How to Select Multiple Files in Windows

Select multiple files or folders grouped together

What to Know

  • Press Ctrl + A to select all files in a folder instantly.
  • Select first file > Press Shift > Select the last file to highlight all consecutive files.
  • Select non-consecutive files by pressing Ctrl and choosing the specific files.

This article will show you the basics of selecting multiple files in Windows that are bunched inside a folder or on the desktop.

How Do I Select Multiple Files at Once?

You have to select files and folders before you can cut, copy, or move them elsewhere. The fastest method to select all files in a folder is to use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + A. But follow the steps below if you want to choose a specific first and last file in a series and leave out the others.

  1. Select the first file (it will be highlighted in blue) with a single click.

    Selected file in a Windows folder
  2. Go to the last file on the series you want to select. Press the Shift key on your keyboard and select the final file. 

    Selected file in a Windows folder
  3. All files in the series will be selected. 

  4. When the files or folders are not located next to each other, press the Ctrl key and select them one by one.

Select Multiple Files on the Desktop

Selecting consecutive files on the desktop with the Shift key is difficult because you can end up highlighting files you don't need. The Ctrl key is a better option to select the correct files.

  1. Select the first file or folder on the desktop in the batch you want with a single click.

  2. Press the Ctrl key on the keyboard and then select the other files you want in the batch with single clicks.

    Selected files with the Ctrl key on the Windows desktop
  3. Release the Ctrl key when all files are selected.

  4. Selected files or folders will be highlighted.

Select Multiple Files With Only the Mouse

Use a click and drag box to select multiple files by dragging your mouse over them.

  1. Press the left mouse button and without releasing it drag it over the files you want to select.

  2. A blue box will appear as you drag the mouse over the selected items.

    Click dragging to select multiple files
  3. Release the mouse button to highlight the selected items.

  4. Alternatively, press the right mouse button, and without releasing it, drag it over the files you want to select. The context menu will be displayed when you release the mouse button.

    Click and drag with right mouse button
  5. To unselect the selection, click anywhere once.

Select Multiple Files From the Ribbon

The File Explorer ribbon has a couple of menu commands to make selecting multiple files easier without touching the keyboard.

  1. Open the folder with the files.

  2. On the Ribbon, select the ellipsis (See More menu).

  3. Choose Select all to highlight all the items in the folder.

    More icon and Select all in Windows File Explorer
  4. You can also use the Invert selection command to swap the selection and highlight only any of the unselected files.

Select Multiple Files With the Arrow Keys

You can use a combination of the Shift and arrow keys on the keyboard to select files and folders.

  1. Select any file with the mouse or tab button.

  2. Press the Shift button and then use the four navigation arrows on your keyboard to select the files by moving the selection in any direction.

How Do I Select Multiple Files to Copy and Paste?

Follow any of the above methods to select multiple files. Once the files or folders are highlighted, right-click on any of the highlighted files to display the context menu with the file options you can then choose to perform like Copy, Paste, or Move. 


Windows also provides Item Checkboxes in File Explorer. Enable it from File Explorer Ribbon > View > Show > Item check boxes. Item checkboxes can make it easier to select and deselect multiple files on touch screens (or non-touch screens) in whichever order you want.

  • How do I select multiple files in iTunes on Windows?

    You can select songs in iTunes the same way you select files in Windows: Hold down Shift and make your sequential selection, or hold down Ctrl to select non-sequential songs.

  • How do I select multiple files on a Windows tablet?

    To select multiple files in tablet mode, enable Item Checkboxes, then tap the box next to each item you want to select. Tap the box at the top of the folder to select all files, then tap the ones you want to deselect.

  • How do I copy and paste multiple files on Windows?

    To copy and paste on Windows, select the files and press Ctrl+C, then press Ctrl+V to paste. Alternatively, right-click the highlighted files and select Copy, then right-click and choose Paste.

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