How to change spacing in Windows 11 File Explorer

File Explorer is one of the many elements in Windows 11 that is getting a revamp. Microsoft is mostly focused on usability and UI enhancements in the default file manager of its operating system.

And if you look closely, you may notice that line spacing in File Explorer has been modified a bit. The file manager has now implemented a new system called Compact View that decreases the spacing between items, letting you see more at once.

If this is not your cup of tea, however, then this tutorial is for you!

File Explorer Compact View

Change spacing in Windows 11 File Explorer

In most cases, this change is fitting. The idea here is to provide better use of your screen real estate and let you see more items at once. But this is still a change. And those of you who seek the familiarity of Windows 10 will find this frustrating.

Fortunately, resting the classic space in the File Explorer on Windows 11 is pretty straightforward. There are two ways go about it. We’ll take a look at both.

Restore File Explorer spacing via the View Menu

This is the quickest way to get the job done. Windows Explorer lets you tweak the view whenever you open a folder. And multiple choices are available for you here, like show different sizes of icons, list or detail the contents, or display them as tiles.

These are housed in what is called the View menu at the top of the screen. It is denoted by horizontal lines, and is hard to miss.

File Explorer Spacing Tutorial

Opening it shows a new option in the form of Compact view. Simply ensure that this option is selected if you want to decrease the space between items in File Explorer. If you want Windows 11 to increase the line spacing, then unselect it.

Change File Explorer spacing from Folder Options

Another way to increase or decrease the space between items in File Explorer is via the trusty old Folder Options menu that has been used for ages to modify key settings in the default file manager of the Windows operating system.

You can use it to increase or decrease the space between items by following the steps below:

  1. Launch Windows 11 File Explorer.
    File Explorer Spacing Tutorial
  2. Click on the ellipsis button atop the screen, and select Options.
  3. When the Folder Options interface opens up, go to the View tab.
    File Explorer Spacing Tutorial
  4. Untick the box that says Decrease space between items (compact view).
  5. Click Apply, and then OK.

That should make the spacing between files in File Explorer go back to the classic style. If you want them decreased again, then just make sure that the above option is selected.


File Explorer is a cornerstone application in Windows. And luckily, one of the more customizable ones. While this new line spacing goes neatly with the overall look of Windows 11, tweaking it back is simply a matter of clicking on the right buttons.