How To Merge Folders And Files In Windows 11, 10

Windows has no direct button to merge folders and files. Yet, there are tricks and tools you can use to merge and organize your content.

Managing and organizing your data on Windows PC is not as simple as it seems. Yes, you can copy or cut your data from one location to the other, but there are simpler and more effective methods.

The Windows operating system does not allow you to combine or merge one or more folders at the press of a button. Microsoft should include the “Merge” option in the context menu when selecting many folders.

Use tips to merge files and folders from this post to your advantage, and become a pro at organizing your data. This article provides methods to merge files and folders, and how to keep files with the same name.

These techniques can merge the contents of two folders with the same or different names. You can also merge files or move items with similar file extensions into the same folder.

Without further ado, let us merge folders and remove duplicates without any hassle.

How to Merge Folders using File Explorer

The simplest way to merge the contents of two folders is through File Explorer. If you copy two folders with the same name to the same location, the contents are merged. If there are conflicting files, you can choose to keep the older ones by clicking “Skip these files,” or keep the new ones instead by clicking “Replace the files in the destination.”

Older files refer to the files in the source folder. Newer files refer to the files in the destination folder.

Use these steps to merge two folders into one using Explorer:

  1. Select one of the folders that you want to merge and press CTRL + C to copy it to the clipboard.

    Note that the names of the two folders should be identical. If the names are different, then first rename one folder so that the names are the same.

  2. Now navigate to the location of the other folder and press CTRL + V to paste the first folder.

    After pressing CTRL + V, the two folders will be automatically merged. However, if there is a same name conflict, perform the following steps:

  3. In case of a conflict of files, choose whether to “Skip these files” or “Replace the files in the destination.”

    In case of a conflict of files, choose whether to replace the original files with the ones that are being copied, or keep the original files.

    Merge or skip files
    Merge or skip files

    Whichever option you select, the folders will now be merged into one.

You can then repeat these steps if you want to merge more folders together.

How to Merge Folders using PowerShell

Although the Explorer method above works perfectly, it can be time-consuming if you are working with abundant folders. Therefore, using the copy-paste method becomes inefficient.

This is where you can use Windows PowerShell to merge folders using a script. The PowerShell script below allows you to quickly merge folders, saving time and increasing your productivity.

Using the given script, you do not need to save it as a .ps1 or .psd1 file; you can simply edit it and provide the locations of the two folders and run it in PowerShell. However, before you do, you must enable running scripts in PowerShell.

Also, note that the script does not overwrite any files in conflict and retains the original files. If you want to overwrite the original files, you can resolve the conflict using other means, like moving the replacing them manually, or using the File Explorer method above.

Once you have set the correct script permissions, simply copy the given script, paste it into PowerShell, and run it.

Note: [PathToFolder1] needs to be replaced with the complete path to the folder which will be copied. [PathToFolder2] will need to be replaced with the complete path to the folder will the contents of [PathToFolder1] will be copied.

$sourcePath = “[PathToFolder1]”
$destinationPath = “[PathToFolder2]”
$files = Get-ChildItem -Path $sourcePath -Recurse -Filter “*.*”  
foreach($file in $files){  
    $sourcePathFile = $file.FullName  
    $destinationPathFile = $file.FullName.Replace($sourcePath,  $destinationPath)  
    $exists = Test-Path $destinationPathFile  
    if(!$exists){  
        $dir = Split-Path -parent $destinationPathFile  
        if (!(Test-Path($dir))) { New-Item -ItemType directory -Path $dir }  
        Copy-Item -Path $sourcePathFile -Destination $destinationPathFile -Recurse -Force  
    }  
    else{  
        $isFile = Test-Path -Path $destinationPathFile -PathType Leaf  
        if(!$isFile){    
            Copy-Item -Path $sourcePathFile -Destination $destinationPathFile -Recurse -Force  
        }  
    }  
}  
Merge folders using PowerShell script
Merge folders using PowerShell script

Note: If you encounter an error whilst running the script, it may be because the SourcePath or DestinationPath variables are not set correctly, or because the inverted commas (“”) were not copied to PowerShell. In such cases, we suggest that you copy and run each line individually in PowerShell one after the other.

The folders should now be merged successfully. You can then continue to merge more folders by rerunning the same script by recalling it using the up arrow key. Remember to make changes to the [PathToFolder1] and [PathToFolder2] variables when merging more folders.

This concludes the native methods to merge folders on a Windows PC. In this article ahead, you will now find different methods to merge different types of files. Most of the given methods use third-party applications since Windows does not allow any native methods to compare two or more file files.

How to Merge Certain File Types into Single Folder

There are instances when you want to merge multiple folders together so that similar content can all be placed in a single location. In such situations, you can filter all of the files by their file types and then move them into a new, merged folder. This approach allows you to separate the different file types into different locations.

Additionally, as discussed in a Microsoft blog post, your images and other data can be scattered across multiple different folders. It can be a hassle to open each folder and then access the data within. Instead, you can just merge them all together and have your data inside a single directory.

