Windows 10’s File Explorer offers many options for adjusting the display of your files. However, if you open a folder and make changes using File Explorer’s “View” tab, the customizations will only apply to that folder. This means you need to repeat this process for each folder, which can be time-consuming if you have many of them.

A much quicker way to customize how your files appear is to change the default views in File Explorer’s folder templates. The changes you make will apply to all your existing folders as well as any new ones you create in the future.

In Windows 10, File Explorer has five folder templates:

  • Documents
  • Pictures
  • Music
  • Videos
  • General Items

When you create a new folder, Windows automatically applies a template based on the folder’s location. As you fill the folder with files, Windows might change the template to a more appropriate one. For example, when you create a folder in the Documents library, Windows automatically applies the Documents template to it. However, if you later fill the folder with all image files, Windows will change the template to Pictures. When folders have many different types of files, Windows typically applies the General Items template. You can see which template a folder is using by right-clicking the folder, selecting “Properties”, clicking the “Customize” tab, and looking at the template shown in the “Optimize this folder for” option.

By default, the templates’ folder views are optimized for the type of files they contain. For instance, when a folder uses the Pictures template, all the image files have large icons that display thumbnail views of the pictures and graphics in those files. In contrast, the Documents template uses the default layout of “Details”, which shows when each file was last modified, the type of file, and its size.

If you do not like a template’s default folder view, you can change it. For example, you might change the Pictures template so that image files have larger or smaller icons. Or, you might modify the Documents template so that the default layout is “List” rather than “Details”.

To customize a folder template, follow these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Select a folder that uses the template you want to change.
  3. On the “View” tab, customize the folder so that it appears the way you want it to look.
  4. Click the “Options” button and choose “Change folder and search options”.
  5. Switch to the “View” tab.
  6. Select the “Apply to Folders” option.
  7. Click “OK”.

All existing folders that use the template you customized will now have the desired changes. Plus, any new folders based on that template will include the modifications.