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Windows Explorer Line Spacing in Details View RRS feed

  • Question

  • How do you adjust the line spacing in explorer under Details view?

    There could’ve been something I’ve overlooked, or some setting I mised, but I’ve spent quite some time trying to find a solution. I suppose the main problem is, in Win 7 explorer, I’m only seeing 75-77% of what I used to be able to see in Win XP explorer. [Visible folders: (21/28)*100 = 75, Pixel spacing: (17/22)*100 = 77.2]

    Yes, I did skip Vista. I’ve looked at other (free) file explorers, like ExplorerXP, but I don’t see any point in running two explorers and it doesn’t have any preview function. The biggest issue is I’m not sure how I would incoporate ExplorerXP into the shell, causing it to open when I insert a disc or click on My Computer. ... I hope I just overlooked something about line spacing in explorer.

    Here’s a condensed picture of what I mean. I’m using the classic view and this is the Details view. (I am using custom folder icons in Win XP):




    What’s interesting is when I change the font size from 8 to 12, the line spacing reamains the same, which is great, except everything is also wider. I think using the larger font size might work well when I have a monitor with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, but as it is, I’m at 1920 x 1200. … Now, don’t get me wrong, I know I could resize the window to an extent, but what throws me spending twice as much time trying to find something is that I’m used to moving my mouse to the next folder I plan to open as what I just clicked on is opening. I know it’s habit, and I /could/ get used to the change, but why has something that’s been the same since... I’m not sure, Win 3.1? Win 95? Why does it all of a sudden change? Thankfully the icon size is still the same. You’d think since screen resolutions are getting higher, the icon would be a little bigger, but for me, the point of more resolution is to display more information at a time.

    Update: Another thing that makes this annoyingly inconsistent is that Save/Open dialogs on certain programs /do/ have 1 pixel line spacing in Win 7.

    I’m sorry if I overlooked something, but if there is anything at all to chage the line spacing, whether in the registry, a resource file, or something, please let me know. (What would be nice is if I could run explorer.exe from my XP drive.)

    This is my only real issue. I have no real issues with the start menu or taskbar since I use a custom quick launch toolbar and Rocket Dock.
    • Edited by alh_undefined Friday, August 27, 2010 12:07 AM broken link
    Wednesday, July 29, 2009 5:49 PM

All replies

  • Bump. I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one. This odd spacing makes it so hard for me to find what I'm looking for. And all this white space makes me feel like I'm playing with a child's toy.

    Please Please Please someone find a fix for this!
    Thursday, July 30, 2009 6:02 PM
  • The orientation of the folder has been rotated from landscape to portrait. That is what is creating the additional spacing. I looked in the icons available in the change icon and there are no suitable folder icons in landscape view.

    Even if you change to classic view(yuk), the folders remain in portrait.

    It seems that the folder orientation is changed (from Vista on) to enable the thumbnails of the contents for pictures and such(Aero features). I have not discovered a way to change that yet. Perhaps there is no way to change it.

    Large monitors and Vista graphics were a treat of a change from XP, so it never bothered me.

    Interesting observation.
    The problem with troubleshooting is that trouble shoots back.
    Friday, July 31, 2009 11:22 AM
  • “The orientation of the folder has been rotated from landscape to portrait. That is what is creating the additional spacing.”

    This has no weight, as the dll icons as well as many other icons have the same height as they’ve always had, a maxium of 16 pixels. I’ve designed both icons and cursors, and the size is fixed at 16x16 pixels. Other sizes include 32x32, 48x48, 64x64, and 128x128. I’m not saying there aren’t other sizes, but if you’ve ever been in another explorer, the Vista/7 folders display as they would in XP’s explorer.

    “Even if you change to classic view(yuk), the folders remain in portrait.”

    I’m more than happy to save 50-100 MB of memory for yuk. I understand memory to most people isn’t an issue, but when you’re in a serious program like Photoshop or Cinema 4D, you run the risk of slowing things down more than they should be or being told there isn’t enough memory (which has happened).

