How to Show or Hide Preview Pane in File Explorer in Windows 11

The preview pane lets you preview a selected file instantly. Here is how to show or hide the preview pane in File Explorer in Windows 11.

For supported file types, File Explorer tries to show a thumbnail preview. Recently, I wrote a simple guide on how to turn on or off thumbnail previews in Windows 11 File Explorer. In addition to thumbnails, File Explorer will show a more extensive preview on the sidebar when you select the file if the Preview Pane is active. As you can guess, compared to thumbnail, the large preview is beneficial in getting to know what the actual file is.

For example, if you select an image file, File Explorer will show a larger preview on the right sidebar. The good thing is that you can expand the preview pane horizontally to increase the preview window.

As helpful as the Preview Pane is, it is disabled by default so that you have more space to see the files and folder in the File Explorer window. That being said, if you have a larger screen with greater screen real estate to spare, enabling the preview pane in Windows 11 is pretty helpful. After all, you can always resize the File Explorer window to show more files as needed.

So, without further delay, let me show you how to show or hide the preview pane in File Explorer in Windows 11.

Table of contents:

Show preview pane in Windows 11 File Explorer

You can use the File Explorer’s command bar to turn on the preview pane. All you have to do is select an option, and you are done. Here is how to show the preview pane in Windows 11 File Explorer.

  1. Open the File Explorer with “Win + E.”
  2. Click on the “View” option.
  3. Choose the “Show > Preview pane” option.
  4. With that, the preview pane is visible to the right side.
  5. You can close the File Explorer.

Steps with screenshots:

First thing, launch the File Explorer. Being a major Windows application, there are multiple ways to open it. Use the “Windows key + E” keyboard shortcut or click on the “File Explorer” icon on the taskbar. Alternatively, open the Start menu’s power user menu (Win + X) and select the “File Explorer” option.

After opening the File Explorer, click on the “View” option on the command bar appearing at the top. Next, select the “Show > Preview pane” option. You will see a small “checkmark” right before the option name when the option is turned on.

turn on or show preview pane in File Explorer in Windows 11

Once the option is turned on, you will see the preview pane to the right side of the File Explorer. When you select a file, File Explorer will show its preview if the file type is supported.

preview pane in File Explorer in Windows 11

Hide preview pane in Windows 11 File Explorer

To remove, disable or hide the preview pane in Windows 11 File Explorer, follow the below steps.

  1. Open the File Explorer with “Win + E.”
  2. Click on the “View” option.
  3. Choose the “Show > Preview pane” option.
  4. Once turned off, you should not see a checkmark before the option name.
  5. With that, the preview pane is hidden.
  6. You can close the File Explorer.
turn off or hide preview pane in File Explorer in Windows 11

That is it. It is that simple to show or hide the preview pane in Windows 11 File Explorer.

I hope this easy and straightforward how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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