Directory Navigation Shortcuts

by Kendall Callas

Several symbols can speed your work when navigating directories in WordPerfect. The "*.*", "\", and ".." symbols are good time savers for intermediate and advanced users of the DOS, Windows, and UNIX versions of WordPerfect.

When you list files in WordPerfect (using the F5/List Files screen in WordPerfect for DOS or the F4/File Open screen in WordPerfect for Windows), you are presented with a directory path that ends with a "*.*" filename specification. These wildcards match the general "8.3" pattern of the FILENAME.EXT structure and mean "all files". As discussed previously in this column (August, 1995, page 5), you may replace *.* with a more specific file pattern, such as *.LTR, *.FAX, or S* to see a narrower set of files instead of all of them. Whenever you see the *.* phrase, you may also type an entry to change to a different directory.

Another symbol useful in navigating directories is the backslash ("\") which represents the "root" directory, the base of the directory tree structure. In WP/DOS, tap F5 (in WP/Windows, tap F4) then \ followed by Enter to see the root directory of the current drive; if it is C:\, you will see your system's configuration files (AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS), system files, and device drivers (and possibly some misplaced documents).

By typing a directory path beginning with the backslash, you are providing a complete (absolute) address with a fixed starting point. In contrast, the double period is a relative movement, "down" one step (towards the root) from the current directory. To move "up", simply type the name of the directory you wish to change to. To move from the \DOCS directory to the \DOCS\SMITH directory, simply tap F5 in WP/DOS (F4 in WP/Windows), type SMITH and press Enter.

WordPerfect for DOS users are familiar with the ".. Parent" symbol on the List Files screen (at the top right). This symbol offers an easy point-and-shoot style of navigation to change to the parent directory the one from which the current directory branches. Simply use the arrow keys to highlight the ".. Parent" symbol, then press Enter twice.

In any WordPerfect version (DOS/Windows/UNIX) you may type the double period ("..") to refer to the parent directory any time you see the *.* pattern. For example, after you tap F5 (in WP/DOS) or F4 (in WP/Windows), if you are in the directory C:\WP51\DOCS, tap the period key twice to replace the entire *.* phrase, then press Enter and you will change to the C:\WP51 directory.

You can save time when changing directories by using the \ and .. symbols in more complex phrases. Let's say you are in the pleadings directory for client Smith (\DOCS\SMITH\PLD for example), and wish to change to the Jones directory: Tap F5 in WP/DOS (F4 in WP/Windows), then type \DOCS\JONES followed by Enter. To move from the Smith pleading directory (\DOCS\SMITH\PLD) to the Smith Letters directory (\DOCS\SMITH\LTR), tap F5 in WP/DOS (F4 in WP/Windows), type ..\LTR and press Enter.

More examples:

From this directory

Tap F5 (in WP/DOS)
or F4 (in WP/Windows),
type this phrase,
and press Enter

To move to

\DOCS\SMITH \ \ ("root")

Copyright (C) 1996 by microCounsel, (415) 921-6850. All rights reserved.

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