How to Sort Files into Folders

This tutorial can help you to learn how to sort your files into folders with a simple drag&drop on DropIt. For example you will be able to organize your photos into dated folders, to organize your documents by file type, to separate your media by tags and much more.

These are only a few of the features offered by DropIt. The program is able to process files with several different actions, but now will be described only some solutions to sort files into destination folders.

If you are new with DropIt, you can start reading How to Start with DropIt and How to Create your First Association. Now will be described some examples with the following structure:

  • the same association name: File Sorting
  • the same rule to match with all files: *.*
  • the same action: Move
  • a different destination folder for each example


Sort images into dated folders:

You can use DropIt to organize your photos into subfolders named with the file date. Do it is simple: you only need to click the “Abbreviations” button available on the right and select the desired date abbreviations.

Selected date abbreviations will be added in your destination field and during process they will be replaced with the correct file date. Some examples of destination folders:


C:\Images\%YearTaken% – %MonthTaken%



Sort files by file properties:

You can use DropIt to organize your files into subfolders named with many other file properties. You can do it with the same previous method. Selected abbreviations will be added in your destination field and during process they will be replaced with the correct  file property. Some examples of destination folders:






Sort music into subfolders named with tags:

You can also use DropIt to organize your mp3 files into subfolders named with music tags. You can do it with the same previous method. Some examples of destination folders:



C:\Music\%SongYear%\%SongArtist% – %SongAlbum%




102 thoughts on “How to Sort Files into Folders

  1. Hi!
    Can abbreviation variables be substringged. For instance 5 first characters of %FileName% or two last characters of %YearTaken% ?

      • I was looking to do something similar to what Jean-Pierre asked. Say I have a folder with a bunch of folders corresponding to TV shows and I want to sort a mixed batch of files of those shows into their corresponding folders. The folder would be like “randomshow> and the file would be randomshow.s01.e01.mp4 for season 1 episode 1 of randomshow. So could I somehow write an association that takes %showtitle%.s*.e*.* or %showtitle%.*.*.* and it would move anything that has the same words before the first . into a folder like c:/tvshows/%showtitle% ?

      • If all files you want to sort have “.sNN.eNN” string at the end (like “.s01.e01”), you could consider to use a destination like this: c:/tvshows/%FileName#c<8%
        Where you use %FileName% followed by "c<8" modifier (info about modifiers are available in the Guide.pdf). This specific modifier removes N characters from the right of the string (in your case ".sNN.eNN" is 8 characters long).

      • is this available now?

        i will tell you my application:

        i am saving files that contain a name for ex: 15210 – Aerial.jpg

        i want to save it in a folder for ex: 15210 – Shopping Mall

        so, i want to be able to grab the first 5 characters from the file name and use them as a subfolder in the destination.

        is this possible now?

        i would love it if you could show me how.

        Thanks so much.

        GREAT application.

      • Yes, it is possible. You can read the pdf Guide to find more info about Abbreviation Modifiers. For your needs you could use a destination like this:
        C:\Images\%FileName#>1,5% – Shopping Mall

    • I added your request in the list of planned features for the future. Note anyway that you can use the Open With action to send files to a program using command line parameters.

  2. You can you please allow us to enable regular expressions on a per-rule basis? I need to use regular expressions but I don’t want to rewrite ALL of my rules. Thanks!

  3. Hey guys, in the %MonthTaken% of the exif / photo section, its not adding a 0 as in 01 02 03, which make filing of the folders / files all wonky. I tried manually putting a 0, but it ends up with 010 and 011 and 012 for the last few months. Any way to fix that?

  4. Any idea why the following folder (Z:\Photos\%YearTaken%\%MonthTaken%\%DayTaken%) gives the following url for an image -> Z:\Photos\YearTaken\MonthTaken\DayTaken?

    DropIt seems to be the answer to my desperate sorting needs, but it also needs to work! 😉

    • DropIt uses the abbreviation string when cannot loads the required value, so it is probable that your image does not have Exif info (“taken” date and time info are stored only in images with Exif info). I decided to use this solution to always give a destination to sorted files, even if some abbreviations are not correctly loaded.

      • The images are taken directly from a SD card used with a Nikon D7000 and they are without any modifications. I also tried pulling the camera model with 0 as result. Both AmoK Exif Sorter and PhotoMove gets the correct information, but the GUI and possibilities of DropIt are so far beyond them that I really prefer using this software. Have you checked that the program can pull Exif info from Nikon cameras (it should really be the same I know, but I still find this strange).