    Nevertheless, I thank you for attempting to answer my question. It would be sad to think this would be Microsoft’s reasoning, but you may be right if folder spacing takes the preemience.
    Friday, July 31, 2009 4:37 PM
  • Looks like there are no options at the moment. I hope they agree to fix that at least.
    Monday, August 31, 2009 1:47 PM
  • I hope so also. Another thing I’ve actually noticed on other people’s vista machines, in the classic view, the traditional icon spacing of 1 pixel is kept. So this 6 pixel spacing in the classic view is actually new to Windows 7.
    Monday, August 31, 2009 2:39 PM
  • This seems to have fallen a bit silent, I would however also be very interested in finding a solution to this. As stated, this being a problem in classic mode is new to Windows 7, and only the case in Windows Explorer itself, not file open dialogues and the likes.

    A user on a different forum suggested lowering the value of this registry key:
    Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics\IconVerticalSpacing
    which is by default set to -1125 (twips).

    However, I found that lowering the value only reduced vertical spacing in views from "Medium Icons" upwards. The views that would actually profit from a smaller vertical spacing: "Small Icons", "List", "Details", and "Tiles" are unaffected. They seem to have a new minimal height value which I by now suspect might be hard-coded into Explorer.exe.
    Sunday, November 15, 2009 3:41 PM
  • Strange, i found this thread because I'm searching a way to get the default line spacing of Windows 7. Somehow I managed it to get a smaller line spacing (see screenshot), and I want to the default setting back :-(

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/816807/Explorer_LineSpacing.png
    Saturday, November 21, 2009 3:28 PM
  • “Somehow I managed it to get a smaller line spacing…”
    O, if only we could swap problems! O, if only that “somehow” was a list of what to do to achieve such a great feat! … It sounds like all you may have to do is re-install the operating system, but how nice that would be for someone to examine it and determine what value you changed, where and how.

    Well, I suppose I’ve been getting used to it, (doesn’t mean I like it). I’ve been using Windows 7 Professional, but there are still performance issues I’m not happy with, especially audio and recording (2 blue screens thus far). It also seems inconsistent with Cinema 4D. Going to four views and to another single view, it starts to lag, but going to four views and back to the single view I was just using, back to normal.

    @Anamon: You should be able to get to the same type of icon spacing in the Advanced Appearance window (in classic mode), (not that it helps our problem however).

    Saturday, November 21, 2009 5:35 PM
  • Putting your picture up beside a real Explorer session, I'd say that you've reduced the font size.  The menu fonts, specifically, are smaller than the default Windows 7 font.

    Something to experiment with to get more work on the screen!  Thanks for that!  (Seriously, thanks)

    Edit:  Yes, that's exactly it.

    Do this:

    1.  Close all instances of Explorer (if you don't it's likely to crash).
    2.  Right-click on the desktop and choose personalize.
    3.  Click the "Window Color" icon at the bottom.
    4.  Click the "Advanced appearance settings..." link at the middle-bottom.
    5.  You may want to change all the fonts, but the specific Item font that affects the lines displayed in Explorer is "Icon"

    The font in the image listed above seems to be Tahoma 8 point.  I haven't managed to get the lines in Details view to be quite so close together as in the image though.  Still working.

    -Noel
    Saturday, November 21, 2009 10:39 PM


  • I’m more than happy to save 50-100 MB of memory for yuk. I understand memory to most people isn’t an issue, but when you’re in a serious program like Photoshop or Cinema 4D, you run the risk of slowing things down more than they should be or being told there isn’t enough memory (which has happened).

    Nevertheless, I thank you for attempting to answer my question. It would be sad to think this would be Microsoft’s reasoning, but you may be right if folder spacing takes the preemience.
    alh-

    Memory is very cheap. That is why memory is not an issue. Upgrade your PC to more memory.
    If it is at max already and you're running out of memory in your important application(s), it's time for a new PC.
    Sunday, November 22, 2009 12:19 AM
  • Jack, can you export your HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer subkey from within RegEdit?  I'd love to see if I could find a difference that would both help you get the wider spacing and the rest of us to get the narrower spacing.

