Microsoft

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.

Get Vista tips in your mailbox!

Delivered each Friday, TechRepublic's Windows Vista Report newsletter features tips, news, and scuttlebutt on Vista development, as well as a look at new features in the latest version of the Windows OS. Automatically sign up today!

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.

Editor's Picks