I typically go to the windows explorer using windowskey+e. Then I use Alt-D to go the address bar to type the folder name.

Is there keyboard shortcut to directly go the file list on the right side instead of going tab tab tab? I typically just want to select a file for copy/delete etc.



8 Answers 8


Try shift+tab that will tab in the reverse order


After launching Explorer, press F6. This toggles between the file list, the address bar, and (annoyingly) the close button for the "folder tree" pane. While on the folder view's close button, you can press tab to move into the actual folder tree.


Alt-Enter sometimes works from the address bar. It seems a bit temperamental though, not properly figured it out. Using Windows 10

  • Alt-Enter does not go directly to the folder list. In 32bit versions of Windows and many years ago it switched between windowed and full-screen, but I could not find official documentation on its current standard behavior. Jan 31, 2017 at 23:27

A bit long-winded but might be preferred to multiple tabbing.

On Windows 10 try: Alt-H S A Down

Alt-H opens the 'Home' ribbon menu, S A selects all. Then using the up/down arrow keys to cancel the selection. Note Alt-H are pressed simultaneously then released, S A Down are pressed one at a time.


Not a direct answer to your question, but an alternative.

You could use Launchy, to type directly the address. Then enter would open the explorer directly where you want, and the "cursor" would be on the first file in the window.


WinE to open windows explorer

CTRLL to move to the address bar

C:\Users as an example where I navigate, followed by Enter

Now simply press any character, as long as there is a file in the directory that starts with this character

This should move the selection onto the first file with a Name that matches the character.


I just found this question and was searching for the same thing.

In Explorer in Windows 8, if you press enter while in the address bar, it goes directly to the file list.

Unfortunately, the behavior is not the same in the file open dialog, even though most of the shortcuts there are the same.

You can easily get there from the find dialog: if you press F3, then ESC, then down, you will end up in the file list (both in Explorer and the file open dialog). Unfortunately (and bizarrely), however, F3 doesn't always take you to the search box. It depends on what element you have selected at the time.

It is amazing how poorly thought out the Explorer shortcuts are. There are direct shortcuts for most elements in the interface, including rarely used options like Map Network Drive--but not for selecting the file list!


File list is the default selected area just after opening file explorer. Try pressing a letter that matches the first letter in a file or folder name to see the item become selected. Alternately press down arrow to navigate into the file/folder list. First file/folder is skipped when using down arrow after folder is first opened. No file or sub directory folder is actively selected when file explorer first opens. (Kind of like a bug or flaw!) Work around for keyboard users to select the first file/folder is down arrow then up arrow.

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