Pro tip: Create home screen folders with ASTRO File Manager

Jack Wallen shows you how to add folders to your home screen with the help of the ASTRO File Manager.

ASTRO File Manager

The ASTRO File Manager is quite a solid piece of software that adds all sorts of file management goodness to the Android platform. One such bit of goodness is a bit lesser known and can be a huge time saver for those who use their mobile devices similarly to how they use their desktops. If you often find yourself navigating the file hierarchy to work with files, you'll be glad to know that you can add folder shortcuts with the help of ASTRO.

The ASTRO folder shortcut is not a place to drop your launchers into to create a collection of related (or non-related) apps. This is an actual folder that holds files -- a shortcut that links from your home screen to the folder within your directory structure.

Let's say you frequently download files onto your Android device and need quick access to those files. You can create a home screen link to the Downloads folder with the help of ASTRO. That way, with a single tap from your home screen, you'll be working with the contents of that folder.

How do you do it? Simple. Follow these steps. I'll demonstrate on a Verizon-branded HTC M8. The steps will vary slightly, depending on your device.

  1. Long-press a blank spot on the home screen
  2. Tap Add apps and widgets
  3. In the selection drop-down, select Shortcuts (Figure A)
    Figure A
    Figure A
  4. Tap ASTRO File Manager
  5. Navigate to the folder to be added (Figure B)
    Figure B
    Figure B
  6. Once inside the folder to be added, tap OK

That's it. You should now have a launcher on your home screen that will open that folder in the ASTRO File Manager. Tap the shortcut to view the contents of the folder.

Not all home screen launchers are created equal. For those that do not include the ability to add folder shortcuts, you can now achieve this with the help of ASTRO File Manager.

Do you use your Android folder hierarchy in a similar fashion as your desktop -- or do folders go mostly ignored? If you take advantage of folders, what is your file/folder manager of choice? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....