How to Show Explorer’s Preview Pane in Windows 10

Windows 10 Header

It is easy to preview files without opening them in Windows 10, thanks to the Preview Pane feature in File Explorer. You can see thumbnails of most images, videos, audio files and some text-based documents. Lets see how to do this.

You may have heard about a security flaw in using the preview pane, but that was fixed in Windows 10 update released on April 14, 2020. If you have the latest updates, it’s safe to use.

This is for Windows 10 operating system

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Opening File Explorer

There are at least three ways to access the File Explorer:

  1. Open File Explorer by pressing Windows+E
  2. Click the Explorer folder icon in your taskbar
  3. Click the Explorer option in your Start menu

Accessing the Preview Pane

In the menu bar at the top of the File Explorer window, click View. See below image:

File Explorer Preview 1
Selecting the View option

Find Preview pane option in the upper-left of the toolbar and click on it. Refer to below image:

File Explorer Preview 2
Selecting the Preview pane option

The Preview pane will be highlighted and is now activated. Navigate the File Explorer to a folder that has documents you’d like to preview. When you select a file, you will see its preview thumbnail in the right side of the window. See following image:

File Explorer Preview 3
The results of Previw pane option displayed on the right

Accessing the Details Pane

File Explorer also has a related feature called Details Pane. To turn it on, click View in the Explorer menu bar, then click the Details pane option in the toolbar (it’s right below the Preview pane option). Refer to below image:

File Explorer Preview 4
Selecting the Details pane option

When you highlight a file with Details pane turned on, you will see a tiny thumbnail (for applicable file types) and some details about the file, such as its size, date created, date modified, etc. in the right portion of the window. See following image:

File Explorer Preview 5
The results of Details pane option displayed on the right

To return to the normal view of File Explorer, first, you have to click on View, then, either click the Preview or Details pane option depending on which one is highlighted.

You also have other options under the View tab to see your contents; like the size of your icons; extra large, large, medium and small, as well as by list, details, tiles and content.

Keyboard Shortcuts

It’s also possible to quickly toggle the Preview and Details panes using keyboard shortcuts. First, open File Explorer, then use the below shortcuts:

  1. Press Alt+P to open or close the Preview pane
  2. Press Alt+Shift+P to open or close the Details pane

That its. You have successfully explored two seldom used options of the File Explorer in Windows 10.

I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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Author: Raymond

I am Raymond Oglesby, an Information Technology (IT) specialist with 30 years in the field. I have taught Microsoft Applications and troubleshot computers in 15 countries and many States. My career was focused on mainframes and desktops from application development to implementation. I have written hundreds of programs for various architectures. I decided to start a blog to share my knowledge and experiences with you. I plan on updating this blog at least twice a week about smart phone apps to Windows. Please feel free to leave a Comment or Tweet. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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