    -Noel
    Sunday, November 22, 2009 2:43 AM
  • Memory is very cheap. That is why memory is not an issue. Upgrade your PC to more memory.
    If it is at max already and you're running out of memory in your important application(s), it's time for a new PC.

    It’s true, memory isn’t an issue… to most people. However, I won’t deny I need a whole new system, or at least the motherboard, memory, and processor. I’ve even been looking to get a SSD to go with it in due time. My SLI cards still perform pretty well. … But then I wouldn’t have the money to buy a renewed (student) license for the software that would utilize it, (C4D). … Sorta like a catch-22.

    However, I will say that I actually have been using the Windows 7 default style for a few weeks now. But Areo Glass causes some funny things to happen in C4D’s OpenGL viewports, so I just disabled it.

    Sunday, November 22, 2009 5:42 AM
  • I could not find a way to close up the Details view entries.  Though the choice of fonts and sizes makes some difference, there is space between the lines that's being added.  These settings also seem to affect the registry editor, and going below 9 points causes some difficulties in that app.

    FYI I just noticed that Vista's spacing is between XP and Windows 7, when the same Segoe UI 9 point font is used.  Why does "newer" have to mean "less information-dense"?

    Microsoft, PLEASE provide a way to close up some of this wasted space, for those of us who deperately want to get more work on the screen.

    And while you're at it, please provide a way to completely hide the Explorer bar that contains the Organize  Share with  New folder etc. buttons.  Some of us like the old style menus, which can be used to get all that done.

    More chrome is definitely NOT better if those of us who want to can't turn it off.

    -Noel

    Monday, November 23, 2009 3:10 AM
  • I'm with you guys on that one. Just can't find any reason for all this unused space.... Really annoying..
    Wednesday, November 25, 2009 10:17 PM
  • I, too, would like single spacing in the details pane. 

    Maybe Microsoft thought that more spacing between lines would be user friendly to boomers, who are losing their ability to see close-up.  But as a boomer who has that problem, I would MUCH rather have single spacing in the details pane than have to scroll and scroll to see my files.  I can wear my glasses to see close up, Bill, thank you very much.

    I often check on this thread and others to see if there is any fix for this, to no avail.  Note to Microsoft: in the next service pack, how about letting users select the vertical spacing between their filenames?  It would not kill you to do this.
    Friday, November 27, 2009 11:42 PM
  • Windows made simple:  Only a simpleton could like it.
    Saturday, November 28, 2009 1:53 AM
  • *bump*

    Did anyone manage to find a solution to this? I've been searching for a couple days now and I can't find anything.  I refuse to give up and just "take it".

    Thanks,
    RSO
    newp
    Wednesday, December 9, 2009 10:32 PM
  • Please keep this issue alive..  I have been struggling with this issue now for a week.  Not only is the horizontal spacing ridiculas, the Indent on the folders seems to be less so it's very difficult to view what folder you are in. 

    In the week I've been using WIndows 7 I've gone home with major Eye strain working on the exact same hardware.  Thank god I found a way to eliminate the shadowing they decided to put on all of the desktop fonts!.
    Thursday, December 17, 2009 8:02 PM
  • I fought and fought this issue, hacking the registry, trying all kinds of different settings and fonts, even importing some stuff from an XP system.

    I cannot find a direct way to squeeze out that space, though it DOES seem to be dependent on some of the desktop settings.  I *almost* got a workable solution by hacking the desktop "zoom" setting to a smaller value ("Display" control panel applet, normally 100%, 125% or 150%).  This yielded blue screens and some other unacceptable side effects though.

    For what it's worth the FONT is tied to the Icon font setting in the Window Color and Appearance dialog.

