Managing files on my memory card is easy enough. I can just plug my BlackBerry into my Mac, click on the drive icon, and manipulate the files in almost any way. Clearly, though, that requires being near my computer. It also doesn’t help me with device memory. RIM has an on-board file manager, but it’s not quite as robust as I’d like. For example, it doesn’t even let you sort the contents of a directory. As an old-school computer geek, I like to have free reign over my files. To attain that on my BlackBerry, I’ve come to enjoy FileScout. It’s a file management application that has just seen an upgrade — one that introduces a free version, too.
If you want to try FileScout for 14 days, or if you wish to install the free Lite version, you can do it by visiting http://z.pe/bIT from your BlackBerry browser. That’s a case-sensitive shortcut. If you want the full version, you can buy FileScout for $4.99 from now until March 15. That’s a nearly 30 percent discount over the regular price of $6.99.
Once you launch FileScout, you’ll see directories for your device memory and your SD card. You can click around in the appropriate folder to find all of the files, including hidden ones, on your BlackBerry and memory card. Here, unlike the native file browser, you can sort your directories. Shift plus O, P, U, or I will change your sorting. You can do this by size, date modified, or name. Another cool feature is the Drive Map. Just click the Menu button and click on Drive Map. You’ll see an overlay which has a directory tree. From here you can browser through all of the folders on the selected drive. To get the details on a file, scroll over it, press the Menu button, and select the Details option. The overlay will note the filename, directory, size, type, and the options. You can make the file hidden, or assign it a number of read-only properties.
Copying and moving files
Copying and moving files is an easy enough task with FileScout. Just go to the file or files you want to move. If you want to affect multiple files, press the space bar. You’ll see little green icons appear over the normal ones. When you’ve selected all the files, click Menu, and scroll down a bit. You’ll see an option to Put it on the virtual clipboard. That’s the first step. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see the options to copy or move the selection. Once you click that, navigate to the target folder, click Menu, and select Move or Paste, depending on what you want to do. You can move entire directory structures, too, which is a ton easier than creating a whole new one and copying the files to the appropriate places. You cannot copy or move entire structures with the native file manager.
There might be nothing more frustrating than receiving a file attachment that you need to see now, only to have it be a .zip file. Ugh. Your BlackBerry doesn’t handle these too well. Thankfully, FileScout does. You can unpack a .zip within the program, or you can create a .zip archive from the files on your Berry. To unzip, just find the .zip file on your device memory or memory card, click Menu, and select the unzip option. If you want to zip a file or multiple files, follow the instructions above for copying multiple files using the space bar. Then click Menu and select Zip. FileScout will quickly compress them and create a new .zip file in the same directory.
File viewing and editing
One feature of FileScout I love is the ability to view and edit files right from the application. Just by clicking on the file you can open a text or image file for quick viewing. This covers all picture file types, plus a number of text formats. These include extensions like .ini and .xml, file types you can’t view natively on your BlackBerry. FileScout also allows you to edit these files. It has a built-in text editor, so you can make changes as needed to any text file on your device. You can also manipulate photo files. To start, go to Options, then Image Options. I recommend selecting “ask each time” under Image size, so you don’t end up with the same size every time. That is, unless that’s what you want. I just like having the flexibility. Once you’ve set your image options — including the target file type, .jpg or .png — you can then navigate to an image file, hit Menu, and select Modify. Here you can rotate or resize the image.
FileScout has tons of features, though I’ve highlighted the main ones above. The following are only on the premium version.
- File search. Remember a filename but forget where you stored it? Find it here.
- Send files via email or Bluetooth. You can use either connection — plus SMS, MMS, or BBM — to send files to contacts.
- Favorite directory. You can set frequently accessed directories as favorites, saving you a few seconds each time.
- Email archive. Save messages, right from your message app, to a pre-set directory. You can render the emails in plain text or HTML. This is one of the major improvements in the new version.
- Playlist creation.
While the Lite application is a nice, free complement, it doesn’t contain my favorite features of FileScout. You can’t search for files, you can’t view images by thumbnail, you can’t resize or rotate images, you can’t archive emails, and you can’t edit text. To me, those are the main reasons to buy FileScout. Again, you can get the full version of FileScout for $4.99, $2 off the regular price. You can also get this on a 14-day trial using the link in the Getting Started section. If you’re looking for a bit more out of your BlackBerry, I’d definitely recommend this one.