Create or delete a folder in a list or library

Folders provide one way to group and manage content in a library or list. If folders are enabled, you can add folders to most types of libraries and lists. Folders are also an important way to ensure efficient access to items in libraries or lists that have many items.

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Learn more about folders in libraries and lists

The following sections discuss the benefits of using folders in libraries and lists.

Organizing items into folders for ease of use

If a library or list contains many items that can be grouped in a particular way, you can use folders to organize content within the library or list. Good examples of groups include projects, teams, departments, product categories, age ranges, alphabetical listings, and alphabetical subgroups (A-C, D-F, and so on). Folders can help people to scan and manage files and items in a familiar way.

Screenshot of a standard document library in SharePoint. This library contains three folders and one additional file

By default, a library or list with folders enabled displays folders in the default view of the library or list without any filters. This is useful because users can choose the appropriate folder when they insert new items. Displaying all the folders also makes it less likely that items will be incorrectly added outside the foders in the library or list. Although you can reorganize items into different library folders by using the standard Windows Explorer folder, there is no automatic way for users to move items between folders in a list.

 Note    A library or list view can be defined, Sorting as-is, in which case the folders do not display first before any items in the view. You may not want to use this view sort option if you want users to easily locate the correct folder.

Although library or list folders do not display in the Documents section of Quick Launch, the site owner or a user with permission to design a site can enable the Tree View, which displays the Site Content section in Quick Launch, and lets you expand, collapse, and easily navigate folders of libraries and lists.

Screenshot of a document library that is displayed in Tree View on the Quick Launch on SharePoint. The Quick Launch has been configured to show Tree View

Depending on your situation, you might also consider using views as well as folders, because they enable content to be filtered, grouped, and sorted in multiple ways. You can "flatten" a library or list view by setting the Show all items without folders option in the Folders section when you create or modify a view in a library or list.

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Organizing items into folders for efficient access

If your library or list contains many items, folders also improve the efficiency of accessing those items. When you create a folder, behind the scenes you are creating an internal index. This internal index is also created for the root folder, or top-level of a library or list. When you access items in a folder, you are effectively using this internal index to access the data.

Even when the total number of items in a library or list is very large, a view of a single folder is at least as fast as a view that filters the total number of items by using an indexed column. In some scenarios, it may be possible to distribute all of the items in a library or list into multiple folders so that no folder has more than five thousand items, which is the default List View Threshold.

It is important to consider the following when you use folders to organize a large library or list:

  • A folder can contain more than 5,000 items, but to avoid being blocked, you may still need to use a filtered view based on column indexes. Bear in mind that if a folder contains subfolders, each subfolder is counted as an item (but not any items in that subfolder).
  • If you choose the Show all items without folders option in the Folders section when you create or modify a view in this library or list, you must then use a filter that is based on a simple or compound index to ensure you don't reach the List View Threshold.

Add a folder to a library

By default, the New Folder command appears in libraries. A library owner or a user with design permissions for the library can determine whether the New Folder command is displayed by changing the advanced list settings.

  1. Navigate to the site containing the library or list for which you want to add the folder.
  2. Click the name of the library on the Quick Launch, or click SettingsOptions button, and then click Site contents, and then look for and click the title of the library you want to add folders to.

 Note    Designers can modify the appearance and navigation of a site significantly. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

  1. In the Ribbon, click the Files tab, and then in the New group, click New Folder.

 Note    The person who created your library may have specified that folders cannot be created in the library. If this is the case, the New Folder command is not available. With the proper permissions, on the Library tab of the ribbon, click Library Settings > Advanced settings, and in the Folder section, make sure that the Yes option is selected.

  1. In the New Folder dialog box, type a folder name in the Name box, and then click Save.


 Notes 

  • To change the folder name later on, select the folder name, and then in the Ribbon, on the Files tab, in the Manage group, click Edit Properties and change the folder name in the Name box.
  • To quickly go to the next level up in the folder hierarchy, in the Ribbon, click the Library tab and then in the Manage Views group, click Navigate Up.

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Add a folder to a list

By default, the New Folder command does not appear in lists. A list owner or a user with design permissions for the list can determine whether the New Folder command is displayed by changing the advanced list settings.

  1. Navigate to the site containing the list for which you want to add the folder.
  2. Click the name of the list on the Quick Launch, or click Settings, click Site contents, and then look for and click the title of the list.

     Note    Designers can modify the appearance and navigation of a site significantly. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

  3. In the Ribbon, click the Items tab, and then in the New group, click New Folder.

 Note    The person who created your library may have specified that folders cannot be created in the list. If this is the case, the New Folder command is not available. With the proper permissions, on the List tab of the ribbon, click List Settings > Advanced settings, and in the Folder section, make sure that the Yes option is selected.

  1. In the New Folder dialog box, type a folder name in the Name box, and then click OK.


 Notes 

  • To change the folder name later on, select the folder name by clicking anywhere on the row but the title link. Then in the Ribbon, on the Items tab (or the Tasks tab in the Tasks list), in the Manage group, click Edit Item and change the folder name in the Name box.
  • To quickly go to the next level up in the folder hierarchy, in the Ribbon, click the List tab and then in the Manage Views group, click Navigate Up.

Display the Tree View (Site Hierarchy) in the Quick Launch

The following procedure requires you to be the owner of the site or a user who has design permission for the site.

  1. Navigate to the site for which you want to display the Site Hierarchy in the Quick Launch.
  2. Click Settings Options button, and then click Site settings.
  3. On the Site settings page, in the Look and Feel section, click Tree view.
  4. On the Tree View page, in the Enable Tree View section click Enable Tree View.
  5. Click OK.

The Site Hierarchy displays in Quick Launch.

Delete a folder in a library or list

 Important    Deleting a folder deletes the folder and any files or subfolders in it. Be careful when you delete a folder. Consider moving or archiving the contents of the folder before deleting it. Depending on how your site was configured, you may be able to recover the folder and its contents from the Recycle Bin.

  1. Navigate to the site containing the library or list for which you want to delete the folder.
  2. Click the name of the library or list on the Quick Launch, or click Settings Options button, and then click Site contents, and then look for and click the name of the library or list.

 Note    Designers can modify the appearance or navigation of a site significantly. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

  1. Select the folder you want to delete by clicking anywhere on the row but the title link.
  2. In the ribbon, on the Files or Items tab, in the Manage group, click Delete Document or Delete Item.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Foundation 2013, SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E1 & E2), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Small Business, SharePoint Online Small Business, SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise, SharePoint Server 2013 Standard