    By the way, from where I sit, the Windows 7 vertical spacing is even larger than Vista's, which in turn was larger than XP's.

    -Noel
    Thursday, December 17, 2009 8:38 PM
  • By the way, have you noticed that they got the spacing right with the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)?  Minimal chrome and nicely spaced line items.  Thanks, Microsoft, for that at least!!!!

    This may prove the Microsoft Engineers have their hearts in the right place, but the Marketeers have driven the changes to Explorer to new lows.  Maybe.

    -Noel
    Thursday, December 17, 2009 8:58 PM
  • Glad to see efforts are still being made. Not to disappoint anyone, but I finally got a chance to install a fresh copy of Windows XP Pro. Things are a lot smoother, as expected, and I made it my default boot. (I like being able to record my line in or anything else without blue screens or level limitation.)

    At least I was able to slim down the borders and title bar in Win 7 through the Advanced Appearance settings (or Window Color and Appearance in 7). Reduced a few font sizes and set them to Tahoma. However, if a certain font is so small (forget which one), it will cause the bar with the organize and burn buttons to shift down a pixel when something is selected. … Also, does anyone know how to remove these buttons, or preferably the whole bar?

    -ALH

    Friday, December 18, 2009 1:46 AM
  • By the way, have you noticed that they got the spacing right with the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)?  Minimal chrome and nicely spaced line items.  Thanks, Microsoft, for that at least!!!!

    This may prove the Microsoft Engineers have their hearts in the right place, but the Marketeers have driven the changes to Explorer to new lows.  Maybe.

    -Noel

    Yes, I noticed that too.  Plus the right side represents what has focus on the left.  Too bad we can't open the file systems with regedit.

    I also agree with your second paragraph.  Marketing did not have a hand in the design of regedit.

    MMC however has gotten progressively worse.  But at least it still auto refreshes.
    Friday, December 18, 2009 3:17 AM
  • Very interesting discussion - I had just spent a few days getting up on Windows 7, and the spacing issue was the tipping point that made me give up on Windows 7 and go back to XP - the combination of seeing 60% of what I used get on the screen plus the continual security blocks and warnings make me less productive than I am without all the new features.

    If this is what I must put up with into order to get a new OS from Microsoft, I'm going to be looking at a Mac. 

    "If you insist on making your system idiot proof, then the only people who will want it are idiots"

    Sunday, December 27, 2009 6:10 AM

  • "If you insist on making your system idiot proof, then the only people who will want it are idiots"


    Or, to expand on Microsoft's own words:

    Your PC made simpler, so simple only a simpleton could like it.
    Monday, December 28, 2009 11:47 PM
  • Hey guys, i've been looking into how to do this (actually i use list view more so i was looking up how to make list view more compact, but i stumbled across this thread as i was doing my searching, so i looked into how to make list view and details view more compact.) with the help of the user "Tweaker" from sevenforums.com, i managed to get it looking like how i wanted list view and details view to look.

    check out this thread: http://www.sevenforums.com/customization/45276-possible-change-list-item-height-spacing.html

    you'll need a program called Resource Hacker to edit a file in windows/system32 called ExplorerFrame.dll


    or am I allowed to just post a link to my edited ExplorerFrame.dll? I'm not sure if Microsoft has rules against that.
    Friday, January 1, 2010 8:28 AM
  • So this confirms it then...  There is no registry value that's going to fix the new and altogether excessive spacing:  It's built right in to the style sheets in the executable code.

    I'm worried that such a change as you and "tweaker" have described will simply either be overwritten at the next Windows Update from Microsoft, or -much worse- that having hacked the ExplorerFrame.dll file it will no longer be recognized and automatically updated by Windows Update, which could leave your system in a future "mixed-up" (i.e., possibly non-functional) state.  

    Neither of those outcomes is good.  Unfortunately I don't know enough to say how Windows Update will handle such a tweak.  Maybe "tweaker" on that other forum could speak to that.

