There are plenty of file managers available for the Android platform. Some of these file managers offer tons of bells and whistles, and other UIs are so modern that that hardly resemble anything you've ever used. However, a few of the fundamental actions of a file manager can be lost.
This is not the case with the OI File Manager. Its simple UI doesn't get in the way of what a file manager should do best — and that's manage files. But don't let the simplicity fool you; OI File Manager does have several features, including:
- Show list of files
- View thumbnails for images
- Move, copy, rename, and delete files
- Create and delete directories
- Send files by email
- Used by apps like Gmail for attaching files
- Support for many file and mime types
- Built-in file compression
- Shortcut creation
This isn't the lengthiest feature list, but what OI File Manager does offer makes it an important entry in the world of file managers. It adds only what you need and leaves out everything you don't. This is important to on-the-go business users who demand efficiency over heavy-handed features. And, as a long-time user of the Nautilus file manager (the default for Ubuntu Unity and other Linux desktops), the compression feature alone makes this file manager worth using.
Let's install and use OI File Manager.
The installation of OI File Manager is quite simple. You'll be surprised, however, at how long the installation takes. The only explanation for the length of install is the app integration (although the only app I've found OI to integrate with is Gmail). In fact, some devices may have trouble installing OI. The Verizon-branded HTC M8 installed the app after some time. The Verizon-branded LG G3 installed the app like a champ. The Sony Xperia Z2, on the other hand, couldn't pull off the task of installation (no matter how many times I tried — even though it was running the same release of android, 4.4.2, as the other devices).
Follow these steps to install OI File Manager:
- Open up the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for OI File Manager
- Locate and tap the entry by OpenIntents
- Tap Install
- Read through the permissions listing
- If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
Now that the installation is complete, you should see a launcher on either your home screen or your app drawer (or both). Tap that launcher to begin using OI File Manager.
The best thing about OI File Manager is the lack of a learning curve. If you've ever used a file manager, you'll have no problem using OI. I do, however, want to point out a couple of features that could easily become go-to tools within this app, especially for those who depend on their Android devices as tools of whatever trade their business happens to be. The first feature is file compression.
When you're on the go, you'll very likely have to send files to co-workers. You don't want to have to send full-sized files over your data connection (because of speed and data usage). Instead, you'll want to compress those files first. Here's how to compress files with OI File Manager:
- Open up the OI File Manager
- Navigate to the location of the file to be compressed
- Long-press the file until the top toolbar changes (Figure A)
- Tap the menu button (three vertical dots in the top right corner)
- Tap Compress
- Give the zipped file a name
- Tap OK
The OI File Manager running on a Verizon-branded LG G3.
The newly created .zip file will be housed in the same directory as is the original file. You can then send the file via email by long-pressing the file, tapping the menu button, tapping Send, and then selecting the app/service to use for sending (through the built-in Android sharing system). Depending on the file type, you may find the compression doesn't actually shrink the file size much. This is especially true for audio and video files (which have, most likely, already been compressed as much as possible). But for standard files and folders, this system works great.
Here are a few additional quick tips for using OI File Manager:
- To create a new folder, tap the menu button from within the parent folder, tap Create folder, give the folder a name, and tap OK.
- To rename a folder, long-press the folder, tap the menu button, tap Rename, enter the new name, and tap OK.
- To bookmark a location, do the following: Long-press the folder to be bookmarked, tap the menu button, and tap Bookmark.
- To get to your bookmarks, tap the bookmark icon (to the left of the search icon), and then tap the bookmark you want to go to.
If you're looking for a file manager that cuts down the clutter and gets you working efficiently, give this free Android app a try and see if it doesn't wind up as your go-to file manager.
Do you use OI File Manager or another file manager app on your Android device? Let us know your favorite — and tell us why — in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.