When visiting a directory: In the view that comes up, I want the file/directory names to be in the left-most column. How can I do that?
Assuming this question is about
dired (the Emacs directory editor mode), there is no simple built-in way to rearrange the columns. Dired is presenting the output of an
ls command so you can customize
dired-listing-switches if there are ls output options that you prefer.
You can also switch to a very simple dired view by using the key ( in a dired buffer -- this is bound by default to the command
dired-hide-details-mode, which will drop all the columns and just show the file names.
Beyond that I believe you would need to look for an optional package or write some elisp yourself to build a custom directory view.
You can learn more about Dired in the Emacs manual (online, or use C-h i to browse the manuals in Emacs itself.)