Posts Tagged ‘explorer’

How to open the containing folder

Opening a window showing the contents of a folder and highlighting a specific file in the folder can be a pretty useful action, especially for applications that show or list files to the user, as it allows for the user to quickly get to a file and manipulate or open it via. the operating system’s shell. The most popular implementations of this features are, perhaps, in web browsers; it’s referred to by a couple of different phrases, “Open Folder” in IE7, “Show Containing Folder” in Safari, “Open Containing Folder” in Firefox.

Anyways, I wanted this feature for something I’m working on in Windows and it’s actually pretty simple to implement, but it took me a while to find information on it. There’s no Win32 function, instead, explorer has to be run with a command-line switch. Switches and accompanying examples can be found here.

So the command to open a containing folder would be:

explorer /select, <file_path>

Here’s a bit of C# code (it should be simple to do this in almost any language):

System.Diagnostics.Process p1 = new System.Diagnostics.Process();
p1.StartInfo.FileName =
p1.StartInfo.Arguments =
"/select, \"" + <file_path> + "\"";
p1.StartInfo.WorkingDirectory =
p1.StartInfo.UseShellExecute =

Of course, replace <file_path> with the file you want highlighted.

Based on the info here, as well as the page linked to above, it seems this should work on all versions of Windows since Win 95.