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6 ways to super-charge your Finder windows

Kirk McElhearn | March 9, 2016
Get the most out of the Finder.

You do most of your work in apps, but you manage your files in the Finder. This window and file manager is the heart of OS X, and offers a plethora of features for working with files: sorting, tagging, copying, moving, etc. There are also a number of ways to work with windows in the Finder, using multiple windows, or just using tabs in a single window. Here are six ways you can super-charge your Finder windows.

View more info

When you’re in the Finder, you are looking at files and folders, are two view options that can help you work more efficiently by showing you more information about your stuff. In the View menu, choose Show Status Bar and Show Path Bar. As you can see below, the Status Bar is at the bottom of the window, and shows the number of items in the window, how many are selected, and how much free space remains on your disk. And the slider at the right of the Status Bar lets you change the size of icons in your window.

The Path Bar, just above the Status Bar, shows the file path of the selected item. This not only shows you where the item is on your Mac’s drive, but also lets you drag a file or folder to one of the folders you see in the Path Bar.

The Path Bar and Status bar displaying below a Finder window.

New windows and tabs

To create a new Finder window, just press Command-N. You’ll want to use multiple windows when you’re moving files around from one folder to another, or to an external hard drive or network volume. But if you have a small display, multiple windows can be hard to navigate. For this reason, you can also create multiple tabs in a single Finder window. To create a new tab, press Command-T.

You can move to another tab by clicking it, or you can press Command-Shift-Right Arrow or Command-Shift-Left Arrow to cycle through your open tabs.

Why use tabs? If you need to move some files, find the files you want, then open a new tab. In the second tab, find the location where you want to move or copy them. Go back to the first tab, and then drag the files to the second tab. It’s a lot easier than switching between multiple windows.

Tabs also let you keep a number of windows just a click away. For example, you may want to keep your Documents folder visible, but also want access to your Downloads and Desktop folders as you work. Make tabs for all three, and they’ll each be a click away without cluttering your workspace.


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