How To Customize Your Finder

Why Would I Want To Do This?

Your Mac’s Finder is a window to the underlying files and folders that hold all the data that is stored on your Mac. It’s always running and easily accessible from your Dock. In fact it’s your Finder that is active if you aren’t doing anything else.

Like its name implies, you would use Finder to locate and manipulate files on your Mac and even a casual user is going to use it all the time. It’s pretty simple to use but like most anything a little bit of tweaking will make it more suited to your own needs. In this guide I am going to show you some ways to make your Finder more useful and personalized to the way you work, as well as allowing you easier access to the files you need most frequently.

Your Path And Status Bars

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  1. The Path Bar is very handy because it shows you where your selected file actually lives on your Mac. It’s also nice because each of the steps or folders you see are clickable links to that folder so it is easy to navigate up the path to a different folder. The folders are also live so you can drag and drop files from the top window down to them to move files around.
  2. The Status Bar will change to show you information about the file you have selected, how many are selected and total for that view and often free space available.

These two bars don’t add much bulk to the finder window and the benefit of them should outweigh their appearance.

Show Your Path And Status Bars

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It’s easy to add these bars to your view. With Finder as your active application, click on the View item in your Menu Bar and select the options to Show Path Bar and Show Status Bar. If they are already active the option will be to hide them.

Finder Sidebar and Favorites

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The Sidebar in your Finder is very useful for navigating to commonly used folders. These folders are also active for drag and dropping so you can move files from the right to the folders easily. Apple puts a few items in the Favorites area for you but it is easily customizable.

Select Favorites Items Via Preferences

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To add items to your Sidebar, with Finder as your active application select Preferences from the Menu Bar. We’ll be looking at the Sidebar option first as you can easily add some common items by clicking on the selections. I like to add my Downloads folder to the Favorites as I access it regularly. If you don’t see the item you are looking for, don’t fret, we can add them manually. I’ll show you that next.

Drag And Drop To Your Favorites

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From any location you can add an item to your Favorites by drag and dropping it from the right side over to the Sidebar. In this example I would like my Camera Uploads folder within my Dropbox to appear so I’ve just dragged it on over to under my Documents so it will appear there moving forward.

Customize The Toolbar

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  1. From your Finder Menu go to View / Customize Toolbar which will bring up the Toolbar Pallette.
  2. Drag an item from the available buttons up to the desired place in your Toolbar. I like the New Folder option but any frequently used items can be added for easier access. You can also drag items around in the toolbar to rearrange them.
  3. Change your Show selection to display icons, text or both based upon your preference. I used the Icon and Text option as a new user but now I am familiar enough that I’ve switched to Icon Only view.

Be More Productive!

I have only just scratched the surface of what is possible in Finder but these tips should help you configure it so that it works more like you do. I will be posting more on Finder, file management, and even Finder alternatives in future guides.