Using Property Lists

After you assess your property strategy, you must determine what properties to show in the Windows Explorer UI, and where. There are various locations where properties are displayed in a read-only manner. Property editing, on the other hand, is enabled only in the Properties dialog box. That dialog box can be invoked through either the Edit Properties link in the Preview Pane or the shortcut menu of an item.

The property lists are semi-colon delimited strings that have the following form.


The only flag currently available is shown in the following table.

Flag Description
* Do not show the property in the Preview Pane as instructed in the PreviewDetails registry key value. See the example that follows the next table if that property's value is not set.


After you define a property list, you can store that string in the registry through the standard Shell file association system under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. The following table summarizes the values for the property lists that can be assigned under the registry key for a particular file name extension.

Value Description
FullDetails Properties are displayed on the Details tab of the Properties dialog box. This is the complete list of properties that the file type supports.
PreviewDetails Properties are displayed in the Preview Pane.
PreviewTitle Properties are displayed in the title area of the Preview Pane next to the thumbnail for the item. The maximum number of entries is 3. If the property list contains more than the maximum allowable number, the rest of the entries are ignored.
TileInfo Properties are displayed when the list view is in Tiles view mode. The maximum number of entries is 3. If the property list contains more than the maximum allowable number, the rest of the entries are ignored.
This value was present in Windows XP.

ExtendedTileInfo Properties are displayed for an item when the list view is in Extended Tile view mode.
InfoTip Properties are displayed in an infotip when a user hovers over an item.
This value was present in Windows XP.

QuickTip Properties are displayed when it is difficult to retrieve properties directly from an item, such as when the item must be accessed over a slow network connection. It is recommended that the properties named here, such as Type or Size, do not require opening the file stream to determine their value.
This value was present in Windows XP.


The example below defines the PreviewDetails value for a .recipe file type, using a ProgID of RecipeKey.

      (Default) = Recipe File
      PreviewDetails = prop:*System.Title;*System.Author

As explained in the Shell file association topic, file associations can be described for the most specific to the most general form. The most specific form is the single file name extension and the most generic form is a key that applies to all files and file folders. Between those two extremes, you can also define a PROGID that groups a set of file name extensions together (for instance, .jpg and .jpeg types grouped as jpegfile). When you define property lists, you should define them for ProgIDs or, in some cases, specific file name extensions. Avoid relying on broad entries such as the AllFileSystemObjects key.

Understanding Property Handlers

Using Kind Names

Initializing Property Handlers

Registering and Distributing Property Handlers

Property Handler Best Practices and FAQ