How Crazy Can It Get?

How to set up and use Send To

Have you ever wished you could click on a file and choose which program will open it instead of the default program? For example, when you click on a picture, instead of opening in the default viewer, you could edit it in a different image program? This tip will show you a way to accomplish this.

This tip is actually general purpose, and I’ll make it short this time. I promise!

First, open Windows File Explorer.

Did you know that you can type some folder names right into the address bar? Vista will recognize many of them such as “documents”, “pictures”, “videos”, “music”, “favorites”, and “links”.

In this case type “sendto” as shown below:


Then type in “Enter” on your keyboard. File Explorer will open up the SendTo folder as shown here:

 sendto folder

Now you can drag and drop or cut and paste shortcuts for your applications into this folder. You can cntl-drag them right off the Start Menu or copy them from there and paste them into this folder. The ones I have are shown above. These items will now appear on the context menu when you right click a file and move to and hover over the “Send To” choice. 

Some applications add their own context menu (right click menu) items that you can use also. So, it is up to you if you want to add those applications to this menu as well. If they do they might only show up for certain file types – not every file type. Send To is for everything!

So what’s this good for? Normally, when you click on an image or photo file the default application opens. You can, however, right click on the file and “Send To” another application such as Paint to edit an image instead of just viewing it. Or my SQL file can be sent to Notepad for an easy edit. I sometimes like to send Rich Text Documents to WordPad instead of Word because it is something quick and easy, and it opens faster. Try it. You’ll like it.

Anyway, you can right click on any file and use Send To. Here is what the context menu looks like when you right click on an image file:

Sendto Context Menu

Right click the picture, then hover over “Send To” to open the next menu. Now click Paint and the picture opens in Paint. This is just an example. Paint could also be or Photoshop or just about any application that allows you to drop a file onto it when it is open or onto its shortcut.

I already know this example shows redundant functionality to Vista, but it works on any version of Windows, as well as Vista, that may not have tools built in. And the built in Vista tools might not do what you want. For example, some programs might not remove red eye, but they can add text anywhere in the image and add callouts or do layers or change file formats. The built in tools might not be able to do everything you need.

I discovered this feature while working with Oracle *.sql files and the like. These SQL files are basic text files, but an application might not be registered for this file extension (so clicking on it will display the “Windows cannot open this file” dialog) or it might be registered to an app like SQL Developer or Visual Studio which takes a long time to load. So, this tip shows how you can divert your file to another application easily for viewing or basic editing or whatever.

There are more tricks you can do with this. But I removed some of my targets for the screen captures to make it easier. You can add targets like Documents, specific folders, and indeed the “SendTo” folder itself. Imagine clicking on Start then all programs to a certain program. Now just right click the program and hover over “Send To” and then pick sendto on the next menu! that installs this program in the sendto menu!

Anyway, I’ve used this tip for every version of Windows since Windows 95, and thought this would be a good thing for you to know too.



4 responses

  1. Greg

    Good tip. As you point out, it\’s great for sending files to various editing programs, but it\’s somewhat superceded by the Open With feature, which remembers a list of compatible editors based on file type. It\’s nice to see that someone else out there has heard of 7-Zip.

    February 18, 2009 at 8:16 pm

  2. Jeffrey

    Hi Greg. that\’s true, but there are some important differences. Firstly, "Open With…" doesn\’t appear for all file types and in every situation.”Send To" does. Firstly and a half, lol, is "Open With" remembers it\’s setting per file type. For example, I have 12 items that can open a plain text file. It remembers these. But if I encounter a new file type , say XYZ,, then "Open With" has nothing, and it may not even be available. Even holding down shift might not make it there. Yet, "send To" still works fine. Secondly, if the “Open With” is there then I have to set it up the first time for each individual file type for each application I want to use to open it. Thirdly, the “Send To” is more like a drop target rather than an open target type operation. Because of this you can “Send To” mail, or directories which “Open With” doesn’t handle well. Fourthly, “Open With” doesn’t work with folders. “Send To” can. And fifthly, one case that doesn’t work well with “Open With” is when you have multiple files selected. For example, programs designed to handle multiple files dropped on them can process all of them. So, Notepad can’t do this, but Notepad++ can. Select 5 text files and “Send To” Notepad++ and it opens them all in separate tabs. Can’t do that with “Open With.”Sixthly, you can have PowerShell or Batch scripts or shortcuts to them in the “Send To” folder. Selected files are passed as parameters, and you can do some interesting things. “Send To” is available when multiple files are selected – doing this with “Open With” – not so much. Maybe. Anyway, I think “somewhat superseded” is a bit premature. And so much for a short post. Did I just write a longer comment than the whole blog itself or is this should this be another blog?? LOL! Anyway, I really didn\’t want to go into all that, but there you go! More than you wanted to know!

    February 18, 2009 at 11:48 pm

  3. Jeffrey

    OK – the comments before this one are in a new blog "Open With" cs. "Send To.". Any new comments in that line of thought should go there, but any new comments regarding this post can go here. That is if anyone is reading this! LOL! Thx.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:28 am

  4. Bob

    well I read it and like the hint. I think its a good way to send things to the right program and never knew that the send to folder could be built up that way, Thanks.

    February 22, 2009 at 1:41 pm

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