    • Currently DropIt takes date and time info from Windows properties, can you verify if date and time taken for your photos are visible in Windows? In future I’ll improve support to read Exif data directly from files.

      • All the data is there, but date created and date modified are both based on when the file has been created/modified locally, so in this case when the file was downloaded from the SD card. Thus if this information is the only information available (for DropIt), it makes sense that the above requested feature is not working as intended. Looking forward to better support for this! 😉

  5. DropIt supports 4 date and time sets: Created, Modified, Accessed, Taken. The first 3 sets are available for all files without problems because are stored in files as normal properties. The last set instead is only for image files and (like camera model and other abbreviations) is taken reading Windows properties. As I said, a better system to read Exif data will be implemented in the future.

  6. Same thing happened to me for pics taken on a Canon PowerShot SD4000 IS.
    Windows show the date taken info on the jpg’s properties, bit sorting doesn’t work as intended. Nice app BTW.

  7. Looks like there is a problem in “%*Taken%” Abbreviations.
    After sorting files into folders using :
    “%YearTaken%\%YearTaken%-%MonthTaken%\%DateTaken%\” abbreviations, I spot that there is leading non-visible symbol on each of abbreviation. To double check that – I shared that folder into my LAN; and mounted that folder on linux machine with utf8 charset; so .. yea – there is some kind “â” symbol; look :

    sorted # cd FOTO/
    FOTO # ls -la
    total 0
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Oct 8 23:43 .
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Oct 8 23:43 ..
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Oct 8 23:43 ???2011
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Oct 8 23:43 ???2012
    FOTO # cd â2011/
    â2011 # ls -la
    total 0
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Oct 8 23:43 .
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Oct 8 23:43 ..
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Oct 8 23:43 ???2011-???11
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Oct 8 23:43 ???2011-???12
    â2011 # cd “â2011-â11”
    â2011-â11 # ls -la
    total 4
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Oct 8 23:43 .
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Oct 8 23:43 ..
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 4096 Oct 8 23:43 ???2011-???11-???06
    â2011-â11 #

  8. Dropit is a great tool, but I’ve a directory for my documents where I use the NAME OF MONTH…

    It would be very very nice to have a var like:

    I know, that this must be localised in the language-file.

    December and Dezember are not the same*G*.

    I hope, you will decide to integrate such a feature.


  9. Hmm, saw that dropit is opensource..
    I integrated the feature with only two new lines in the code and it works for me!

    Should I send you my changes?

  10. This software is a life saver. Thank you so much. I am having a problem with one thing. Let’s say I have a folder called “Data Warehouse.” In that folder, I have over 100 different schools. In each school folder are more folders named “Attendance,” or “Grades” or “Test.” I want to move a brand new folder called “Blank” into each school folder so it sits along side, “Att.” “Grades” and “Test” for each school. It’s just the same one folder called “Blank” into each school folder. Is this possible? I’ve tried but am having problems…:[

    Have I mentioned how awesome this tool is? 😀

  11. Hello,
    Wondering if there is a solution to the following problem: I have a directory wtih 3700 files in it. This directory (3700 files) was created by randomely moving files from their proper location. The goal is to put these files back where they belong without opening each file to see where it goes.

    Seems like an impossible task right?

  12. The abbreviation for %SongAlbum% does not seem to work properly. DropIt cuts the string…
    By the way…is it possible to add a string to the abbrev. for filename-creations like “%SongAlbum%-List.html” or “%SongAlbum%-index.html” for created lists?

  13. C:\Music\%SongArtist%\%SongAlbum%
    doesn’t seem to work in my case. dropit creates a new folder containing the year of the release instead of the album name..
    i would really love to use dropit, but auto-sorting my music would be the main function i use it for and it doesn’t read the id3 tags correctly

    • @flow-chi

      I tested your Path and all sorting went fine, except you have an empty “Album Tag” field (tag),
      then the abbreviation creates a empty folder called “SongAlbum” in the “SongArtist”-Folder.

      What kind of “action” did u use? Move, Copy, etc…?

      Please check if you tagged it correctly. For example organize it with mp3tag.

      • No, that just happens when i’m using flac files, but I’m assuming it just doesn’t work with flac (or the tags are somehow screwed up).
        But i tested it with a few mp3 files and they all didn’t work. I’m pretty sure they are tagged correctly, see here for example:

        This is the association i use:

        And this is the result i get (the album should be “Daylight” instead of 2008):

        I would really love to sort in my new music using dropit, but it just doesn’t seem to do what i want it to do ^^

        Any help would be really appreciated =)

        Btw: I’m using Windows 8, if that makes any difference.

