Windows

Customize the SendTo command in Vista


If you don't use the SendTo command in your day-to-day file management operations, you're missing out on one of Vista's handiest file management tools. The SendTo command provides you with a fully customizable, easy way to quickly route files to various locations. In this edition of the Windows Vista Report, I'll show you how to customize the SendTo command's features.

Accessing SendTo

It's easy to access the SendTo command. If you're in Windows Explorer, right-click a file or a folder and select the SendTo command from the context menu (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

You can right-click on a file or folder and access the SendTo command's menu of destinations.
You can also access the SendTo command on the Windows Explorer's File menu when you select a file or folder. To access the File menu in Windows Explorer's default configuration, press [Alt] to make the Menu bar drop down and then pull down the File menu (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

You can also access the SendTo command's menu of destinations from the File menu.

On this example system, Vista automatically places nine destinations on the SendTo command's menu.

  • Compressed (Zipped) Folder creates a compressed folder (a.k.a. a Zip file) and copies the selected files or folders to it in one step.
  • Desktop (Create Shortcut) allows you to instantly create a shortcut on the desktop to a file or folder.
  • Documents copies the selected file or folder to the Documents folder.
  • Fax Recipient allows you to easily send the file as a fax via the Windows Fax And Scan tool.
  • Mail Recipient allows you to easily attach a file to an Outlook or Outlook Express message.
  • DVD RW Drive copies the selected file or folder to the DVD RW drive on this system.
  • The USB and Removable destinations automatically copy the selected file or folder to the USB and compact flash drives on this system.
  • Mapped Network Drive automatically copies the selected file or folder over the network.

Although Vista automatically adds quite a few destinations to the SendTo command's menu, you can configure the SendTo command to send files to other destinations, such as a specific folder or an executable file (e.g., WordPad), simply by adding shortcuts to those destinations to the SendTo command's folder. The SendTo command's folder is referenced by the operating system as a Junction Point or a Symbolic Link, which means that the folder isn't actually located where it appears to be.

All smoke and mirrors aside, you can access SendTo command's folder with Windows Vista's Shell: command. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button and type shell:sendto in the Start Search text box.
  2. When you see the results panel (Figure C), press [Enter] or click shell:sendto.

Figure C

Figure C

The trick to accessing the SendTo command's folder is to use the shell: command.

  1. When you see the SendTo folder (Figure D), use the Create Shortcut Wizard to create shortcuts to specific destinations or executable files.

Figure D

Figure D

The SendTo folder is revealed.

Customizing SendTo

Suppose that you regularly copy files to the Shared folder on your hard disk. To add the Shared folder to the SendTo menu, right-click anywhere inside the SendTo folder and select the New | Shortcut command. When you see the Create Shortcut wizard, simply type the drive letter and path of the folder in the Type The Location Of The Item text box (Figure E).

Figure E

Figure E

To create a shortcut to a folder, type the path to the folder in the Type The Location Of The Item text box.
If you want to be able to occasionally send text files to WordPad instead of Notepad, you can create a shortcut in the SendTo folder to the executable file (Figure F).

Figure F

Figure F

To create a shortcut to an application, type the path to the executable file in the Type The Location Of The Item text box.
Now when you access the SendTo menu, you'll see the Shared folder and WordPad as destinations to which you can send files (Figure G).

Figure G

Figure G

The new additions are now available as destinations on the SendTo command's menu.

Are you ready for the next step?

If you use the SendTo command, will you use it more now that you know how to customize it? Post your thoughts in this article's discussion.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

25 comments
hhl-user
hhl-user

In XP I could create folders in SendTo, and then put subfolders into the main folder. Then, to send the file to one of the subfolders, I would right-click the send to option, then select the folder I wanted, then a series of options (to the various subfolders) would open. I can then send it straight to one of the subfolders. I do not appear to be able to do that in W7; everything in the web indicates that that ability is gone. Surely that cannot be correct.

Dave_Friedel
Dave_Friedel

In Vista X64, you can add the shortcuts, but they will only sporadically show up. I put my editor in there and can see it on the Send To context menu on files in SOME folders but not others. And it's inconsistent. There's something about X64's security model that differs methinks.

jclleung
jclleung

If I add "Folder" as a shortcut, will it behave like the "Folder" in XP PowerToys' "Send To"?

FiOS-Dave
FiOS-Dave

Nice! NOw I'll use the command even more! Thanks!

regev99
regev99

Good one.. can you give some more tips on the shell: command?

karldearnley
karldearnley

Just a quick question, we still run some xp machines will this work with xp? Thanks

jclleung
jclleung

For some unknown reason, I can't even get to Figure C, using Start Search shell:sendto.

maddadspad
maddadspad

Any way to create a "send to any folder" like the one in the Win 98 Power Toys. Which also worked with XP, but not with Vista.

scott
scott

I've used this trick since Win95 and find it very helpful. On all of my PC's I have this set to point to a local TRASH folder under C:\TEMP. When I find an old or large file that I want off the network but not quite ready to delete it I'll hold SHIFT while selecting this SendTo link to move the file to my local TRASH pile.

iamschatz
iamschatz

Pages do not print illustrations in "Make Vista launch UAC restricted programs"... and "Customize the Send'To command in Vista"

alandakin
alandakin

The Send To also includes all of my drives incl the ones for the card reader - there are 5 of these all with different letters - I would like to remove these from the Send To list but they are not in the 'SendTo' folder that you have described. Any ideas? Cheers Alan

abdul.lateef.03
abdul.lateef.03

browse the location C:\Documents and Settings\username\SendTo and create your destination shortcuts here!

jclleung
jclleung

For XP, I have found the PowerToys'SendTo much more versitatile.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

press [Windows]+R to open the Run dialog box then type shell:sendto in the Open text box.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

Which version of Windows Vista are you using? Do you have full administrative access to your system?

misssie
misssie

I've done a thorough search for this as I understood the instructions, but come up empty.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...for the next edition of the Windows Vista Report!

jclleung
jclleung

Got it. In Vista, try User\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo. By the way, "Any Folder" does not work.

misssie
misssie

Thanks, Greg. That did it. I apparently was confused by the instruction to type in the "search box"

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

Press [Windows]+R to open the Run dialog box then type shell:sendto in the Open text box.

jclleung
jclleung

Just done it again. No can do

ari.selonen
ari.selonen

Ummm... I think you have misunderstood this thing. You woun't find "shell:sendto" by search for it, yu _type_ it in the "run box". To invoke the Run box, hold down the Windows key and hit R, or (in Vista) just click the Start button and type "shell:sendto" in the "Start Search" box and hit enter). Tip of the day: By default Vista hides the Command Prompt. If you would like to see it "XP style" in the start menu, 1. Right click the Start button 2. Left Click Properties 3. Click Customize button beside the Start Menu selection 4. Scroll down and check the checkbox on Run Command 5. Click OK and OK Cheers, Ari

misssie
misssie

Yes, have full admin rights and I'm running Vista Business. I ran the search looking for shell:sendto, including hidden files, unindexed files, etc.

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