I am working on a web-based image file explorer. It shows a grid of thumbnails for all images in the current directory, and a list of links at the top to navigate to subfolders. For a small amount of subfolders (most cases), this works fine:

Short list of folders

However, when browsing a folder that has a very long list of subfolders, this will quickly become problematic:

Huge list of folders

Both the amount of folders and the length of the text are variable. There is no structure or explicit ordering, though they are sorted alphabetically.

I have thought about using a dropdown for navigation beyond a certain number of folders, but I think that would only shift the problem. Replacing it with search would work if you're trying to find something specific, but does not work when simply browsing.

What are some alternative ways to display such a large number of links?

  • It would make it clear when adding a big capital A, B, C, etc. for each letter.
    – Daan
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 10:19
  • Quite honestly, I don't get what you need. Why does an image belong to many sub-folders? Why would any user need to browse so many sub-folders? Is this an action they need to perform or is it displayed just for informative purposes? Aren't these sub-folders just categories or tags? If not, why? What is the purpose of a file explorer where content is in many places at teh same time? Or are you displaying repeated results? Sorry for all the questions, but I think your question is not very clear (I just don't get it at all)
    – Devin
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 20:06

4 Answers 4


The best way I see is to group links based on their initials. Like A, B, C. You can show mostly used ones, then can put A... at the end. So the rest of the links would be seen when A... is clicked.

[Age of Mythology Extended Edition | Alice Madness Returns | A...] [Bastion | B...]


The most user-friendly way that comes to mind is to either create a tag cloud or sort the links in the order which it is most likely accessed (based on previous click behavior).

random tag image

You may want to add a search box regardless when there are, say, more than 20 links to display.


I agree with what tcak said - organize everything alphabetically. Maybe offset the Letter/group and list the links underneath? Wikipedia is a simple example of this. Wikipedia Page Listing


Amazon does it best. It's nice and clean.enter image description here

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