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PowerToys File Classification Spec

Figure 1-2

Users can quickly rename and group files.

Authors: Benjamin Leverette and Prudence Phillips

Spec Status: Draft


Elevator Pitch / Narrative

David has recently uploaded thousands of pictures from his camera to his Surface Laptop. Unfortunately, the images all have generic names such as 'IMG_141' instead of labels that he can identify. David downloads the File Classification PowerToy that allows him to create new folders with files that share a label, rename a group of files with a label, or change the name or portion of a name in a group of files to another name.


Like all utilities from PowerToys, the File Classification feature is for power users and developers who are looking to tune and streamline their Windows experience for greater productivity.

Problem Statement and Supporting Customer Insights

Power users need a better way to organize files, from renaming files to creating new folders for similar files. Our PowerToys Consumer Survey received feedback validating the usefulness of a feature that provides such functionality.

Existing Solutions or Expectations

Users currently have to highlight a group of files and right click to rename them. Users must manually create a folder, move files to that folder, and rename them. There are third-party resources that allow users to rename files similarly.

We expect users to install and enable PowerToys for Windows in order to access the File Classification utility.


Design and develop a feature that can rename and group files within an 8 week period.

Definition of Success

Expected Impact: Customer, and Technology Outcomes, Experiments + Measures

Our PowerToys Consumer Survey received participation and feedback from over 250 passionate power users. This feature will give them the ability to rename, group and organize files in a way that makes their virtual library of files more organized and efficient. As interns, we would have 8 weeks to complete the project. Measures of success include:

  • A score of an average of 3.75 stars on a new Consumer Design Satisfaction Survey
  • Installed by 10% of users who have starred the PowerToys Github
  • Uninstalled by less than 30% of users who installed
  • Launched by over 60% of users who installed


Functional Requirements

1. Initial UX/UI

The user must use a shortcut to open the File Classification utility, which opens in the center of the screen and provides options that require input from the user (See Section 2 for information on user options and input). After the user clicks 'Apply', a File Explorer window will appear and allow the user to select a group of files by checking each file or using Shift + directional keys. The user can hit the 'Enter' key or click 'Open' to apply changes to the selected files.

*For a visual example of the UX see Figure 1

*For guidelines on user input see 2.4

2. Rename File Options

2.1. Simple File Rename

  • Renames all user-selected files after receiving a label, which is typed by the user to be the files' new name.
    • Example: If the user types that the label is "C" then selected files named "A" and "B" would be renamed to "C(1)" and "C(2)"

2.2. Folder and File Rename

  • Automates folder creation and movement of user-selected files into the new folder.
  • The user must type in a label, which will serve as the name of the folder and renames the files.
    • Example: If the user types that the label is "Hello" then a folder will be created and named "Hello". The selected files will be moved to the folder and renamed "Hello(1)"...

2.3. Replace by Characters

  • Identifies a group of characters, which are typed by the user, in the names of user-selected files and replaces that group of characters with characters input by the user.
  • Every instance of the characters found in each selected file's name will be replaced.
    • Example: If the user types that "e" should be replaced with "o" then a selected file named "bleed" would be changed to "blood"

2.4. Shared Attributes

  • Labels
    • Used as the name for the new folders created.
    • Used to rename files by completely overwriting the files' current names with the custom 'Label' typed by the user and each file receives a counting number.
  • File Numbering
    • There will be an option to change the format of how the numbers are appended to files' names such as "Label(1)" or "Label_1" or "Label1" in the PowerToys Settings. (See 3 for more on PowerToys Settings)
  • Confirmation
    • After the user selects an option and fills in the required text box(es), they must click 'Apply' for the utility to open file explorer and make the changes, or they can click 'Cancel' which closes the utility without making changes.
  • Guidelines on User Input
    • Only a single option can be applied at a time, so if the user begins to type text for one option, the other options should block input (text area turns grey and the user cannot type in it) unless another option is selected.
  • Shortcut Accessibility
    • Users simultaneously press Ctrl + Alt + F

3. Settings

The PowerToys app will have a settings framework for the File Classification utility to plug into. The settings framework has a UI frame that creates a page for the utility. Its settings will be represented as a json blob with the following features:

3.1. Enable/Disable

  • The user can select to enable or disable the File Classifiation utility's functionality, which initializes or suspends its resource use.

3.2. Custom Configuration

  • Similar to the functionality of a switch or radio button, the user will be able to select options for the numbering format such as "Label(1)" or "Label_1" or "Label1"

Figure 1

Figure 1-1


  • Explore Internship Program limits us to an 8-week window to complete the task.

  • Availability of public API's