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by Ray DeCosta

Q. When I want to save a file, my program makes me click through folder after folder to find the one I'm looking for. What can I do to fix this problem?

A. This annoying situation happens when a program fails to take user preferences into account (or buries the particular setting deep inside a complex set of menus). Either event shows a lack of thoughtfulness on the part of the software company for neglecting this simple, but useful, feature.

The first step is to check if your program will allow you to specify the folder for your documents. This folder is usually called a "default directory" or "default folder" - the terms mean the same thing. The best way to do this is to Google the name of your program together with "default directory". If you put "default directory" in quotes, you will get a more focused response and a more relevant set of results. Google will look for those two words together rather than bringing you all the entries that contain "default" and "directory" as separate words.

If that approach fails, turn to making your own Shortcut. In Windows Explorer (also called Computer or My Computer) find the folder in which you want to store your documents. Right-click it, then Send To -- Desktop (create shortcut). Then either Cut-and-Paste or drag your new Shortcut off to the folder where your program always takes you. The next time you want to save something, just click the Shortcut and it will take you to your desired folder.

Published: Courier 4/3/11 - Page 5C