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How to Add Column & Settings to All SubFolders in a Folder in Windows

If you have a specific column that you’d like to see in a folder and all its subfolders, you can easily apply the column setting to all folders. Let me show how you can add a column to all subfolder in a folder.

Generally, the Details view is my preferred view type in the File Explorer. Mainly because it is compact and gives you a ton of information about any given file. Moreover, you can easily add additional columns to the details view of a folder to extend the information at glance. For instance, I add a length column to the videos folder to see how long the videos are.

Though the Details view is pretty good. The problem arises when you try to add custom columns to multiple folders. That is, the column is only added to that specific folder. It will not be applied to all the other subfolders in the target folder.

For example, if you have a dedicated video folder that contains several movie and tv show subfolders and set the “length” column on the video folder, the change will no propagate to its sub-folders. Simply put, you have to manually go through each folder and set the length column.

The thing is, you don’t have to do that. You can force File Explorer to apply column settings to all subfolders in a folder. Follow the below steps and you will be good.

Add Columns to All SubFolders in a Folder in File Explorer

Considering how many options File Explorer has, it might be a bit harder for users to find the option. However, it is really easy to apply folder settings to all subfolders.

1. First, open the File Explorer and go to the folder where you want to add the column. Next, right-click on the column heading and select the column you’d like to add.

Note: If you can’t find the column you’ve like to add in the list, click on the “More” option to see a whole lot of column options.


2. Once you’ve added the column, click on the “View” tab and then click on the “Options” button.


3. The above action will open the Folder Options window. Here, go to the “View” tab and click on the “Apply to Folders” button.


4. Click “Yes” in the confirmation window to continue.

That is all. From this point forward, you will see the column added to all the subfolder as long as they are of the same folder type.

Wrapping Up

Keep in mind that the column will also be added to other folders of the same folder type. For instance, if you’ve added the length column to the video folder type, the column will be added to all the folders of the same folder type in your hard drive.

You can change the folder type of any folder. To do that, right-click on the folder, select “Properties”, go to “Customize” tab and select the folder type from the drop-down menu under “What kind of folder do you want?”.

That is all. It is that simple to apply column settings to folders and subfolders in Windows. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.

If you like this article, do check out how to open multiple File Explorer Windows and how to stop File Explorer from grouping files by date in the downloads folder.

6 thoughts on “How to Add Column & Settings to All SubFolders in a Folder in Windows”

  1. Avatar for Prey

    Hello! The problem is it sets *ALL* folders to the customized setting… Duh Microsoft…

    I have several different types on the same drive, videos and music, both are under their own folder off the root of the drive.

    I set the videos & column setting for the root videos folder the way I like, go into Folder Options and apply and everything on the drive is set that way, even the music files. The problem is the same for Music, apply it in folder options and it screws up the video.

    What I’d like to do is set the music for music and videos for video root folders and have Microtard apply the settings to all respective sub-folders including the the root column settings for both and just have the sub-folders under each type format, not the entire drive.
    What am I missing or is Microsoft truly retarded and doesn’t understand this simple, basic need that is ancient…?

    1. Avatar for Bashkarla

      Hi Prey,

      You can optimize a folder for a specific type from its properties. For example, right-click on the Music folder, select “Properties”, go to the “Customize” tab and select “Music” from the “Optimize this folder for” drop-down menu. If you have sub-folders in the Music folder, select “Apply this to sub-folders” checkbox.

      You can do that same thing for videos, documents, and images too.

  2. Avatar for Doug

    When I read your direction on how to do this it was exactly what I had already tried, it didn’t work before reading it or after.

  3. Avatar for sm

    windows is retarded
    in the little box that says “apply to folders” and “reset folders” there should also be “apply only to subfolders”
    this has be a basic inadequacy for decades

  4. Avatar for lou walker

    i have both win10 and win7 on the same hdd.
    i want everyfolder on all drives to have the same layout,
    this works when i’m using win 7, but not win10. i have to continuously rearrange the columns on all the drives practically every time, I open a folder.

    it seems win10 is the culprit, on different PC’s it seems to stuff up differently. I call it ‘RECALCITRANT’

    1. Avatar for lou walker

      it’s me again .
      i better take what i said back, i think i missed something.

      that’s a problem with new operating systems, too many things are different and in different places, after all that you will need to remember everything all over again, and again.
      Thanks for the help.

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