    • Probably the problem is Win8, because some abbreviations (like id3 tags) depend on system edition. I’ll try to fix it in next release, thanks for the report.

      • okay, i already thought that it had to do something with windows 8.
        thanks in advance for the fix =)
        does flac work with sorting by tags by the way? could you possibly add that feature?
        then it would be perfect for me.

        thanks and keep up the good work!

  14. is there an option to alter the order in which the rules are used ? I got the following Problem : There’s a RAR-archive which would be sorted using the extension. But some include buzzwords like “portable” or “setup”, these files should be sorted to different folders (\portables or \setups).
    i tried renaming the rule, but that didn’t work, the rule is now on top of the list but won’t be used before the archive-rule.
    Is there anyway out of my dilemma ? 🙂

    • Currently association priority is not available and I’m still considering if implement it, because there are some compatibility problems with it. Anyway you can do what you need creating 3 associations with the following rules (using “/” character to add exclusions):

  15. I was wondering how you can move a movie with his separate subtitle into 1 folder together.

    For example, i have different episodes of a tv-show and every episode has his separate subtitle.

    Now I want to move them together into 1 folder with the name of the tv-show and then every episode in 1 folder together with the movie of that episode and his subtitle.

    But i don’t know how to do that?

    can somebody help me please?

    • If you write some examples of files, I could try to help you, because you need to define rules based on filenames to separate them.

  16. Hi!

    I’m trying to sort camera photos into folders, so I have it set up as, sort into multi level folders: Years/Months/Days.

    I was wondering though, is it possible to set up DropIt in such a way that if for a certain day(let’s say August 20th) there is only one picture, instead of creating a day folder for it, it can just drop it into the month folder instead?

    Thank You!

    • Sorry, but it isn’t currently possible. I’ll consider it, even if I’m not sure it will be possible to implement it.

      • Thanks for getting back to me Lupo.

        I’m not entirely sure, how it’s possible to implement it. Maybe something like “If there is more than one picture with a said date, create a day folder, otherwise keep it in the month folder”

        It would be great to have that functionality though, because right now, if you have lots of lone pictures that were taken on various dates, it just creates day folders for each of those lone pictures. So you get a Year -> Month -> Day -> One picture.

  17. Found your software, while searching for a powerful file mover and renamer.
    But it seems, I don’t understand how to sort my files like I hoped for. I’ve read your
    howtos, but couldn’t find a way, to get it sorted, the way I would love them.

    At the moment I have a big music video folder. New files are added now
    and then. Already renamed the following way “Artist name – Title name
    (Year)-quality.***. I want to let DropIt watch the folder and move
    them in a corresponding folder, named like the artist. So I wanted to
    let it look for the seperator “-” and create a folder with the name before the seperator and move the files into this folder.
    As my understandment of the modifiers go, it should be “*%FileName#s>( – )#++” (without the ” of course) and the “move” command, but DropIt doesn’t seem to do anything with my files.

    A little help, with what I am doing wrong, would be great!
    Best regards and thanks for the great software

    • Are you using “*%FileName#s>( – )#++” as Rules or as Destination Folder? Because abbreviations and so also abbreviation modifiers can be used only in destination and you need to use them there.

      Try with an association like this:
      Name = Sort Media
      Rules = *.mp3;*.avi;*.mov
      Action = Move
      Destination = C:\Destination\%FileName#s<-( – )#++%

      • Thanks for the fast response.

        I did the failure to add the abbreviation into both boxes.
        Now I changed it to the following (took from C:\Users\***\AppData\Roaming\DropIt\Profiles folder):

        [Sort MVs]
        Rules=*.avi; *.divx; *.jpg; *.mpeg; *.mpg; *.mp4; *.mkv; *.nfo; *.png; *.tbn, *.vob; *.wmv;
        Destination=W:\VIDEO\Musicvideos\NEW\%FileName#s>( – )#++%

        But it just skips all files in the folder (I can see it in the glimp of the appearing progress report window, which shortly closes a few seconds later).
        Btw: is there any way, that
        1.) the progress stays, till I click close
        2.) the progress can be written to a text file to see a log
        3.) I don’t have to specify the folder and just write %FileName#s>( – )#++% to destination?

      • It may works. Do you have other associations in your profile? Do you changed some settings? Is there a reason why you are using “%FileName#s>( – )#++%” instead of “%FileName#s<-( – )#++%"?

        In Options you can define to keep progress window visible, waiting to start the process (uncheck "Start the process after loading"). In Various tab you can also enable log file creation. You can find these info in the pdf Guide, read it.
        What do you mean with "don't have to specify the folder"? In this case DropIt will moves your files in a subfolder of the original file directory.

