Control Panel: Category view vs. Icon view

By | September 15, 2017
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Control Panel: Category view vs. Icon view

This tip works in Windows 7, Windows 8.1,  and Windows 10

Many times when we write a tip, we’ll write about using Control Panel and switching to “Large icon view” or “Icon view” rather than category view. It just dawned on us, that we’ve never covered the difference, and why using Icon view is best for most users, even though Category view is Windows default view.

Cloudeight InfoAve Windows Tips & Tricks
Above: Windows default: Control Panel showing Category view.

Cloudeight InfoAve Windows Tips & Tricks

You can easily switch back & forth from Category view to Icon view (Large icons, Small icons) by clicking on the down arrow next to “View by…” and selecting “Large icons” or “Small icons” (see screenshot above). We prefer “Large icons” just because it’s easier to see, although it does take up more screen real estate.

Below: You can see that in “Large icon” view, you can see each item in Control Panel separately, rather than grouped by category as they are in “Category view”. This makes it easier to find things in Control Panel, especially since everything is in alphabetical order.

Cloudeight InfoAve Windows Tips & Tricks

A Bonus Control Panel Tip!

Perhaps the fastest way to find anything in Control Panel in Category view or Icon view is to use the little search box at the top! See below:

Cloudeight InfoAve Windows Tips & Tricks

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2 thoughts on “Control Panel: Category view vs. Icon view

  1. Margie Paregian

    A Bonus Control Panel Tip! Wow – what a great tip!! I always switch back and forth between all the different views to find what I want depending on what it is – never thought to use “Search Control Panel”. I am now done switching between views and will just begin typing in what I want and it instantly appears – Thank you!!!

  2. Sondra Vannice

    Thank you so much for this great tip about icon view vs category view! And thank you for pointing out that I could search the Control Panel. I had no idea I could search Control Panel and that will make things so much easier!
    This tip made me take a second look at all the settings and options available on Control Panel. I’ve been using Control Panel for years, and I can’t believe I’ve never noticed all the helpful settings and options that are available here. Control Panel is far more helpful than I realized. Thank you!


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