Finder

A Immaculate Desktop:

Are you the sort of neat-freak who abhors Desktop clutter?
Who keeps all apps and docs in carefully organized folders? Consider diving deeper into onscreen clean by making your mounted drives and discs disappear from the Desktop and accessing them instead via Finder windows.

Here’s how to try it: From the Finder, pull down the Finder menu and select Preferences — or just press Command-comma [⌘ ,] from within the Finder.
Click the General tab and uncheck Hard disks; CDs, DVDs, and iPods; and Connected servers.

Next, click the Sidebar tab and check the boxes next to all the items you unchecked under the General tab.

When you want to access a drive, disk, or server, just open a Finder window by pressing Command-n [⌘ n] from within the Finder.
And when you close the Finder windows, your desktop will be spotless.
(Remember, Command-w [⌘ w] closes a Finder window, and Command-Option-w [⌘ ⌥ w] closes all Finder windows at once.

Don’t Want To Open A File?

The idea behind Spotlight is that it will find the file you want, and then open that file for you, so you can start working on it immediately.
But what if you just want to know where the file is, and not necessarily open it? (For example, what if you just want to know where it is, so you can burn a backup copy to a CD?)
To do that, once the results appear in the spotlight menu, just hold the Command key and then click on the file. This will close Spotlight and open the Finder window where your file is.
Or if you want Spotlight open, just click on the file and press Command-R, which will open a Finder window with the file selected, leaving the spotlight dialog open.


See Your File’s Hidden Info:

Want more info on your files than the standard icon view provides (after all, it just gives you the file’s name in icon view)?
Then turn on Show Item info. This adds an extra line of information below many files and folders that can be very useful.
For example, now not only do you get a folder’s name, but just below the name (in unobtrusive light-blue, 9-point type), you’ll see how many items are in that folder.

If the file is an image, the Item Info shows you how big it is. MP3 files show how long the song is, etc. To turn on Item Info for your current Finder window, press Command-J to bring up its View Options. Then turn on the checkbox for Show Item Info. If you want to show the item info for every window (globally), then choose the All Windows button at the top of the dialog.

Ultimate Menu:

Want to really speed things up?
How about jumping right to the Apple menu without even clicking the mouse? Just press Control-F2, press Return, and the Apple menu pops down (if you’re using a MacBook, press Function-Control-F2).
Oh, but there’s more! Now that you’re in the Apple menu, press the Right Arrow key on your keyboard to move to the other menus (Finder, File, Edit, View, etc.) and the Left Arrow to move back.

Once you get to the menu you want, press Return, then type the first letter of the command you want in the menu and it jumps right there.
Now press Return again to choose that command (and you did it all without ever touching the mouse).

Opening Moves:

In most cases, double-clicking a file on your Mac automatically opens it in the appropriate application. But sometimes you may want to overrule your Mac and open a file in something other than the default.

For example, say you’ve edited a series of images in Photoshop, and now you want to take a quick look at them. You might prefer to view them in Preview, a Mac OS X program that opens in an instant, rather than the larger, slower-to-load Photoshop application.

To quickly specify your app, Control-click the item you want to open, then choose Open With from the pop-up menu that appears. This takes you to a list of every application your Mac considers capable of reading the file. Choose the name of the application you want, and the file opens in that program.

If you think you’ll be opening the file repeatedly in that program, you may want to specify an ongoing Open With preference. To do so, select the file and press Command-I to see the file’s Info window. Click the Open With tab and choose your program. Now the file will always open with your preferred application.
And if you click the Change All… button, every file of the same type will open with this application.

Control-click any file to specify the application in which it opens.

One-Click Long-File-Name Fix:

If you’re working in a window set to Column view, you’re going to run into this all the time — files with long names have the end of their names cut off from view, because the column isn’t wide enough.
That doesn’t sound like that big of a problem, until you start working with more descriptive file names, and you can’t see which file is “European Front End Silver Car” and which is “European Back End Silver Car” because everything from “European” to “Silver Car” is cut off.

Luckily, there’s a quick fix — just double-click on the little tab at the bottom of the vertical column divider bar, and the column will expand just enough so you can see even the longest file name of any file in that column.
Option-double-click on the tab, and every column expands to show the longest name in each column. Pretty darn sweet!


The Burn Folder Isn’t Burning Aliases:

When you create a burn folder in Tiger (which you do by either choosing New Burn Folder from the File menu or from the Action menu [that’s the button with a gear icon on it in Finder windows]), if you look inside that folder, you won’t see your original files.
Instead, you’ll see aliases to the originals (you can tell they’re aliases because they have a little curved arrow on them).
But don’t let that throw you — when you do finally click the burn button (in the upper right-hand corner of the burn Folder’s window), it actually gets the original files and burns those to disk, so you don’t have to worry about having a CD full of aliases pointing to files you no longer have.

