M-Files Desktop User Interface

This section describes how the M-Files Desktop user interface works.

Video: Introduction to the M-Files Desktop User Interface

Home screen

When you log in to a document vault, you are first greeted with the home screen of the vault. The home screen comprises the quick view area on the left and the Pinned tab on the right.

The M-Files home screen.

The quick view area contains four separate quick views that give you a good overview of the vault and the objects that are important to you. Using quick views, you can browse vault contents or open documents that you have recently accessed, or view tasks assigned to you. You can expand a quick view by clicking the title bar of a quick view.

You can use the Pinned tab to collect items that you regularly use into a single tab. The tab can contain shortcuts to vault objects, external repositories, views, or other resources. For more information on how to make use of the tab, see The Pinned Tab.

You may return to the home screen at any time by clicking the M-Files logo in the upper left corner of the user interface or by clicking Home on the task area.

User interface components

The M-Files Desktop user interface is composed of four main components:

Listing area

The listing area in the center displays the objects or subviews contained in the selected view, or the results of your search. For more information, see Listing Area.

Right pane

When an object is selected in the listing area, you can click the Metadata tab to view the metadata card of the object (see Metadata Card) in the right pane, or you can click the Preview tab to preview the contents of the object.

You can set one of these as a default tab in M-Files Desktop. For more information, see Setting the Default Tab for Object.

In addition, the right pane includes the Filters tab that contains options for refining your search. The Filters tab is opened whenever you activate the quick search field. For more information on search functions, see Searching.

Lastly, you can access the Pinned tab in the right pane. You can use the tab to collect shortcuts to vault objects, external repositories, views, and other resources. For more information, see The Pinned Tab.

You can hide the right pane altogether by clicking the vertical tab on the left edge of the right pane.

The right pane can also contain customized content and can be modified according to individual needs.

Task area

The task area is located on the left side of the window. It can be hidden or displayed by clicking the vertical tab on the right edge of the task area. By default, it contains options for creating new objects (Create) as well as a Go To section for quickly navigating to useful views, such as the Favorites and Recently Accessed by Me. For more information, see Task Area.

User menu

The top right corner of the interface displays the name of the user logged into the vault. Clicking the username opens a context menu with the following options:


The M-Files Desktop user interface can be customized according to various user requirements. For example, users can change the position of the metadata card on the user interface.

An overall view of the M-Files user interface with the metadata positioned at the bottom and the preview on the right side.

Connection status

The connection status icon () in the upper right corner to the left of the username displays the status of your connection to the document vault by measuring the round-trip time to the server that hosts the vault. The icon has five different statuses:
  • The round-trip time to the server is less than 50 milliseconds.
  • The round-trip time to the server is from 50 to 149 milliseconds.
  • The round-trip time to the server is from 150 to 299 milliseconds.
  • The round-trip time to the server is 300 milliseconds or more.
  • You have no connection to the server.

To display additional information about your connection, click the connection status icon () to display the Connection Status dialog:

One of the following messages is displayed in the dialog:
  • Your network connection is working properly.
  • Your network connection is slow.
  • No connection to the server or the server is unavailable.
If your connection is slow or you have no connection to the server, contact your M-Files system administrator. You can click Refresh to refresh the information regarding your connection status. Clicking Analyze Connection shows you additional details about your connection status.

Display mode settings

You can change various display settings via the Display Mode options. You can view the settings either by right-clicking on an empty space in the listing area and selecting Display Mode or by pressing the Alt key and selecting View > Display Mode in the menu bar.

With the Display Mode options you can:
  • Choose whether you want objects to be displayed as icons or as a details list.
  • Move the metadata card from the right side of the user interface to the bottom, and vice versa.
  • Turn the Windows Explorer navigation pane on and off.
  • Change the right pane and the bottom pane to be displayed in the minimized mode, or turn them off completely.
  • Choose whether M-Files annotations are shown or not.
  • Enable or disable object type based object grouping as well as view and folder grouping.
  • Choose between a normal and a compact layout for the user interface.