    Hats off to people who can hack at the level of "tweaker" - they really understand how the system is put together.  Thanks for sharing his insight, hanzith

    -Noel

    Friday, January 1, 2010 9:42 PM
  • Your system actually performs better when you run Aero, because the entire desktop is turned into textures and processed by the video card alone.

    When you turn off Aero to use Classic/yuk display, you swich into GDI mode which is painfully memory and resource intensive, and applications have to be 'asked' to re-draw their contents when you drag a window or anything is on top of it.

    Turning off themes in XP saved memory and boosted performance, but in Vista and 7 -- you actually gain performance with the eyecandy (as long as you have a good video card).

    Check out the Engineering 7 blog (blogs.msdn.com/e7) for really details explanations and data.




    If this was helpful, please vote. If it solves the issue, please click Propose as Answer. Thanks!
    Friday, January 1, 2010 11:16 PM
  • noel, that's a very good point. oh well, i guess i'll just have to hope that ExplorerFrame.dll is something that isn't updated very often or if it does screw up i can still copy my old ExplorerFrame.dll and apply any updates. anyhow, if anything happens within the next few updates i'll let you know. it's a new install so no biggie for me, but what would suck is if an update months from now manages to screw things up :) people patch their ExplorerFrame.dll all the time for custom themes, so maybe i'll take a look to see if a lot of those people are having trouble.
    Saturday, January 2, 2010 4:03 AM
  • I want to join in the chorus here expressing grave concern about the wasted space in Details View for File Explorer in Windows 7.  What a step backward!  I chose to upgrade from XP Pro to Win7 to get MORE functionality, not less.  I have hundreds of thousands of files arranged in many, many folders, and I need to access the proper folder quickly without excess up and down scrolling.  More productivity should be the goal, not less!!!

    Hacking a deep .dll is a dangerous way to fix this - that file might be updated from time to time causing critical updates to fail and it would be MUCH better to have a fix from Microsoft.

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010 12:13 AM
  • What I'm having trouble understanding is why a whole generation of Windows work was always based on registry entries - with the right registry tweak you could work around almost any problem.

    Now, by contrast, the UI specifics are becoming "baked-in" to the code.

    I can imagine that someone in the Microsoft software testing department (and/or maybe the support organization) *might* have stated, "Removing all that configurability will reduce Microsoft's costs because every system will just work the same".

    NOT a good reason at all for reducing the value of the product to the users!

    For what it's worth I've gotten used to the Windows 7 UI now, and going back to the older ones seems odd.  But I'd still like the files in Explorer to be more densely listed.

    -Noel

     

    Saturday, August 14, 2010 1:08 AM
  • For this reason alone Windows 7 is a giant step backward in terms of user ergonomics.  Less info on a screen makes for a much less useful computer (I am running a 30" monitor at 2560 x 1600, and it's like I've go to a 20" monitor).  I have wasted an extraordinay amount of time trying to find a solution to this problem.  When I found this thread my only conclusion is: go back to XP? Seeing 30-40% less information is just not acceptable.

    Thursday, August 26, 2010 7:43 PM
  •  Seeing 30-40% less information is just not acceptable.


    Not only that, but Explorer's ongoing tendency to jump things out from under your cursor just as you're about to click on them adds great insult to the injury!

    -Noel

    Thursday, August 26, 2010 9:12 PM
  • Yeah, I tried to look for a solution to the auto sort problem some time ago.

    Sorry about the broken image link.

    Friday, August 27, 2010 12:15 AM
  • After almost a year of using Seven I still have this exact annoyance (among some others) with Seven too. Any developments maybe sorting this out ?
    Monday, September 13, 2010 10:02 AM
  • the line spacing between items is shorter in the start menu, it would be better if the explorer could use at least that line spacing
    Sunday, September 19, 2010 6:45 PM
  • As you can see in the OP, or in your own computer, the icons take up more vertical space in Windows 7 than in XP. If the line spacing were reduced to the XP spacing the icons would be scrunched too close together, probably touching and it would not look good. It's that simple. And for that reason, it's not going to change.
    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 12:28 AM
  • What would be nice would be the option to adjust font size and icon size in details mode. The icon size would affect the amount of white space between lines.
    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 12:38 AM
  • I don't know 7, I tried the RC and decided it was a tuned Vista, so retroed back to XP Pro.

