File Freedom: A Brief File Freedom Tutorial

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by Bruce Henry

This tutorial briefly describes the File Freedom environment and what it offers. More complete information is found in the context-sensitive online Help.

File Freedom provides two different methods for file handling. Described first is Drag And Drop file management with which most users will be familiar, and an alternative file management method which is described after. Both of these methods are available at all times and require no setup.

File Freedom uses a split screen which divides the current files source into two views: Directory Tree view and Files view. These two windows both contain different views of the same drive - the Directory Tree view being a graphical view of the source drive directory tree structure while the Files view is limited to a single directory on that drive. This allows somewhat easier movement between sub-directories. Folders in the Tree view can be double-clicked to open that folder in the Files view. This provides ramdom access to the different subdirectories. Folders in the Tree view can also be closed with a single click to collapse the tree without disturbing the files displayed in the Files view. In the Files view, double-clicking on a sub-directory will open that sub-directory in the Files view but limits movement up or down in that window to one level at a time.

The divider that separates the two windows can be adjusted either left or right.

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As mentioned, these two windows both contain different views of the same drive, which is referred to as the "Source" view. There are two status bars located across the bottom of the File Freedom window. The "Source" is indicated in the upper Status Bar and the "Destination" is indicated on the lower Status Bar. The "Destination" is the default target drive/directory path for all file movement operations. Although it is not necessary to preset the Destination when using Drag and Drop, it is helpful to understand its usage. The Destination is set first by moving to a drive/directory and pressing the "Set Destination" button (F7). Then a Source view can be chosen after the Destination is set. It is simple to display files in the Destination drive/directory by swapping the Source with the Destination (F8). The Destination view is used with both file management methods, for instance when files have been Dragged and Dropped, the Destination is changed to reflect the target of the drop. By simply swapping Source and Destination (F8), the files in the target directory can be examined. When using the alternative method, the destination becomes the target of the operation automatically. A Drive bar with pushbuttons for each drive is also always displayed above or to the side of the windows. These can be opened into the Source view with a single click.

Drag and Drop File Management

Drag and Drop file management is fast and easy. Selected files can be dragged to a Drive Letter Icon by holding down the right mouse key, and dropped on the desired destination drive. A dialogue will then appear that will allow a choice of sub-directories on that drive as well as a chance to specify the operation.

IMAGE - Drag and Drop screen

Files may also be dropped onto directories visible in the Directory Tree window (described above). The default operation is to Move files, but this can be changed to Copy by holding down the Control key before releasing the right mouse button. If the desired operation is to Zip a group of files, or Unzip a file to a destination, these options are available when the Drag and Drop dialogue appears after the files are dropped onto the Drive Icon. The Drag and Drop Dialogue also allows the user to select the sub-directory on the drive chosen, or to enter a path for a directory not yet created in the case of copy or move operations. One important point to remember is that the drag operation will proceed differently depending on whether the mouse pointer is or is not over one of the selected files when the drag operation is started. If it is not over a selected file, the file underneath the mouse pointer will be acted on instead of the selected files. This allows the user to operate on single files without selecting them. If the mouse pointer is over a selected file, the entire group of selected files will be operated on.

An Alternative Method

File Freedom's alternative method is based on the concept of Source and Destination file movement.

IMAGE - Alternative Copy screen

Using Copying a file(s) as an example:

A destination is chosen for the file movement by moving to the drive and/or directory desired. Click on the destination button (or press F7) and the destination is set. Then, move to the drive/directory where the file(s) are stored that must be copied. Highlight the files and press the copy pushbutton (or press Control C). A dialogue appears with some options that can be ignored for this example. Click on the "OK" button. Simple as that!

It must be remembered that all file movements, whether it is copying, moving, zipping or unzipping, will go the Destination directory, unless this path is edited at the time of the operation. To copy files to the same directory, but with a different name, simply make the destination the same as the source (press F7) and change the file name in the copy dialogue. A typical Copying files example: Imagine that you are in F:\TEMP and want to copy files to a new destination (E:\NEWDEST) but the current destination is G:\WHATEVER :

  1. Set Destination the same as current Source (F:\TEMP) by pressing F7.
  2. Change Source to desired Destination (E:\NEWDEST)
  3. Swap Source and Destination (F8) (Source returns to F:\TEMP and Destination becomes E:\NEWDEST)
  4. Mark files
  5. Do operation

Alternatively, you could:

  1. first swap source and destination (F8), (Destination now is F:\TEMP and Source is G:\WHATEVER)
  2. then choose the new destination (E:\NEWDEST) as Source,
  3. then flip source and destination again (F8).
  4. mark files
  5. do operation

That's all there is to it! As mentioned, more complete information is available in the online Help. If you have any comments on the program or this tutorial, I would be glad to hear from you.