Six helpful Tips for using the macOS Finder more efficiently and effectively
Whether you are new to the Mac, or have been using it for years, one of the best ways to be more productive with your Mac is to get more comfortable using Finder. Out of the box, Finder is lacking in it’s easy of use, however with these six tips that I present below, you’ll find Finder far more useful and user friendly.
Finder is the classic Mac application that's ever-present on your desktop, used to help you find and organize your documents, media (pictures, music and movies), as well as folders, and all other files. It's the smiling icon on your Dock, the only App that you can’t turn off or quit out of (did you know that?).
There are a number of awesome hidden features that exist within the Finder window. In this blog, I’ve highlighted six of my favorite Finder tips and tricks to help you work more efficiently with your files and folders.
1. Quickly Adjust Column Widths
The Column view is my favorite ways of working with files, and here are two column adjustment tips to 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 filename, so you can easily view your the files.
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.
2. Set a Default Folder for a New Finder Window
Now, when I’m working with a client for the first time, I will set the default view to Recent. You may wish to change the view and here’s how to do it. If you often work with files in a specific folder, then it's worth setting it as the default folder that every new Finder window opens with automatically.
Click Preferences in the Finder menu bar, and under the General tab you'll see a dropdown menu under "New Finder windows show:". Select one of the options in the list, or click Other... to choose a custom location.
3. Customize the Toolbar
This is also one of the first things I do when either setting up a new Mac, or working with a client for the first time. You can put so many more options at your fingertips when working with files and folders by adding more action buttons to your Finder window's toolbar.
All you need to do is, right-click (or Control-click) the Finder window's toolbar and select Customize Toolbar.... You'll see a dropdown 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.
4. View multiple Finder locations within your Finder window.
If you are familiar with viewing multiple websites within your Web browser, Finder has similar very useful functionality. First, make sure you’ve enabled the Show tab bar option, within the View menu option. This is a wonderfully easy and efficient way to move any file type to another location.
As you can see in the screen capture above, I’ve got three different views using the tabs. The Pictures Folder, Music folder and Documents folder.
5. Reveal the File or Folder Path and show the Status Bar
The location of a folder or file may not be immediately obvious or important when viewed in a Finder window, so here are a few ways to find out.
The easiest method is to enable the Show Path and Show Status Bar options. Click the View menu option, right-click (or Control-click) the folder name and icon in the title bar. This will show you the full path in a dropdown menu, allowing you to quickly jump to any folder in the list.
As you can see above, In the Finder Window above, The Music Favorite has been clicked on the left, then on the bottom of the window you see Macintosh HD > Users > Geoff > Music, revealing the location of the folder you’ve highlighted.
Finally, and surprisingly turned off by default, the Finder's Status bar displays two pieces of information that will come in handy when organizing your files.
In the Finder menu bar, select View -> Show Status Bar, and 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.
6. Search Only the Current Folder
Last, but not least, the Search bar in your Finder window searches your entire system by default, but it doesn’t have to. There’s an option in Finder's preferences that lets you automatically limit searches to the folder that's currently open.
In the menu bar, click Finder -> Preferences and select the Advanced tab. In the dropdown menu under "When performing a search", select Search the Current Folder.
Finder is my favorite and one of the most important tools, and can be yours too if you implement these great, easy Finder changes.
I hope you enjoyed this blog, if so please share with other who can benefit from it!