You can use these steps to apply a filter across all folders and move the data to another folder, essentially merging the data from multiple folders into a single one:

  1. Use File Explorer to navigate to the parent folder (where multiple folders are located) and use the search bar to apply the filter.

    Note: You can search for your desired file type.

    Search for files in Explorer
    Search for files in Explorer
  2. From the search results, select everything and press CTRL + X or CTRL + C to cut/copy the content to the clipboard.

    Cut copy content from search results
    Cut copy content from search results
  3. Now create a new folder. Inside that folder, press CRL + V to paste the content.

  4. In case of a file conflict, choose whether to replace the old files or skip over the new ones.

    Replace or skip copying files
    Replace or skip copying files

Content from multiple folders will now be moved to a single folder.

How to Merge Files or Folders using Third-Party Tools

Merge Text Files using WinMerge

WinMerge is a free tool that allows you to compare and merge up to 3 files simultaneously. Since it is a text-based application, WinMerge can only be used to compare and merge text files.

Compare text files in WinMerge
Compare text files in WinMerge

WinMerge is especially useful for coders and developers as it highlights the text that is different in one file from the other using color coding. You can open up to 3 files at the same time in WinMerge to compare them using these steps:

  1. Install WinMerge and run the application.

  2. Click “File” and then click “Open.”

    Open files in WinMerge
    Open files in WinMerge
  3. Now select the files in each row and then click “Compare.”

    Open files to compare in WinMerge
    Open files to compare in WinMerge

    We have selected only 2 text files, but you can compare up to 3.

WinMerge will now display the opened files inside a single window, highlighting the differences between them. You can now make changes to the files, copy and paste the text from one file to the other, and then use the “Save As” menu to save the merged file.

Save the merged text file using WinMerge
Save the merged text file using WinMerge

Merge Folders using 2XDSOFT Folder Merger

Folder Merger is an easy-to-use GUI-based portable utility that allows you to merge folders and subfolders. Folder Merger gives you full control over the folders as well as the content being merged. All you need to do is select the source and the destination folder and then carry onwards from there.

Once the folders are selected, you can either choose to merge all of the data and subfolders or define the level of subfolders to be merged. Additionally, you can also choose whether to “copy” the content, or “Move” it.

Additionally, in case of a conflict of a file(s), you can choose whether to replace it, skip it, keep both whilst renaming the new file, or even apply certain conditions. Not only that, but you can also apply filters and exclusions on file names as well as file types.

Once you are ready to merge, click “Merge.”

Configure merging properties and merge folders using Folder Merger
Configure merging properties and merge folders using Folder Merger

Once done, the folders will be merged instantly once you have configured the settings.

How To Merge PDF Files

Like the methods discussed above, there is no native method in Windows OS to merge PDF files. Therefore, you must either use third-party applications like Adobe Acrobat or online tools.

Here are the links to free online tools that you can use to merge PDF files online:

Alternatively, you can also use Adobe Acrobat Pro and Adobe Acrobat DC to merge PDF files together. Open a PDF file using either of the aforementioned Adobe applications. Click on the “Combine files” or “Insert page from another file” button, and then continue from there to add more PDF files to the current PDF file.

When done merging, simply save the new combined file as a new PDF file.

How to Merge Folders on MacOS

Similar to Windows, you can also merge folders on macOS. In fact, macOS provides a straightforward way of merging folders natively. Use these steps to merge folders on macOS having the same name:

Note: If the folders that you want to merge have different names, then rename one of the folders to the same name as the other.

  1. Use Finder to navigate to one of the folders that you want to merge.

  2. Drag and drop the folder into the location of the other folder.

    You will then be given the option to “Replace” or “Merge” the folders.

  3. Click “Merge.”

    Merge folders on macOS through Finder
    Merge folders on macOS through Finder

Note: The “Merge” option will only be available if one of the folders has a different file than the other. If both have exactly the same content, then the “Merge” option won’t be available.

Merge Files on MacOS

If you want to merge different files on macOS, you can use the Araxis Merge tool. This tool is available for both macOS and Windows OS. However, this is a paid tool, but you can get a free 30-day evaluation trial. It functions similarly to WinMerge and can open and compare 3 files at the same time.

  1. Get the 30-day evaluation serial number from the Araxis Merge download page and then download and install the tool.

  2. Open the multiple files that you want to merge using the menu.

    Open the files to merge
    Open the files to merge
  3. Once opened, you can move/copy the text from one file into the other.

  4. Once done, save the merged file.

Takeaway

There is still some room for improvement in the Windows operating system. However, there are other ways to get certain jobs done, like using native or third-party apps and tools to merge and organize files and folders.

We believe that the easiest way to merge folders is by using the copy-paste method in File Explorer. However, if you are looking to merge files, then a third-party application or an online tool might be the way to go.

The same goes for macOS. The easiest method to merge folders on macOS is perhaps using Finder and moving the folders with the same name into the same location.

We would also like to add that there used to be a method to combine text files using Notepad++. It was done through a plug-in named “Combine.” However, the plug-in has been discontinued, rendering this method invalid.

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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