Working with Libraries in Windows 7

Before you start

Objectives: Learn how to create new library, how to add new folders to library, and how to share a library.

Prerequisites: no prerequisites.

Key terms: library, sharing, adding location, documents library, music, video

 Existing Libraries

Before we create our custom library, we should be aware that we already have some libraries configured on our system. Libraries created by default are Documents, Pictures and Music. For example, if we right-click our Documents and select Properties, we will get window like this:

 1 Document Properties

Library Properties

Notice that in this case the Documents library currently includes locations “C:\Users\Admin\My Documents” and “C:\Users\Public\Public Documents”. Although we have two locations in Documents library, when we open it, we won’t see those locations. We will only see files and folders.

 2 Documents in Library

Files in Documents

As you can see in this example, we only see files and folders from all locations which are included in the library, but we don’t know on which location they are located (until we go to its properties).

Creating New Library

There are several ways in which we can create custom library. For example, we can right-click “Libraries” in Windows Explorer, select New, and then select “Library” option.

 3 New Library

Creating New Library

When we do that, we will be able to change the name of the Library. In our case we will simply leave it New Library.

 4 New Library

New Library

When the name is set, we can select our new library. Since we didn’t include and folders in this library, we will be prompted to include a folder.

 5 Include a folder

Include a Folder

The second way to create a library is to right-click some existing folder which we want to have in our library, and then select the “Include in library” option, and then “Create new library” option. For the purpose of this demo, we have create two folders on our Desktop. One folder is “New Catalogs”, and other is called “Old Catalogs”. We want to put those folders in one Library called Catalogs. To do that, we will first right-click New Catalogs and create new library for it.

 6 New Catalogs

New Catalog Folder

By default, the name of the library created in this way will be the same as the first folder that we added. However, we can always right-click our library and choose to rename it.

 7 New Library

New Library

To add another folder (Old Catalogs), we can right-click it, select the “Include in library” option, and then select our newly created library from the list. Since we now have two locations in our library, we will rename it to Catalogs. Our library now looks like this:

 8 Catalogs Library

Catalogs Library

If we right-click our library, and go to its properties, we see that we can choose to optimize our library for certain type of items (like music, videos, documents, pictures or general items). This selection impacts how our files will be presented in the library, and how they will be indexed.

9 Library Optimization

Library Optimization

If we take a look at our Catalogs library, we’ll see that the default view (Arranged by option) is the folder view. In this view we can see which files are located in which folder in our library. Also, when we create new files, we can choose in which location we want to store them.
If we change the view to some other option than the “Folders” option, we will typically get a list of files from all locations included in the library. For example, in our case we have created two text files in each location (New Catalogs and Old Catalogs folders), and we have selected the “Date modified” view in our Catalogs library.

 10 Date Modified

Date Modified View

As we can now see, we don’t know which file is located in which location. When we create a new file in this view, that file will be saved directly to the first added folder in the library, which is New Catalogs in our case. But, we can also change default save locations. To do that, go to the properties of the library, select the location you want to be the default save location, and then click the “Set save location” button.

Including Network Locations

Another useful thing is that we can include shared folders in our libraries. To add a shared folder, we can simply enter the UNC path to the folder when in the “Include folder” window. In our example we will include the shared folder located on “ivancic-s” computer.

 12 Shared Folder

Including Shared Folder

The whole UNC path is \\ivancic-s\shared.

Sharing Libraries on the Network

The great thing about libraries is that they can be shared on the network. To share a library, simply right-click it and select “Share with” option.

11 Sharing

Sharing a Library

Here we can select to share it on the HomeGroup or to share it with specific people.