Advanced Mac OS X Finder Options

August 31, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Our previous look at the Mac OS X Finder reveals a useful file and directory management tool with a range of options allowing you to access remote and local devices with a single mouse click, a tool that provides a user interface to the various tasks you might wish to perform, from copying and pasting folders and files to deleting and renaming or even updating a file icon.

Beyond the places, devices and search functions in the Finder, however, you will find a wealth of other options, many of which remain hidden from most users.

Advanced Mac OS X Finder Options

For instance, if you read the previous article then you will no doubt be aware of the various views available in the Finder – but did you know about the Quick Look viewer? This is accessed by selecting an item in the Finder window and then clicking the eye symbol on the toolbar. The Quick Look viewer is a preview tool, allowing you to get a glimpse of any file or document without opening it to edit, and it can also be accessed by selecting the file of choice and tapping SPACE.

You’ll find other hidden gems in the Finder…


One useful aspect of the Mac OS X Finder that is inexplicably disabled by default is the path bar, which displays where you are in your Mac’s folder structure.

For instance, while you should be able to recognize when you’re in the Applications folder, there are plenty of other folders that run down to several levels that you might easily find yourself lost in. You can activate the path bar via View > Show Path Bar. To move up a level, either click the back arrow on the Finder toolbar or click the appropriate folder on the Path Bar.

Add Buttons!

Apple created the Finder toolbar with minimalism and functionality in mind, much as they do with most things, but you don’t have to leave the Finder window looking like this. You can gain extra functionality from the toolbar by adding extra tools, and these are added by right-clicking the toolbar and selecting Customize Toolbar….

Various buttons can then be added, extending the functionality of your toolbar. For example you might want to burn a lot of data to disc; you can save time switching to the disk tools by adding an Eject button and a Burn button to the Finder toolbar!

Adjust the Finder Window!

Although the Views buttons will display the contents of the Finder window in four interesting ways, you can gain more control over the window using View > Show View Options. This is a panel full of useful properties controlling options such as the size of icons and the grid that displays them in the Finder window, background image options and even offering the ability to move the file or folder icon label.

This is another of the powerful options available in the Max OS X Finder, a hugely customizable part of the operating system!

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