Review: Directory Opus Light is heavy enough for most purposes

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Directory Opus Light

    PCWorld Rating

    Directory Opus adds a “Light” version that is very feature-rich. At less than half the cost of the Pro version, it's worth a look for anyone who wants a better Windows Explorer.

Directory Opus is an extremely powerful and flexible Explorer replacement. Directory Opus Light is slightly less powerful and flexible, but still really good. I’ve had some bad experiences with “Light” versions of software that are so limited as to be nothing more than teaser ads for their higher-powered siblings. Directory Opus Light handily avoids this trap, perhaps because it’s not a free program (at $30 AUD, it is less than half the cost of the Pro version, which costs $70 AUD), and thus needs to be worth paying for. Short answer: It is.

The installer includes both Light and Standard versions, and users can freely flip between them during the trial. To compare the feature differences, see our review of Directory Opus Standard 10.

Directory Opus Light creates a lister, or file/directory viewer. This lister can be configured in a variety of ways: single pane, dual pane, directory tree, dual directory tree, viewer pane, and so on. You can save favorite configurations and switched the lister to them at any time. Each file pane can contain multiple tabs, each tab showing a folder. Files can be dragged from tab to tab to copy them, and each tab can be sorted or viewed independently

In addition to this, each tab has a filter option, so that you can quickly reduce the files shown to only those matching a criteria, such as “*.pdf”. The filter toolbar can be shown or hidden with a single key press.

Directory Opus Light includes many advanced features, such as file viewers and complex search options.

Searching in Directory Opus Light can use the Windows Search system (by typing in the location bar), or the more advanced search engine, which involves bringing up the “Find Panel”. This allows the user to specify individual directories to search in, whether or not to include subfolders, to look in archive files, or to look for text in files instead of file names.

Other Directory Opus Light features include a built-in archiver, a file viewer that supports many formats (movie, image, document, and other), high levels of graphic customization (colors, highlighting, etc.), and a “Favorites” menu for easy access to commonly-used folder.

I don’t find much to complain about in Directory Opus Light. It lacks the ability to open up multiple viewer windows, something a longtime Explorer user might want, although the multi-pane, multi-tab interface makes this mostly unnecessary. If you need the multiple viewer windows, you'll need to upgrade to Standard. That said, even the Light program has a lot of features and options, which presents something of a learning curve. The thirty-day (sixty if you ask for an extension) trial provides more than enough time to get comfortable with the program, and to prove that it’s worth the cost.

Those who just launch programs from the toolbar and always accept all the defaults for file storage, and who barely use File Explorer, might not gain anything from Directory Opus Light. Anyone else should at least download the trial.

Note: The "Try it for free" button on the Product Information page takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software appropriate to your system. It is available in 32-bit and 64-bit editions.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Directory Opus adds a “Light” version that is very feature-rich. At less than half the cost of the Pro version, it's worth a look for anyone who wants a better Windows Explorer.

    Pros

    • Powerful for a "light" version
    • Flexible search and filtering
    • Many display options

    Cons

    • Steep learning curve
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