls/buttons on any/most windows dialogs... – horatio Apr 19 '11 at 19:18

here is a autohotkey script

Win+A toggles the navi pane


#SingleInstance, Force

#IfWinActive ahk_class CabinetWClass
Send !d{tab}{tab}{enter}ln
share|improve this answer
Nice! Using Send ^e{tab}{enter}ln (CTRL+E, TAB ENTER instead of ALT+D TAB TAB ENTER) is slightly faster I've also bound it to ALT+N so I can use it with ALT+P !n:: for toggling the preview pane without removing my finger from ALT. – Sam Hasler Mar 11 '14 at 10:59

Under Windows 8.1 (maybe Windows 8 & 7 too, one needs to verify this), by adding the "Navigation Pane" option to the Quick Access Toolbar, one can then turn the pane on/off using the Alt + Number key combination depending on the position of the newly added option in the Quick Access Toolbar, i.e. in my case, it is the third one, so I can just press Alt + 3 to turn the pane on/off.

Note that the "Navigation Pane" option can be found under View > Navigation Pane (button) > Navigation Pane, where one could right-click on the option to add it onto the quick access toolbar mentioned above. Another important note is that, only the number keys located above the QWERTY role work for this, but not those of the Numpad.

This has improved my workflow tremendously. Hope it helps you too.

share|improve this answer
Windows 7 doesn't have a "Quick Access Toolbar". – Toro Mar 15 '14 at 0:25
I liked this answer, and I hope this illustration make it easier for people to understand what you are suggesting: screenshot – Ajith Antony Mar 13 '15 at 7:41
Works great in windows 10 – toster-cx Apr 20 at 7:21

you may want to record an action and script it. you and use autohotkey to execute that script with a keyboard shortcut.

share|improve this answer
I have used AutoHotKey before. Could you comment on how to record actions runnable by AutoHotKey? – Amelio Vazquez-Reina Apr 13 '11 at 13:25

Here is a macro in PhraseExpress (freely available here):

{#shift {#tab}}{#sleep 500}{#shift {#tab}}{#sleep 500}{#down}{#sleep 500}l{#sleep 500}n

Note: sleep 500 makes it more stable.

share|improve this answer
where does the focus need to be when you run it? The 1st time it ran it was ok but not it keeps trying to do a search. – Alex Feb 24 at 10:34
Figured it out looking at the other answers. Alt+D puts the focus in the correct location. My final short cut: {#ALT -chars D}{#TAB}{#sleep 100}{#TAB}{#sleep 100}{#DOWN}{#sleep 100}{#SHIFT -chars l}{#sleep 100}{#SHIFT -chars n} Thanks! – Alex Feb 24 at 10:56

Not a direct answer, but you can hide the navigation pane in one folder, and apply this setting for all folders. You will now have to manually enable the navigation pane each time you want to use it.

Here's how:

  1. Open Folder Options via the Tools menu (ALT-T, O)
  2. Select "View" tab
  3. Press "Apply to Folders"
share|improve this answer
It's not about how to hide the pane permanently, rather I'd like to have an option to hide and show it using a key shortcut. – Toro Sep 28 '09 at 7:28

I can't see any keyboard shortcuts (apart from OGR's answer), but there is a plugin which adds a Navigation Pane button to the Windows Explorer bar, which at least makes it quicker to toggle.

NavPane button

Details here: Toggle the Navigation Pane with a Button in Windows Explorer

share|improve this answer

Very good thread. I wanted a folder with just icons that allows me to launch programs or folder locations of interest. I think I'm there. Here are keys:

  1. Under folder options, view tab, click "Restore previous folder windows at logon"

    • so once I have folder set up the way I want, I just leave open when I logoff and it gets restored on next logon. Thus, I turn off navigation panel and it comes back with it off.
  2. To launch new folders in separate window (and just new ones), in shortcut target use the following:

    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n,/e, "Path to folder you want to start-in"

    So, if I want to open a explorer in the D: drive I use

    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n,/e, D:\

Now I set-up all the shortcuts in my key folder this way and they launch in a separate window, yet all other times when I double click on folder location they don't create separate window.

share|improve this answer

I can toggle the preview pane in Windows 10 by typing (with the Explorer window focussed): Alt V N Enter

Note that Alt is a separate keypress to go into the mode where you navigate the ribbon by keyboard.

share|improve this answer

Yes, it's not very well thought out on Microsoft's behalf.

If I have a folder on my desktop which contains JUST shortcut to programs that do say "audio" work. When I open the folder I just want to see icons, not the navigation pane.

If I make it vanish for that folder, then the next time I open explorer (say to look at my PC folder structure) it's gone from there also.

Windows 7 should remember whether or not the navigation pane was enabled on a "per folder" basis, or AT THE VERY LEAST, provide a quick shortcut key to display or hide it.

Piss poor if you ask me.

The navigation pane takes up a lot of space, and people who like their folders and work areas looking "just right" won't be very please at this omission. In this respect, the old explorer worked a lot better. (Even if it did forget the layout for ALL of your folders from time to time!). This one doesn't even have options to remember your folder layout with respect to the navigation pane. Probably why M$ couldn't be bothered to fix the original problem with it, electing to just ommit it from future versions instead.

share|improve this answer
I don't have Windows 7 yet, but Vista it did not save my folder settings until I disabled UAC. Do you have UAC enabled or disabled? – Joshua Kersey Oct 4 '10 at 18:19

You could use ctrl+F which will open the pane and then switch to navigation tab, but creating a macro sounds easiest.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer to the question about Windows 7 but in Windows 10:

Alt+D, Alt, V, N, Enter

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .