A Trick to Sort Files and Folders by Importance

Windows lets you sort files by name, extension, date of creation, size, and all manner of criteria. But nowhere does Windows have a built-in sort that puts the most important files and folders at the top of a directory. But you can do an automatic importance sort with a little trick.

When you create a directory or save a file that you know is destined for greatness, make the first character in its name an exclamation mark. Windows and almost all programs put an exclamation point above any other ABC characters or punctuation when sorting alphabetically in ascending order.

Some important files are more important than others. Mark those with double exclamation points.The only exception is a space, which precedes the ! in an ASCII alphabetical sort. That lets you create a hierarchy of the most important of the important by starting those horribly important files with “! !” The two exclamation points separated by a space will trump any filename starting with only one exclamation point.



  1. Ziggy

    December 12, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Halleluiah, at last I can move from madness to sanity! Thanks Ron! My method of madness was to call a folder 0 – Whatever. Adding extra zeros allowed for important folders to be ranked in order of zeroes added, but I was unable to achieve the alphabetical order which I so desired.

    Long live the exclamation mark !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Brian Burgess

    December 12, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Yep. This is a great tip from Ron. I would use zeros in some of my folders too. But I never thought of using exclamation marks.

    Awesome tip Ron!

  3. Ron White

    December 12, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Not to mention that an exclamation point means something is important. And I like the way they pretty much resolve into a vertical line that makes their appearance subtle despite the urgency implied.

    Yes, I do like exclamation points. Glad you and Ziggy like them too.

  4. Alan

    December 12, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Terrific tip! Is it safe to say that if I wanted to take it to three levels then three exclamation marks wil be at the top?

  5. Ron White

    December 13, 2011 at 1:25 am

    Three exclamation marks! Four! Five! There’s no limit. Knock yourself out, Alan.

  6. Shirley Cornwell

    December 14, 2011 at 8:48 am

    !!WOW! There is always some neat things to learn. Thanks for sharing.

    • Steve Krause

      December 15, 2011 at 11:09 am

      Our pleasure @Shirley.

      Welcome to our site!

  7. abhishek

    June 15, 2012 at 6:30 am


  8. Pete

    December 3, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    I simply put 0. or 1. in front of any directory I create.

    0.Really good photos
    1.Junk photos

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