So why all the aliases in the first place? Because it points to your files (rather than copying them into the folder), which makes burning discs much faster than in previous versions of Mac OS X.


Look Inside Multiple Folders Automatically:

Need to see what’s inside more than one folder while in List view?

Do it the fast way—Command-click on all the folders you want to expand, then press Command-Right Arrow.

All the folders will expand at once.

If the file you’re looking for isn’t there, just press Command-Left Arrow (you can do that, because your folders are still highlighted) to quickly collapse them all again.


Know Your Status:

The status bar (the thin little bar that shows how many items are in your window and how much drive space you still have available) was at the top of every Finder window back in Mac OS 9.
In earlier versions of Mac OS X (including Jaguar), the status bar was off by default, so you had to turn it on, and then it appeared at the top of your Finder windows.
In Tiger you’ll find the status bar info displayed at the bottom center of every Finder window by default (well, that’s true as long as your toolbar is visible).
If that’s the case, why is there still a menu command called Show Status Bar?
That’s because, if you hide the toolbar, it hides the status info at the bottom of the window, so you need the old status bar back.
It’s still off by default, so to turn on the status bar, first open a window, hide the toolbar (see previous tip), then go under the View menu and choose Show Status Bar.
(Note: If you don’t hide the toolbar first, Show Status Bar will appear “grayed out.”)


Making ZIP Files:

One of my favorite Mac OS X features is the ability to create ZIP compressed files from within the OS (basically, this shrinks the file size, ideal for files you’re going to email — smaller file sizes mean faster file transfers).
To create a compressed file, either Control-click on the file and choose Create Archive (which is Apple-speak for “make a compressed ZIP file”).
Or you can click on a file, then go to the Action menu (the button that looks like a gear up in the Finder window’s toolbar), and choose Create Archive from there.
Either way, it quickly creates a new file, with the file extension “.zip.” This is the compressed file.
You can also compress several different files (like three, for example) into one single archive file — just Command-click (or Shift-click contiguous files) on all the files you want included, then choose Create Archive of X Items from the Action menu.
A file will be created named “Archive.zip” (that’s it!). By the way, if someone sends you a ZIP file, don’t sweat it — just double-click it and Tiger will automatically decompress it.


Make the Sidebar Work Like the Dock:

You can customize the sidebar of the Finder window by adding other icons that make it even more powerful. For example, if you use Photoshop a lot, just open the window where your Photoshop application resides, drag the Photoshop icon right over to the sidebar, and the other icons in the sidebar will slide out of the way.

Now you can use this window kind of like you would the dock — to launch Photoshop, just click on its icon in the sidebar, plus like the dock, you can even drag-and-drop images you want to open right onto the sidebar’s Photoshop icon.


Show or Hide Hidden Files:

Show Hidden Files:

1. Open a new Terminal window by double clicking its icon in Applications > Utilities > Terminal
2. Enter the following commands in the terminal window. (Press enter after each line).

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE killall Finder

3. Your Finder will restart and you will be able to see hidden files!

Hide Hidden Files:

1. Open a new Terminal window by double clicking its icon in Applications: Utilities.

2. Enter the following commands in the terminal window. (Press enter after each line).

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE killall Finder

3. Your Finder will restart and you will NOT be able to see hidden files !

Change Directories Using the Titlebar:

This is a really useful shortcut to change directories. To quickly change your current directory using the titlebar follow these steps:

1. Open a new Finder window by selecting its icon in the dock.

2. Hold down the Command key and click the Titlebar. A popup will appear displaying the directory tree leading up to the current directory. Click the directory you would like to change to.

Rename a File:

To rename files in Mac OS X is incredibly simple. There are two basic methods.

1. Select the file you would like to rename and then click on the filename. The filename will highlight in blue and then you can change it.

2. Select the file you would like to rename and then press Enter. The filename will highlight in blue and then you can change it.

Using “Stationery Pad”:

  • Opening the “Get Info” window !

You can select any file and type command+i to bring up its “Get Info” window.

For more details on working with this and the related commands, see It’s about getting the right info.

Creating a template out of any file:

To turn a file into a template, just select the “Stationery Pad” option in the Get Info window. Unfortunately, there is no visual sign on the file icon telling you that a file has been turn into a “Stationery Pad”.

The next time you double click to open a file marked as “Stationery Pad”, the program responsible for this file will actually open a new untitled file but with all the content in “Stationery Pad” file.
If you do a “Save” command, you will save a new file while leaving the original file untouched.