Cus­tomizing the macOS Find­er: Tips and Tutorial – Guide

The Finder is a classic component of the Mac system that is always present on your desktop, ready to help you find and organize your documents, media, folders and other files. It is the smiley icon known as the Happy Mac logo on your Dock and includes the Finder menu bar at the top of the screen. Inside each Finder window there is a lot of hidden power. In this article, we list some of our favorite Finder tips and tricks for you, so you can work more efficiently with files and folders on your Mac.

Enable path bar, status bar and view

In the Finder, try to enable these three features. You don’t need to have them all activated all the time if you’re not a fan of excessive toolbars and clutter, but maybe only one can help you significantly while you browse. With the Finder as the active window, click View on the menu bar. Click Show path bar first. The Path Bar allows you to see the path of any file you select in the Finder so that you know exactly where it is located and how to get there next time. Click on any file to see the hierarchy of drives, folders and subfolders leading to its location. This feature it is especially useful if you are browsing the All my files section with files scattered everywhere. If you double-click on a folder in the Path Bar, it will also take you back to that location. Click Show status bar on the View menu. It doesn’t do much more than show which files are selected, but it does provide a good slider to zoom in on the icons. If you want better views without opening files, it can help to adjust this slider as needed. Finally, visualization would also solve this problem. Click Show Preview on the View menu to display a new sidebar. Click on any item and you will get an enlarged view, as well as some basic information about the type and size of the file. You can also add tags for classification. More on that in a moment.

Add specific tools to your toolbar

You probably already know that you can customize the toolbar in the Finder with a control click. For our purposes, we will only focus on two tools that are disabled by default. Control-click and select Customize toolbar … to see options. You will want to drag the path button and tags button in your toolbar. Path is a simplified version of the Path Bar mentioned earlier. If you don’t want to take up valuable screen space with a horizontal bar, disable the Path Bar and use the Path toolbar icon. It provides all the same functionality, but in a condensed drop-down menu. Tags are a powerful classification feature which allows you to categorize files from different folders and locations in a group. Apple’s standard tags are just colors, but you can name them any way you like. For example, if you are creating a work presentation, you may have a “presentation” tag containing some images from your Images folder, PDFs in your documents and a video in Movies. Access your tags in the left sidebar of the Finder. The tag toolbar button allows you to quickly apply tags to any selected file.

Adjust Finder settings

One last important customization tip: enable the viewing options. You guessed it, it’s on the View menu again: click Show display options at the bottom. This personalization box is a rarely recognized gem of macOS. It allows you to customize a lot about the Finder, including organization, icon size, grid spacing, text size, label positions, item information and visualization. Feel free to play around with these settings to make the Finder as usual as possible within your own context. I recommend checking Show item information to display the file sizes and image dimensions below the files.

Final note

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