    In XP Pro, you can change the Details view icon size, which is normally 16 pixels, by adding a registry "Value"in:

    HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-xxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxx-xxxx\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

    The x'd string is your user string or whichever user you want to change.  There's a key for each user and a default key.  If you have trouble, get a good free registry editor like Registrar Lite and search for 'WindowMetrics', all of them will come up.  You can change them all if you want.

    Goto that key and create a "New Value" Reg_SZ named 'Shell Small Icon Size'

    Put the size of the icon you want in 'Data'.  It can be anything, I guess, but since 16 is regular size then anything less will squish the icon size and consequently the line spacing.  Another way to reduce line spacing might be to actually change the icon image in shell32.dll in the system32 folder. That's where the explorer shell icons are kept.  You can't change it while logged in but you can copy the shell32.dll file to the desktop, make the changes with Reshacker, then reboot into the repair console and swap them out.  Not sure of the effects of changing the icon though.  There may be some transparent space in the icon you could eliminate by increasing the non-transparent part of the image up to the top and bottom edges of the 16x16 grid.  Then use a shell small icon size of maybe 14.  The icon won't look squished with the modded taller stretched image but the line space will go down some.

    Shell Icon BPP'  value in the same key sets the bit depth: 8, 16, 24, 32

    For best looking icons, set it to 32 so that they can use transparency and all 16million colors

    Again, 7 and Vista may not have these entries or they may in different places.  The 'Icon Size' adjustment in Display Properties (XP) changes a value called 'Shell Icon Size' in the WindowMetrics folder in XP.  If you can't a correlation, you might search 'Shell Icon Size' and find the folder it's occupying in Vista or 7 and then add the Small value there.  Also, if you raise the Small Value up to 32, the next size, the the taskbar will have 32 pixel icons for small and large view.  If you raise it less, the small value stays at 16.  Good luck.

     

    http://www.virtualplastic.net/  here's a good site for exotic treaking of xp like putting a window with an html page in the taskbar and other hacks

    Some of these tricks got messed up with SP3 security lockdown.  

    '

    Sunday, June 26, 2011 1:49 AM
  • I don't know 7, I tried the RC and decided it was a tuned Vista, so retroed back to XP Pro.


    How does your closed-mindedness have anything to do with the price of tea in this Windows 7 forum?

    Here's something that actually IS pertinent to Windows 7, however:

    The free ClassicShell utility's ClassicExplorer feature now allows you to directly set the vertical spacing of the items in the Navigation pane (tree view).  I asked about whether there are plans to also allow setting the vertical size of the items in the Details view, but apparently that's not something directly doable with an Explorer Extension. 

    The author did, however, point me to some information about how a resource in one of the Windows EXE files could be changed to effect a change of that spacing:

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/classicshell/forums/forum/1049755/topic/4577144

    -Noel


    Wednesday, June 29, 2011 8:35 AM
  • ANSWER FOUND!!!!

    This registry tweak is actually for another option (disable autoarrange) in the explorer options but it also CHANGES THE LINE SPACING!!!!!

    For XP line spacing to work the properties of the folder should be "General" and there should be no spaces in the name of the parent folder.

    Go to http://www.winhelponline.com/blog/disable-auto-arrange-folders-windows-7/ and download 'disable-auto-arrange.zip'. This will add the option to disable autoarrange to your right click menu in explorer but something in the settings also changed my line spacing.

    Back up your registry; there is an undo file included in case you want to remove it.



    • Edited by Jamesdensley Wednesday, December 19, 2012 6:10 AM
    Wednesday, December 19, 2012 4:50 AM