mac os finder

In the next part of our series, we are going to discuss how to use macOS Finder to make things easier on yourself.  I am all about making processes more efficient, and if I’m being honest, Apple doesn’t always see things my way.  The Finder is a classic Mac system component that is always available on your desktop.  What does it do, exactly?  It helps you find and organize your documents, media, folders and other files.  It’s the Happy Mac logo that’s found in your Dock, but there is also a Finder menu bar at the top of the screen.  There is a lot of unused power in that Finder window.  Knowing what to use it for, is a different story.

  1. Adjust Column Widths

The column view is one of my favorite ways of working with files.  But there are two quick column adjustment tips that will make it work better for you.  If you open a new Finder window and the column width is too small to view the names of your files, double-click the bottom of the column divider and the width will automatically expand to fit the longest file name. Another useful trick is to hold down the Option (⌥) key when adjusting the column width manually (by click-dragging the divider). This adjusts all of the columns in the same window at the same time and also sets the chosen size as the default column width for all Finder windows going forward.

finder preferences

  1. Set a Default Folder for a New Finder Window

If you’re always working with files in a specific order, then you might want to set it up as a default folder so that every time open a new Finder window, it has what you’re looking for.  To do this, click Preferences in the Finder menu bar, and under the General tab you’ll see a drop-down menu under “New Finder windows show:”. Select one of the options in the list, or click Other to choose a custom location.

Customize the Toolbar

  1. Customize the Toolbar

This makes sense, doesn’t it?  You can put more options in front of you by adding more action buttons to every Finder window’s toolbar.  This is something that I am going to do after I finish writing this post.  I mean, it’s such a simple thing – and yet so useful.  To do so, right-click (or Control-click) the Finder window’s toolbar and select Customize Toolbar. You’ll see a drop-down menu of buttons any of which you can drag up to the toolbar with your mouse cursor, as well a default set that you can drag up to replace any you’ve previously added.

Toolbar Shortcuts

  1. Add Shortcuts to the Toolbar

I feel like I should just repeat what I said in number three, but I won’t.  You can add some convenient shortcuts to the top of the Finder window.  Simply hold down the Command key and drag them into an available space on the toolbar.  Presto!

Merge all

  1. Merge All Open Finder Windows

Sometimes I purposely have more than one Finder window open because I need to move things.  But if your desktop is being taken over by multiple Finder windows, you can quickly bring them all together as tabs in one single window.  While I do like this as an option, I also find it annoying because it’s like I can’t see the tabs.  With a Finder window active, simply click Window in the menu bar and select Merge All Windows.

Show status bar

  1. Show the Status Bar

This is actually turned off by default, which is kind of odd.  But you may want this turned on as it displays two pieces of information that might come in handle for you when it comes to organizing your files.  In the Finder menu bar, select View -> Show Status Bar, and at a glance, you’ll be able to tell how many items are contained in the open folder, as well as the current disk’s available storage space.

reveal library folder

  1. Reveal the Library Folder

Apple hides the Library folder by default to prevent less savvy users from fiddling with its contents and causing app/system issues, but if you’d rather have easy access to the Library folder, here are two ways to reveal it.  For quick access to the Library folder from the Finder menu bar, click the Go menu, hold down the Option (⌥) key, and then select Library in the drop-down menu. If you want to reveal the Library folder permanently, navigate to your home folder (found in /user/[yourname]/… from the system root directory), select View -> Show View Options from the menu bar and then check “Show Library Folder” at the bottom of the options pane.

slide show quick view

  1. Full-Screen Slideshow in Quick Look

Most macOS users are familiar with Finder’s spacebar-activated Quick Look mode, which offers a preview of the currently highlighted file or files, but fewer users will be aware of Quick Look’s fullscreen slideshow feature.  You can enter a fullscreen slideshow preview by holding the Option (⌥) key when you next press the spacebar to activate Quick Look. The desktop will fade out for a close-up of your selected images and/or documents, which can be scrolled through using the arrow keys or using the onscreen navigation overlay. You can also select the index card icon on the overlay to glance at all your selected files on the one screen.

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