Files and Folders

At home you will probably have a lot of information, eg bank statements, utility bills, family photos, on paper which you keep in some sort of filing system whether this be a filing cabinet or a cardboard box containing envelopes stuffed with paper. A computer can be visualised as a large filing cabinet (or cardboard box) which you can structure to make it easier to find the information it holds.

On the computer, information may be stored in a number of places/devices, eg an internal hard disk, a memory stick, an external hard drive, a DVD or CD. All of these can be managed in the same way to make it easier to locate your information.

Internal hard disk

External hard drive

Memory stick

All information on a computer is stored in files. A file can be:

    • a text document created by a word processor,

    • a spreadsheet used for creating tables and doing calculations,

    • a digital photograph,

    • an audio file containing music,

    • a video, and much more.

In order to manage the potentially huge amount of information which a computer can hold, files can be organised into folders. A folder can contain files of different type and can also contain sub-folders so that you can organise information hierarchically.

For example I could have a folder called "Utilities" and subfolders called "Electricity", "Gas", "Phone", and "Water" where I store information about that specific utility supplier. In the example below, the top of the window shows that we are looking at the Utilities folder which is contained in the My Documents folder which is itself contained in the Documents folder. The main part of the screen shows the contents of the Utilities folder, in this case the four sub folders.

To see how to organise folders on your computer see Organising Folders.