Create or delete a folder in a list or library

When you create a new folder in a SharePoint list or library, you provide a way to group and manage your content. You can add folders to most types of SharePoint libraries and lists. Here's an overview of how to create or delete a folder in lists and libraries.

Create and add a new folder to a list or library

By default, you use New Folder command to create a folder in lists or libraries. A list or library owner or a user with design permissions can determine whether the New Folder command is displayed by changing the advanced settings.

  1. Navigate to the site containing the library or list where you want to add the folder.

  2. Click the name of the list or library on the Quick Launch, or click Settings Office 365 Settings button , and click Site contents, and then click the title of the list or library you want to add folders to.

    Note:  Designers can modify the appearance and navigation of a site significantly. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

  3. In the Ribbon, click the Files tab, and then in the New group, click New Folder.

    Image of the SharePoint Files ribbon with New Folder highlighted.

    Note:  If the New Folder command is not available, you can turn it back on with the proper permissions. On the Library or List tab of the ribbon, click Library Settings or List Settings, and then click Advanced settings. In the Folder section, make sure that the Yes option is selected for Make "New Folder" command available.

  4. In the New Folder dialog box, type a folder name in the Name box, and then click Save. You can optionally invite people to share the folder.

    Share dialog box

    See Manage permissions for a list, library, folder, document, or list item for more info.

  5. Click Create when you're done.

Notes: 

  • To change the folder name later on, click the ellipses ... , click the ellipses ... in the dialog box, and then click Rename. Change the folder name in the Name box.

  • To quickly go to the next level up in the folder hierarchy, in the Ribbon, click the Library tab and then click Navigate Up.

Delete a folder in a library or list

Important: When you delete a folder, it deletes the folder and any files or subfolders in it. Be careful when you delete a folder. Consider moving or archiving the contents of the folder before deleting it. Depending on how your site was configured, you or your administrator might be able to recover the folder and its contents from the Recycle Bin.

  1. Navigate to the site containing the library or list for which you want to delete the folder.

  2. Click the name of the library or list on the Quick Launch, or click Settings Office 365 Settings button , and then click Site contents, and then look for and click the name of the library or list.

    Note: Designers can modify the appearance or navigation of a site significantly. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

  3. Click the ellipses (...) on the row you want to delete, and click Delete or Delete Item. If you don't see Delete, or Delete Item, click the ellipses (...) on the dialog, and then click Delete.

  4. In the confirmation dialog, click Ok or Delete.

    List delete confirmation dialog box with OK highlighted

If a library or list contains many items that can be grouped in a particular way, you can use folders to organize content within the library or list. Good examples of groups include projects, teams, departments, product categories, age ranges, alphabetical listings, and alphabetical subgroups (A-C, D-F, and so on). Folders can help people to scan and manage files and items in a familiar way.

Dialog box of sharepoint document library with several files in it.

A library or list with folders enabled typically displays folders in the default view of the library or list without any filters. This helps users choose the appropriate folder when they insert new items. Displaying all the folders also makes it less likely that items will be incorrectly added outside the folders in the library or list. You can easily reorganize documents into different library folders by using the Open with Windows Explorer command available on the library ribbon. Although you can reorganize items into different library folders by using the standard Windows Explorer folder, there is no automatic way for users to move items between folders in a list.

Although library or list folders do not display in the Documents section of Quick Launch, the site owner or a user with permission to design a site can enable the Tree View, which displays the Site Content section in Quick Launch, and lets you expand, collapse, and easily navigate folders of libraries and lists.

Screenshot of a document library that is displayed in Tree View on the Quick Launch on SharePoint. The Quick Launch has been configured to show Tree View

You might also consider using views as well as folders. Views enable content to be filtered, grouped, and sorted in multiple ways. You can "flatten" a library or list view by setting the Show all items without folders option in the Folders section when you create or modify a view in a library or list.

For a comprehensive look at libraries, see Introduction to libraries.

If your library or list contains many items, folders also improve the efficiency of accessing those items. When you create a folder, behind the scenes you are creating an internal index. This internal index is also created for the root folder, or top-level of a library or list. When you access items in a folder, you are effectively using this internal index to access the data.

Even when the total number of items in a library or list is very large, a view of a single folder is at least as fast as a view that filters the total number of items by using an indexed column. In some scenarios, it may be possible to distribute all of the items in a library or list into multiple folders so that no one folder has more than 5,000 items. This is the default List View Threshold as set by your site administrator.

It is important to consider the following when you use folders to organize a large library or list:

  • A folder can contain more than 5,000 items, but to avoid being blocked, you may still need to use a filtered view based on column indexes. If a folder contains subfolders, each subfolder name is counted as an item, but not any items in that subfolder.

  • If you choose the Show all items without folders option in the Folders section when you create or modify a view in this library or list, you must then use a filter that is based on a simple or compound index to be sure you're not over the List View Threshold (typically 5000 items in a view).

See Upload files to a library for more information.

See Also

SharePoint Glossary

Manage permissions for a list, library, folder, document, or list item

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