      • “Do you have other associations in your profile?”
        Nope, only one.

        “Do you changed some settings?”
        I’ve changed “handle duplicates” to “skip”.

        “Is there a reason why you are using “%FileName#s>( – )#++%” instead of “%FileName#s rename files to 01, enabled log and made the window stay and wait for my input. Now all file shave been renamed to artist – title (year)-quality 01, instead of sorted into the specific folder. So I nearly have it, now. Any ideas, what still can be wrong?

        And wouldn’t it be better, if I register to the DropIt forum instead of asking questions in the comments section of your blog?

      • My last comment got cut in the middle… O.o
        I wanted to say, that the “%FileName#s>( – )#++%” was an error and I noticed it, after posting my comment. And after that, I changed the settings.

        Now, several hours later, it finally moves them. Had to change it to %FileName#s<-( – )%, but now sadly I had to remove the case modifier, else it wouldn't had worked and it also seems to still scans the newly created subfolders, even I didn't included them…

  18. Hi, thank you for the great program!
    I have a problem though. I got one big size folder named ‘2013’ (with subfolders): 22GB, about 4000 photos. I tried to sort into folders (to D:\Images\TEST\%DateTaken%) and dragged the ‘2013’ folder, strangely DropIt only find 320 files. But when I dragged each subfolder (one by one) to DropIt, it found all the files successfully. Any thoughts?

      • I only have one association: Name: Sort pictures by folder, Rules: *.*, Action: copy, Destination Folder: D:\Images\TEST\%DateTaken%
        After some tests, it seemed stop scanning at certain file (I can’t find which file). I ‘cleaned up’ the folders from files with extensions other than .jpg, .mp4, .avi, .mts, & .mov, and DropIt find all the files. Some thumbs.db still intact but no problem whatsoever.

      • I’m sorry, I have to correct my first post. Some of the subfolders I dragged into DropIt also couldn’t find all the files.

  19. When you use these variables I assume that the folder is automatically created in the destination path?
    I am using, h:\Images\%YearTaken%\%MonthNameTaken%\%DayNameTaken% in 4.Destination Folder
    and dropit keeps skipping all the files I want it to move even though they do have the date taken data.

  20. evidently the program is still having too many problems working on windows 8 no matter what I do it stops working when I start the sorting process, that is after it has processed the files in the folder I drop. I love the concept of this program and would absolutely love it to work for me.

    • The Windows 8 problem was fixed moving back to the previous compiler version. It is possible that you found a new bug. I’m contacting you by mail to discuss it.

  21. is it possible to open a dialog box to choose the save location.

    I want to save images to a diffrent folder each time and use drop it move files from the camera and to create a sub folder with the current date

    • Currently you can use %UserInput% abbreviation in your destination and it will opens a window during process to replace the abbreviation with a defined text. In the next release I’ll add a button to this window to browse and select a folder. If you want to try a preview of this feature, you can write me from the contact form:

  22. Is it possible to use dropit to move entire folders (with all the contents intact) if they meet specific criteria? For example, I have a LOT of disorganized folders of photos in many different locations on my backup drive. I would love it if I could move all of the folders that have a particular keyword in the folder name to a new location. Is this possible? (I have read the pdf guide, but I have never had any experience programming and most of the “modifiers” section is way over my head.
    I love your software and definitely plan to donate once I hit payday. 🙂

    • Yes, you can do it and you don’t need to be a programmer, simply create an association with these parameters (in this case the keyword is “penguin”):
      Name = My folders
      Rules = **penguin**
      Action = Move
      Destination = C:\Docs\%FileName%

      • Thank you so much!! So I understand correctly, in this example, it would move a folder called “penguin photos” and all of its contents from wherever it is now to the Docs directory? Also, do caps matter (penguins vs. Penguins) or spaces in the title (penguin photos vs. penguin_photos)?
        Would it also move individual files with that keyword, or just folders?

      • That specific association will move folders with “penguin” in the name and all their content. There are several other possibilities configuring different associations, you can move only files with a specific word in their name, or only files from a specific folder, and use Additional Filters to extend filtering rules.
        Standard rules are case insensitive and space sensitive (so “penguins”=”Penguins”, but “penguin photos””penguin_photos”). It is possible to consider rules as case sensitive, but it is an advanced feature so you may need help to configure it.

      • This is all excellent! I don’t want to have it case sensitive, and I would only want to move folders, so this will do exactly what I want! But since it is space sensitive, does that mean it would or would not move folders that were called “penguin photos”? (I am thinking that if I use **penguin** it would, but if I used **penguin_photos** it wouldn’t. Correct?

