What order do the items in the “New” menu appear? It looks kind of random.

Raymond Chen


When you right-click on an empty space in an Explorer folder and select the New menu item, you always start with Folder and Shortcut, but the rest seems to be a jumbled list of file types.

Microsoft Access Database
Bitmap image
Microsoft Word Document
Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation
Microsoft Publisher Document
Rich Text Document
Text Document
Microsoft Excel Worksheet
Compressed (zipped) folder

The list looks jumbled, but it’s a very specific kind of jumbled.

The items in the New menu are discovered by looking for Shell­New subkeys in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. And a side effect of the way Explorer walks through the registry and collects the results is that they end up sorted alphabetically by file extension.

.accdbMicrosoft Access Database
.bmpBitmap image
.docxMicrosoft Word Document
.pptxMicrosoft PowerPoint Presentation
.pubMicrosoft Publisher Document
.rtfRich Text Document
.txtText Document
.xlsxMicrosoft Excel Worksheet
.zipCompressed (zipped) folder

This behavior is not contractual. It’s just an artifact of the implementation. Maybe it’ll change someday.


Comments are closed.

  • W S
    W S

    But why does it not display the extensions in the menu when you have the “show file extensions” option turned on? The statusbar in 2000&XP displays a help text for folder and shortcut but nothing for the other items. “New” Explorer does not display any menu text in the statusbar.

    Almost on topic: The send to menu sometimes has a bug where some of the menu items are aligned incorrectly. Probably related to menu icon changes in Vista or background enumeration?

  • Avatar
    Nick Allmaker

    New Issue: Change our file extension to .a11
    We need to make sure that our awesome file extension shows up first on the New shell menu in File Explorer. According to Microsoft Executive Raymond Chen, the way to guarantee our awesome file comes up first, we have to come alphabetically before any competitors in order to be first on the list.
    Tags: Competition, Winning, BonusRequest, Sarcasm

  • Avatar
    David Walker

    I’m glad there are third-party editors for the “New Menu”, so I can remove some of these entries.  Why would anyone create a new BMP file by right-clicking an empty space in a folder?  You still need a BMP editor to put anything meaningful in there.  The same is true for a PowerPoint presentation, and an Access database.  
    Although, creating an empty Access database and then opening it will presumably get you the Access program. 
    But if I want to create a new PowerPoint presentation, I will … um… open Powerpoint.

    • W S
      W S

      I prune my “new menu” as well but I still use it to create .txt files all the time and it is faster. You use the new menu when you already have a Explorer window open on the desired folder. New menu->.txt, Rename, Double-click vs Open/switch to Editor, Ctrl+S, navigate to the folder in the save dialog, type name, click OK.

      • Avatar
        David Walker

        Yes, I use the “New” menu to create text files myself… along with Excel and Word files.  There’s really nothing else I need in the New menu.  New contact?  That’s not useful for me.  I don’t have Contacts scattered around in various Windows folders….