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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
Hi there, Jess Stratton here and welcome to Monday productivity pointers. In the last video, I showed you how you can aggregate things like photos and music in one place on your Mac using a smart folder. Well, Windows users, you have the same functionality too, they're called Libraries. In this video, I'm going to show you how to set up your own library to customize and aggregate all your folders in one place. In fact Windows already does some of these for you. That's why you see documents in the public folder in the same place on your Windows machine.
So let''s get started, and I'll show you how you can extend the same functionality to Windows. I'm on my Windows machine and I have Windows Explorer open. So Windows defaults to giving you certain libraries already. For example, it gives you documents, music, pictures and video. If you hover over and click the arrows next to the left on each item, you can see that it's already aggragating data from what my user account is allowed to see. That is, in my Documents folder, I can see documents from the contents of my documents and public documents.
In the Music folder, I can see my music and the contents of the public music folder, and so on for pictures and video. Nowadays, you can add desktop versions of all your cloud storage apps, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive. Also iTunes music may show up in a different folder, and not necessarily your music folder. So if you're looking for a file, it's always easier to look in one place than it is to look in four different places. So let's start adding some of our cloud storage to a Windows library.
Take this SkyDrive folder up here. I have the SkyDrive desktop app installed on this machine. So whenever I make a change or add a folder to SkyDrive online, it's going to sync it back down here. So instead of looking for a particular file in both My Documents folder and my SkyDrive folder, let's just add Skydrive directly to Documents. I can do that by right-clicking on SkyDrive, selecting Include in Library, and choosing Documents. Now, I could make a brand new library if I wanted to.
And it would show up on the left hand side here. But I'm just fine with the default of Documents, Music, Pictures, and Video. So now, if I click on documents, I can see anything that I have in my documents. Public documents, and here's my SkyDrive documents that are already showing up in this library. So now if I want to search, I can come up here to the top right and do a search in Documents, and it will cover everything all at once much quicker than if it had to look throughout the entire computer.
Again, if I ever want to see what library it's pulling from, I can hover my mouse and click on the arrow next to documents and see exactly where it's pulling that stuff from. Now let's do that again for pictures. You can do it for subfolders also. For example, in my Sky Drive folder, it comes with the pictures folder. And I do have pictures already in there. So let's take that Pictures folder, right click, choose Include in Library. And this time we'll select Pictures. So now, when I come up here to Pictures, I get the same thing.
I get the contents of My Pictures, Public pictures, and anything that's in my SkyDrive folder. Just like I can search pictures, just like I could do with documents. So that's how easy it is to add your files and folders and aggregate them to the current Windows libraries that already exist. Now it's always good to use the default ones, such as document. Because when you're saving files such as using Microsoft Word, if you choose File > Save As, they'll all default to this Documents folder.
So this way you could have everything in one place, and you don't have to go looking around on your entire computer when you just want one file. So that's how you can go through and start adding all your folders to Windows Libraries.
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