How to Quickly Show Files in List View or Large Icons (Thumbnails) in Windows 11 File Explorer

File Explorer List or Thumbnail

Instantly switch between List View and Large Icons view in the File Explorer.

A good layout to display your files and folders is one of the key components for easy navigation to locate a specific file. Probably, that’s the reason Windows has so many layout options, as they wanted to make sure every user could customize it according to their preference.

However, no single layout option fits the bill to perfectly cater to every file type. Hence, different layout options might be needed according to the file types stored in a directory for the sake of better navigation and viewability of the files.

Along that same line, there may come a situation when you need to switch to thumbnail view or List view, and thankfully Windows allows you to do that in a jiffy.

Switch to Thumbnail or List Layout in a Single-Click

Many a time there comes a situation where you need to instantly switch to large thumbnails. For instance, imagine searching for a specific picture among thousands of backed-up images, it already sounds like a nightmare sifting through by opening each one of them. Hence, quickly switching to thumbnail view might save you from a lot of hassle.

To do so, head to the folder directory on where you want to switch to the Thumbnail/List view.

Then from the bottom right corner of your window click on the ‘Thumbnail view’ icon to instantly switch to thumbnail view. Alternatively, you can also press the Ctrl + Shift + 2 shortcut on your keyboard to switch.

Your current layout option will be highlighted in blue

Next, if you want to switch to List view, click on the ‘List view’ icon situated right beside the ‘Thumbnail view’ icon from the bottom right corner of the screen. Alternatively, you can also press the Ctrl + Shift + 6 shortcut on your keyboard to switch.


All Layout Options available in Windows 11

To cater to everybody’s preferences, Windows has a lot of layout options available in File Explorer to view your files and folders. Let’s explore all of them.

First, head to your preferred directory from the File Explorer on your Windows 11 PC. Then, right-click on the empty space present on your screen and hover over the ‘View’ option. Next, you can select any of the layout options preferred by you.

Note: You can also change the ‘Layout’ for your files and folders by using the shortcuts situated adjacent to each layout option present on the context menu.

Alternatively, you can also change the layout by clicking the ‘Layout’ icon present on the ‘Ribbon’ menu of the File Explorer.

Then, select your preferred Layout option from the overlay menu.

Your currently selected layout is represented by a black dot on the left side of the option.

If in case you want to reduce the space between two consecutive rows in the File Explorer, click on the ‘Compact view’ option from the ‘Layout options’ overlay menu.


Grouping/ Sorting of Files and Folder in File Explorer

Along with several layout options, Windows also allows a user to sort or group the files present in File Explorer. Sorting and/or grouping really helps the user to find and locate the files as quickly as possible.

To group the files present in File Explorer, head to your preferred directory and right-click on the empty space available in the File Explorer window. Then hover over the ‘Group by’ option and select your preferred option from the list. (For instance, we are selecting the ‘Type’ option here.)

After that, all your files and folders will be displayed in groups segregated according to their file types.

To sort the files present in File Explorer, head to the directory of your choice and right-click on the empty space available in the File Explorer window. Then, hover over the ‘Sort by’ option and select an option from the list preferred by you. (For instance, we are selecting the ‘Size’ option here.)

After that, all your files and folders present in the directory will be listed in descending order of file size.