How to perfectly sort pictures in folders in Windows

Here's a sneaky way to add better sorting of pictures on File Explorer with any version of Windows.

Sorting pictures in Windows

Here is the issue, we don’t only have tons of pictures of our own, but we also download many images from the internet. This could be from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, and many other social networks, even from those sent to us via emails. And let’s face it, we don’t spend the necessary time sorting all the images and using folders, we dump them all in a single place, which can quickly get messy.

Although Windows provides us with a default view to sort files and folders, these settings are far from perfect. As such I’ll show you a few ways in which you can organize pictures and jump your latest acquisitions to the top of the list for faster access.

Windows by default sorts images files in folders alphabetically and with an ascending order, meaning that if you download new images you’ll have to look through out tons of pictures and waste a lot of time. For example, if you downloaded a picture from Facebook can be even more complicated, as trying to do a search will be a nightmare because of the file name isn’t descriptive.

Yes, you can right-click on an empty space in the folder and sort things by date, type, size, and several other default options. But what happens when the pictures you downloaded from Facebook were taken last year or the camera had set the wrong time? The picture will get buried once again into the folder. Again not really an efficient way to sort.

Now if you look closely on the image properties, you’ll notice that there are different times stamped on it: The dated in which the file was created, the date it was modified, and the date it was accessed.

File properties in Windows

The first two won’t work for efficient sorting, because downloading the image at a particular time to your computer, it’s not the date when it was created, and date modified, well… You’ll first need to find the picture, open, edit, and save the file for the date to change. But the date “Accessed” is a setting we can use for sorting as moving, copying, or downloading files from another location will change the stamped date. To change the sorting pattern in a Windows folder do the following.

Better sorting of pictures on Windows

  1. Right-click inside of a folder, select Sort by and click More.

    Sort by folder settings

  2. On Choose Details, scroll down and check Date Accessed and Date Modified.

  3. Click OK.

    Choose Details properties

  4. Right-click inside the folder, select Sort by, and click Date Accessed to get a better sorting of pictures by bumping recent pictures to the top.

If you haven’t moved or downloaded new images, perhaps using “Date Modified” can help you better.

To make things even a bit more interesting, right-click an empty space in the folder, go to Group by, and select Date Accessed, this will also help you to group all your pictures into a sort of collections, which works when you’re constantly adding pictures to the folder.

The beauty of Windows is that you can do a lot of things in different ways to obtain the same result. Default sorting seems to need a bit of work in my opinion, but if you have an easier way to sort images and/or files, tell us in the comments below.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].