Tweak The Mac OS X Finder And Find Files Even Faster!

Simon Slangen 08-10-2012

os x finderA major part of our time is spent on the web, but for a lot of people the computer file system makes for a close second. Finder, Apple’s file browser, provides a very slick way to do this by default, and you’ll be able to clock good time even if you don’t know all the finer points of the application.


Getting to know those fine points, however, can provide an additional (and always much welcome) boost to your productivity and overall file-handling speeds.

You’ll likely know a few of those already—like the copy-paste shortcuts, and different view options. But other features are slightly better hidden. Browse through these tips to get an even more intimate knowledge of Mac OS X’s Finder application.

1. Show Path Bar

In Finder’s View menu, toggle on the “Show Path Bar” option. This path bar—which is added to the bottom of your Finder window—shows the extended file path, from your computer’s hard drive partition to the currently selected file.

os x finder

Double-click any of the intermediary folders to open it in your current Finder window, or hold the command (cmd) key while double-clicking to open it in a new Finder window. You can also right-click on any of the path components to view more options and folder-related services.


2. Show Status Bar

Another useful view option is the Status Bar, which can be enabled by toggling the “Show Status Bar” option in Finder’s View menu. Like the Path Bar, this Status Bar manifests at the bottom of your Finder window.

os x tweak finder

Although there isn’t a lot of interactivity possible, the Status Bar let’s you quickly reference the number of items selected in the current folder, and the available disk space on your hard drive partition.

3. Arrange By…

You probably already know how to sort files in specific folder views. Ever since Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, this feature was complemented by the ability to “Arrange” files by a number of characteristics, by going to the Arrange By section of Finder’s View menu.


os x tweak finder

As can be seen in the above screenshot, this groups the files under one of a number of descriptors, rather than just sorting it in one big pile. This can also be done in any of the different view modes.

4. Change the Default Finder Folder

The default finder folder—that is, the folder shown when you create a new window in Finder—is set by default to All My Files as introduced by Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. While All My Files is very useful as an overview to which files were most recently used on your computer, you might want to view a different folder in new Finder windows instead, like your Documents or your User folder.

os x tweak finder


This is quite easily achieved by going to the General tab in the Finder Preferences pane. A drop-down menu allows you to substitute All My Files with any given folder on your computer.

5. New Folder With Selection

If you select any number of files and right-click the selection, you’ll see an interesting feature pop up in the context menu.

os x finder tweaks

“New Folder with Selection” does exactly what it says; it creates a new folder in the current directory, moves the selected files to it, and allows you to type in the folder name. This can be done even faster by pressing the Command-Control-N keys after making your selection.


6. Copy-Move

Although there is technically no cut and paste functionality in Finder, there’s a lesser known feature that does largely the same.

os x finder

After copying a file, go to the Finder’s Edit menu and hold the Option (alt) key. You’ll notice that the “Paste Item” button changes to “Move Item Here”. Similar to cut and paste functionality on other operating systems, this moves the copied file instead of duplicating it. To use this option on the fly, you can use the Command-C and Option-Command-V keyboard shortcuts to copy and move a file, respectively.

What tricks do you use while working with Finder? Let us know in the comments section below the article!

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  1. Bruce Nichols
    October 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    The new folder with selection is pretty slick I will have to start using that

  2. Altra Attestor
    October 13, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    thank you, very helpful

  3. Edwin Williams
    October 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Ah thanks! This article is easy to follow!

  4. John Mueller
    October 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Another feature I use very often is to Command-click on the folder name on the top bar of the Finder window to get a drop down list showing the path. You can click on any of the folders in that drop-down path to go directly to them. This is handy if it was an alias to a subfolder on your network--you can go up one or more folders. You can actually do this trick on many open documents (Word, Excel, Preview...). In many cases, if you command click on a file it opens up a finder window with that file highlighted.

  5. Andy Wells
    October 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    New folder with selection is heaven

  6. lance burn
    October 9, 2012 at 9:28 am

    windows should have one

  7. ahmed Fouad khalil
    October 9, 2012 at 5:57 am

    I like this type of articals, it is technicaly add much value in short time

  8. Aaron McConkey
    October 9, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Thumbs up to the Counter Strike GO beta

  9. Alan Kennamer
    October 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    While Arrange By is cool, it still misses the one component that I need: view folders on top. Total Finder does it, and you can do some behind-the-scenes tricks to make it work, but IMO, the OS should provide that option out of the box.

    • Mac Witty
      October 9, 2012 at 12:34 am

      TotalFinder is great - Apple should try to acquire BinaryAge, or at least make an offer Antonin Hildebrand can't resist, and take a lot of it into the OS

    • Kyle Taylor
      October 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      Mine does this, just arrange by kind and folders get put at the top. I'm on Mountain Lion.

      • Alan Kennamer
        October 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm

        but not always on top. It is all based on the types of objects in the folder. If folder is the first alphabetical-file type, then yes, it will show on-top.

  10. Mac Witty
    October 8, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    With Copy-Move it seems as Windows user at last got something that is a bit like Cut-Past in Finder ;)

    • Dmnc
      July 20, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Another way to cut and paste in OSX is to Drag'n'Drop.