Hotkey to Show/Hide Navigation Bar in File Explorer

The File Explorer in Windows 10 includes the keyboard shortcuts to enable or disable the Preview pane and the Details pane. However, there is no such shortcut available to toggle the navigation pane. So let’s see how to overcome this limitation using AutoHotKey.

Hotkey to Show/Hide Navigation Bar in File Explorer

  1. Download AutoHotkey from and install it.
  2. Open Notepad and copy the following lines into it:
    #If WinActive("ahk_class CabinetWClass")
    F8::Send !vn{Space} ; Toggle the navigation pane
  3. Save the file as navpane.ahk
  4. Double navpane.ahk to run it.
  5. Open File Explorer and press F8 to show/hide the navigation pane. It acts as a toggle.
RELATED: See other AutoHotKey-related articles on this site.

The script automates the keystroke Alt + vn{space} to toggle the navigation pane in Explorer.

You can place a shortcut to navpane.ahk to your Startup folder (shell:startup) so that it auto-launches at every login.

Note that the above script works on Windows 10. On Windows 11, the script works if you restore the ribbon UI using one of the methods listed in the article Get Back the Ribbon UI in Windows 11 File Explorer.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

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