Mac 101: Introducing Finder 8

Mac 101

Mac 101: Introducing Finder


I got an email this morning asking me to do a basic tip. I mean basic. This person who didn’t leave there name is new to the Mac and wanted to know more about Finder. I was more than happy to oblige. This post is designed to run through Finder. It will post some basic information, plus a couple of hints and tips. It is designed to get new people to the OS system up and running. Its not hard to get a hand of Finder. It just takes a bit on no how.


Finder, if you didn’t know already is the program for organizing, files and folder on your Mac. It is simple to use. The idea behind this application is to find where your programs and files are. If you open a new window by either clicking on the Dock icon, a folder or hard drive on your Desktop or pressing Command + N when Finder is selected as the application, you should see a window that looks like this (minus the numbers).

The numbers mean the following:

1) The next and back buttons. These buttons move you to the next and previous folder which you have visited.

2) Thumbnail, List, Column, and Quicklook view. Each of these views are different. Thumbnail view is used to see large thumbnails of the file of folder you are looking at. List view is the one shown above. Column view is similar to list views side by side. Column view is very useful for moving files around. Quicklook view shows you a Quicklook of the file you are looking at. More on Quicklook later next week.

You can remove the stripes in list view with the following Terminal command

defaults write FXListViewStripes -bool FALSE
killall Finder

3) The Quicklook button to access Quicklook of a file or folder.

4) The extra tools buttons. You can access a couple of extra tools from this button.

5) Extra apps area. This is a small area which you can use to add applications and functions to your Finder toolbar. To add your own simply drag and drop any application into this area. If you want to customize it more right click on the tool bar and select customize.

6) The current folder. By default this would say “Desktop” or “My Folder”, so you can easily see which folder you are in. If you want to change it so it shows you your current path simply enter the following into Terminal and restart. To revert change YES to NO.

defaults write _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES

7) Spotlight. The best search engine tool for searching your Mac. Enter any search term and you computer will find all of the files and folders relating to that search term.

8) Harddrive & Devices. When you add a hard drive or a CD, iPod, or disk image to you computer it will appear here. This is a simple place to access all of these pieces of external media.

9) Network Drives. If you have any networked drives, disk or anything of a similar nature it will appear in the Shared area.

10) Places. A quick shortcut area for adding shortcuts to other places on your hard drive. These can be links to any part of your computer. Simply drag and drop the files or folders in this area. To remove them, drag the link off the sidebar.

11) The number of items in the folder and the amount of disk space left. As you can see, I don’t have a lot of disk space left.

12) Your actual files and folders. You can access a lot of information from this area, such as the name, size, date made. Clicking on the titles at the top can be used to re-arrange the files. List view is the most useful.

13) Hide toolbars. Although this number should have appeared earlier I couldn’t be bothered to re-arrange my list. This little button will hide/show you toolbars and sidebar when clicked. Gives you a cut down version of Finder.

Using Finder is pretty easy. You can quickly move between folders by selecting folders. If you ever want to see the tree of which folder you are in right click where the number 6 is on the image above. This will show you a small list of which folder you are and the path to get to this folder.

Customizing Finder is also very easy. If you don’t quite like how Finder looks or works you can change a couple of variables. If you right click in any folder and select Show View Options, you will get up a small pane. This pane can be used to change the size of icons, the text size, as well as more pieces information such as date added etc. The view options will change depending on what view you have the folder in. So experiment to get something you like. If you have thumbnail view enabled, you can add a background image for that folder through the Show View Options.


No introduction to Finder would be complete without some shortcuts.

Command + , = Preferences (not a lot here)
Command + Shift + Delete = Empty Trash
Command + H = Hide Finder
Command + Alt + H = Hide Others
Command + N = New Finder Window
Command + Shift + N = New Folder
Command + Alt + N = New Smart Folder (for settings rules for finding files)
Command + O = Open selected file
Command + W = Close Window
Command + Alt + W = Close All
Command + I = Get Info (Find more information about a file)
Command + Alt + I = Show Inspector (Like Get Info but always stays open and changes information with selected file)
Command + Y or Space Key = Quicklook
Command + F = Find
Shift + Command + F = Find by name
Command + Z = Undo
Command + A = Select All
Command + Alt + A = Deselect All
Command + [ = Go Back
Command + ] = Go Forward
Command + M – Minimize
Command + Alt + M = Minimize All


Hopefully any new users out there will have a better idea how Finder works. It isn’t hard to get your head around. Once as you start working with Finder for a week, you will get the hang of it and be working like a pro.

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