Windows optimize

Quick Tip: Copy both the path and the file name to the clipboard

In Windows Vista, 7, and 8, with an extra keystroke you can copy the full path to a file and save time finding it when you need it.

I don't know how I missed this little trick, but it would have saved me a significant amount of time over the years if I had been using it. If you do a lot of linking, moving, and managing of files, there is a good possibility that this quick tip will do some good for you too.

Note: This tip applies to Windows Vista, 7, and 8, but not to Windows XP.

Here is our example file (Figure A). It is a typical file that we may want to print or fax or send to someone as a link so they can find it on a shared folder, etc.

Figure A

Our example file

More than copy

Under normal circumstances, right-clicking on a file name (Figure B) will give you access to several operations you can perform on that file, including the option to copy the file to the Windows clipboard.

Figure B

Menu options with a right-click
However, if we hold the Shift key down and then right-click the file name we get a few more operations (Figure C), including the option to Copy as Path to the clipboard.

Figure C

More menu options with a Shift right-click
When you use the Copy as Path option, the information copied to the clipboard includes not only the name of the file but the folder path where it can be found (Figure D). This can save you time if the next procedure you are trying to complete has a dialog box, which asks you to find the file in your folder hierarchy before it performs its function.

Figure D

The full path revealed

More tips

I know some of you may have been aware of this little trick, but somehow I had missed it for all these years. I guess you really can teach an old dog new tricks. Do you know any other little timesaving gems that toil in obscurity deep in the Windows 7 feature set? Would you care to shed some light on them so that we might all benefit from your superior knowledge?

Also read:

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

30 comments
haswemi
haswemi

My only gripe is the quotations added. Other than that is is a time saver.

rebeccazoly
rebeccazoly

I have download Long Path Tool and it is the best solution of your problem.

angbosch
angbosch

This is a wonderful tip - I'm sure I'll be using it frequently now. I'm responsible for sharing tidbits via our electronic employee newsletter and this is simple enough that some will learn and appreciate it too!

PeterM42
PeterM42

I use file + path names FREQUENTLY and never knew that one. VERY many thanks!!!

yourwork
yourwork

Click on the Insert menu then on the Quick Parts icon. Pick Field from the drop down list. In the categories drop down list pick Document Information and in the Field Names click FileName. Decide which format you want (I always use lower case to distinguish a file name from a folder name for which I always use UPPER CASE) then click the Add Path to Filename box. Click OK and you're done. It doesn't have to be a footer this can go anywhere on the page. The file is saved with the full path and file name and you don't have to mess around copying to the clipboard and pasting into whatever file you are sending.

bergdonk
bergdonk

Ninotech Path Copy Been using it for years in XP and now Win7. Gives more options too, recommended.

kentg
kentg

I agree with DittoHeadStL. Why isn't it just available without having to use shift?

jgprato
jgprato

What Software Tool is displayed in Figure A, B and C? If it is Windows Explorer, I can't get it to display as in the Figures.

david.tredinnick
david.tredinnick

There are more options added with the Shift+Right Click. Check out the "Send to" list.

sparent
sparent

Holding the Shift key while right-clicking on a file also reveals many more options under Send To.

DittoHeadStL
DittoHeadStL

So the right-click reveals 14 things, and the Shift right-click reveals 18. What's the benefit of suppressing 4 items from the right-click?

MC6809E
MC6809E

This helps me a bunch. Now to send it to the church computer, where it will be a real help.

ginmemphis
ginmemphis

Good tip! This is great for attaching files in Gmail or anywhere I need to browse & upload. Just click Attach a File and paste in the path -- much easier than rummaging through folders, especially since I usually have Windows Explorer open anyway.

Dave Jeffree
Dave Jeffree

Create copypath.reg and paste in the text below the line. Double click copypath.reg and install - shift | right click on a file to get the additional option _________________________________ Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Allfilesystemobjects\shell\CopyPath] @="Copy as Path" "Extended"="" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Allfilesystemobjects\shell\CopyPath\command] @=hex(2):25,00,63,00,6f,00,6d,00,73,00,70,00,65,00,63,00,25,00,20,00,2f,00,63,\ 00,20,00,65,00,63,00,68,00,6f,00,20,00,22,00,25,00,31,00,22,00,7c,00,63,00,\ 6c,00,69,00,70,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,00,00

Realvdude
Realvdude

It will certainly save me some time in creating documentation too. Did I notice a little homage to the Three Stooges?

stan.sabel
stan.sabel

Great tip. I currently utilize mapped drives but it would be nice if there was an option to copy the path and file name but reference the UNC path (\\machinename\share\etc...)

ian
ian

ctrl+alt+c

JKFentiman
JKFentiman

Mark, I appreciate your posting this tip! I was not aware of this great feature. I will use it often.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you know any other little time-saving tips for Windows 7 that may be on the obscure side of the spectrum? Share it with your peers here and get a little street cred.

MichaelCarr
MichaelCarr

You want it this easy??? o R Click on file name (or folder name) in Windows explorer, o slide down & o click "Copy as Text" Poof, your wish is granted. I've had this on Win XP for Years--and I hope you like it as much as I do. Go here: http://www.dimin.net/software/utils.html Then look for: Folder As Text An extension for windows shell, includes new option for right mouse button click on file or folder to simply copy the file/folder name into clipboard. Awarded by Softpedia 100% Clean Award. Source: Delphi and NSIS installer file. Windows compatibility: 95/98/ME/2k/XP/Vista/7 x86/x64 folderAsText.exe [161.05 KB] download folderAsText.exe install folderAsText.exe never worry about it again.

rob_cranfill
rob_cranfill

I believe that's Windows Explorer for Windows 8, with the "ribbon" turned on.

pocjoc
pocjoc

IMHO With the right-click you can see the most used commands and it is not necessary to show the whole list.

simonh
simonh

We are moving away from anachronistic mapped drives so UNC's essential and I can happily report that this works with UNCs. I think it probably depends on where Windows Explorer is pointing. If it's a mapped drive to start with then that is what it will use. If it is UNC then the same...

Julie9009
Julie9009

I tried selecting a file in Windows Explorer, then pressing Ctrl+Alt+C, but when I paste, the paste buffer doesn't contain the filename (it just contains whichever text I last copied).

westfall
westfall

Are you doing this on the file name are somewhere else? Thanks,

jjohnvayn
jjohnvayn

hello, i fallen this type of problem earlier and got a satisfactory result from here. you can also try>>Long Path Tool helped me in this situation. http://PathTooDeep.com thanks