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The Finder is probably the most basic app in macOS. Everyone has their own way of using Finder, but what you might not know are the many ways it can help you get to work faster.
You might be surprised at some of the subtle ways the Finder can help you manage and manipulate files more in line with your particular working style. So, let’s take a look at some of the lesser-known productivity features it offers.
One window, multiple views
No setting is as polarizing among Mac users as the default view in Finder. There are four different types: Icons, List, Columns, and Gallery.
Column view lets you know where you are in the folder structure by opening each in its own column from left to right.
Meanwhile, Gallery View is useful for folders containing images as it displays a large preview of the file. You can switch between them using the button to the right of the title bar.
By clicking See -> Show display options will open a new window with additional settings. Here you can change the display type for the current folder by checking Always open in icon mode at the top, or you can make Finder use the current view for all folders by clicking the Use default button.
In Icon mode, you have the option to check Show item information, which can display additional information in blue below the file or folder name, such as image resolution or the number of items in a folder. However, this feature only works in Icon mode. You can also adjust icon size and spacing.
Shortcuts to success
You can create a shortcut to any folder by dragging it to the Favorites section in the sidebar on the left. You can also rearrange your bookmarks by dragging them.
If you want to remove one, right click on it and choose Remove from sidebar.
Find your way
To quickly see where your file is stored, select it and hold the Options key to display the folder path to this file at the bottom of the Finder window.
When you let go, the path disappears. If you want the path to remain permanently, go to the menu bar and click on See -> Show path bar.
You can also click on any folder in the path to navigate to it, or right-click on the folder name in the title bar to change levels.
If you need to copy the path of a folder, for example to paste it into a save dialog window, right-click the file or folder in the path bar, then choose Copy “[Name]” as pathname.
Do not hide the pane
One of the biggest time-saving features in the Finder is the preview pane. Here you can see a small snapshot of the contents of the file, along with information such as size, date created, and any tags associated with it.
To display the Preview pane, go to the menu bar and click See -> Show preview.
You can also customize the information displayed in the Preview pane. Go to See -> Show preview options to display the checklist of available data.
There’s a section at the bottom of the Preview pane for Quick Actions, which lets you manipulate a file without opening it. For example, when an image file is selected, it will show options for Turn left and markup.
The Finder also lets you customize or add your own. Take a look at our main Quick Actions article to learn more.
The sidebar displays a list of tags at the bottom. Tags are a way to categorize your files and folders without tracking their location.
In List view and Column view, the tags will be displayed to the right of the file name. In the Icons view, they will be displayed to the left of the file name, and in the Gallery view, they will be displayed in the pane to the right of the file preview.
To add a tag, right click on the file in question then select one or more tags. To remove a tag, simply right click on the file and click on the tag again.
You can change the name of a tag by right-clicking it in the sidebar and choosing Rename “[Name of tag]>>”. You can click a tag in the sidebar to view all of the files and folders on your Mac to which you’ve assigned that tag.
If you want to customize the tags – or if the tags don’t suit you and you want to hide them entirely – just go to Searcher -> Preferences -> the Key words tongue. Here you can check or uncheck the tags displayed in the sidebar, as well as select preferred tags, that’s to saythose that show up in the context menu when you right-click on a file.
To remove a favorite tag, click and drag it from the Key words… section down to an empty space, and you’ll be treated to a small puff of smoke animation. To completely remove the sidebar tags, go to the Lateral bar tab and uncheck Recent Tags.
The humble Finder app offers a lot more features than you might appreciate, so why not try some of these tips? We hope you’ll give Finder another look and find some additional features you can use to speed up work on your Mac. After all, no one wants a frustrating workflow.
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