      • It is correct. The idea to use asterisks is simple and describe in the paragraph 2.2 of the pdf guide:
        – Using * single asterisk wildcard to represent zero or more characters in file names.
        – Using ** double asterisk to represent zero or more characters in folder names.

        So you can use **penguin**photos** to match for example: “penguin photos”, “my penguinphotos”, “penguin_photos”, “penguin big photos”…

  23. I found your utility to be really what I wanted. However I wanted to sort my files by
    Year-Month buckets like what picassa does, but for all my files and folders. Can I do that ?
    also can it move entire folders by Year-Month. Eg
    First level
    Second level

    Then I have year-wise data sorted. I don’t care which file type it is in these cases
    as typically its collection of pdf, excel and doc in my case.


  24. Thanks Lupo. Entire folder meaning, without sorting the contents of the folder into year-month.
    I don’t have the first and second levels ; I wanted to use DroptIT to auto-create the first and second-level folders.

    • Do you mean it is not possible to see it or do you not use it? Also if you double-click the floating icon and you click on the minimized icon?

  25. thanks. I got windows8.1 working. it keeps the icon in the tiles ; not in the desktop.
    I will try your solution to move files. My case is simple. I am a finance person and must organize everything by year and month so that my payment/receipt records are clear by age
    for past years, which now is haphazard. I have to look at listing and move them bunch by bunch. I don’t care for the file types ie music or photos are not my use-case. its usually doc, pdf and xls. Thanks anyhow.

  26. Hi

    Cool piece of software. I am using it to sort snapshots from an IP camera – the camera dumps the jpg files into a folder and dropit sorts them into folders/subfolders by day/hour. This obviously results in a lot of folders and subfolders.

    Question: I’d like to use the gallery feature to create thumbnails and to view the files, but I’d like a gallery for each hour/day, with the html file for each gallery in the same directory, so I don’t have to go digging through folders/subfolders…is this possible? Would involve moving and renaming the html files? (Hope this is clear 🙂


    • Well, if you want a gallery for each folder in each folder, you can use this destination:

      If instead you want a gallery for each folder and all galleries in the same folder, you can try with a destination like this:

  27. Hi everybody!

    I wonder if anyone could help me with a regex sorting problem?

    My plan:
    – lots of file to be sorted in specific folders
    – the files each contain a eight-digit number (file number) somewhere in the filename
    – the number consists of [ddmmnnyy] (dd=day, mm=month, nn=consecutive number, yy=year)
    – each file should be moved to the folder “X:\sorted\20[yy]\[ddmmnnyy]\” (“each file should be moved to a subfolder named by the file number in yearly top-folders”)
    – example: file “Letter_15071814_signed.pdf” should be moved to the folder X:\sorted\2014\15071814

    Until now, all my tries ended in not a single sorted file… 😦

  28. Hi,
    I have seen some comments about sorting problems of flac files…
    I have the same problem.
    My rule is
    action is MOVE
    and destination folder is
    All MP3 files whish are tagged are sorted well, while all flac files (aslo tagged well) finish in Unknown SongArtist folder.
    I checked tags with MusicBrainz Picard and Mp3Tag and tags are as they should be.
    I use DropIt version 8.2.1.
    Any idea about what is wrong would be greatly appretiated.

  29. I have a destination folder for my scanner, and the scanned files will be titled as such MMDDYY, (for example, 032417). I then want to create a new sub folder based on the name, YYYY – MM (for example, 2017 – 03), and move the file into it. Same will apply for all months and years. Is this possible? I’m assuming that regex is needed? I’m new to this program and is excited to explore its potential.

  30. Hi, please bear with me as I don’t understand modifiers. I want to scan 7 years of bank statements. I have figured out how to rename what I scan into Chase Bank, Bank of America.

    What I would like to know/do:
    Do I have to use the grey filter – put in account number so that each Bank of America statement is saved separately? In other words do I need to create an association for each account number?

    Also as I do each statement, is there a way to move all 2017 statements into one folder? Can I do the above and this in one step or is it in 2 steps.

    FYI: I am scanning using scansnap and saving as OCR file but scan snap just puts the date of scanning. I prefer to scan multiple files rather and use dropit to help rename and file them appropriately.

  31. Also, I want to rename a scanned file by the date on the document, not the scan date. I am using abbrv %FirstFileContentDate%. However in many docs it just says unknown even though the document has a date on it. Please advise. Thank you.
    I have been trying different methods so that I can finally start going paperless. I am hoping DropIt will be the solution.

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